On-X Aortic Heart Valves: Safer with Less Warfarin


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So when did you all feel "normal" again?

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  • So when did you all feel "normal" again?

    Hey Hey! I'm alive, haha! I'm on day 6 post op and just taking it hour by hour. Can' wait till it's day by day lol.
    Anyway, just hoping everyone can share how they felt around this time and how long it took to blow up those darn 3 balls. Also, I have a surgeon of very few words, and he failled to comment on this giant size egg like bump on the very top of my incision. Any thoughts on it?

    On another note, anyone have any funny post op moments? I swore in front of a dear old 86 Catholic woman when I coughed for the first time. I felt so awful!

  • #2
    Congrats on making it through!

    Wow - that would be taxing some memories to recall when I felt "normal". Six months to a year maybe? Really depends on your definition of "normal". As if nothing ever happened? Then I still don't feel "normal" 27 years later. :-)

    Everyone has different lung capacity. I could beat my brother and sister (both smokers) on the respirometer while I was still in the hospital.

    Presumably the bump it a collection of fluid that will resolve in due time. I'm guessing you'll want to engage your nurses on that one.

    Funny moments. When I woke up from my second open heart, it was 20 hours after they put me under. Some time after 2:00 the next morning. I didn't have any visitors at that time, but a nurse was updating my charts or something. She noticed I was up and asked, "So how are you feeling?" Without missing a beat I responded, "Feeling pretty sexy." No idea where that came from, because I sure didn't look it.

    My first surgery, I can laugh about now, but it was pretty mortifying to a high school senior. When you gotta go, you gotta go. My catheter was out, so I had that plastic jug to go in. So I did. Meanwhile, I saw the door open a crack and some visitors look in. They were a couple kids from my school dropping cards and such off from all my classmates. Apparently they were embarrassed too, because the door never opened farther and the gifts were brought in later by the nurses. Oops.
    10/15/2009 - St. Jude Medical Valve / Conduit Graft 25mm. Dr. Robert Hooker Jr at Meijer Heart Center, Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, Grand Rapids, MI.

    September 2009 - diagnosed with 4.9 cm ascending aorta with two aneurysm bulges.

    11/21/1990 - St. Jude Medical Valve 23A-101. Dr. Seong Chi at Ingham Regional Medical Center, Lansing, MI.

    Aortic Stenosis and BAV diagnosed in infancy.


    • #3
      Hey, welcome

      Originally posted by LadyChicken View Post
      Also, I have a surgeon of very few words, and he failled to comment on this giant size egg like bump on the very top of my incision. Any thoughts on it?
      they are mostly all like that ... as to the bump its probably a "bruise" on the bone ... it will probably settle down in a while. If it doesn't you'll need to make someone aware of it. I'd also just ask next time you see him (Surgeon)

      As to feeling normal, I felt normal when I got out and was able to be with my friends:

      don't worry about the swearing in front of the old lady. if she's so fragile that upsets her then she's not much of a christian.


      • #4
        So LadyChicken has an egg sized bump?
        I had one as well. It looked funny.
        You'll be normal in no time.
        Bicuspid Aortic Valve. Moderate Aortic Valve Stenosis. Ascending Aorta: 4.1cm
        In the waiting room.


        • #5
          Something funny? Well how about crazy? So, the day after my surgery in ICU, the pain meds interacted with each other causing me to think my worse fear, that the nurses was trying to kill me. I flipped out! Swore that the nurses hacked my phone and was reading my messages. they all hated me and was plotting to kill me. I literally remember all of this. I called my mother and husband and told them to hurry up I was gonna be murdered. And then oh this is great! Ready? I screamed that if something happened to me that my husband would come and blow the whole mother f***ing building up! Talk about embarrassing? They asked if i wanted to speak with my doctor and i said hell yea i do! So he came in and was like I promise you your not going to die and no one here is trying to hurt you or kill you. I cried and begged my husband to stay. He do too, he didn't go back to work until I was out of ICU. As for feeling normal again? I'ts been a month and theres so many weird things still going on with my body. I completely understand it! Can't wait to feel normal or close to my normal self again.


          • #6
            Firstly, welcome aboard

            Originally posted by Ashticker91 View Post
            Something funny? Well how about crazy? ... I completely understand it! Can't wait to feel normal or close to my normal self again.
            you'll find lots of buddies and soul mates here ... I have always had bad dreams and trips on the stuff from both anesthesia and post surgical pain medications.

            Best Wishes


            • #7
              My last surgery was 24 years ago at the age of 13. I remember going back to school in maybe 2 to 2 1/2 weeks. I remember still having the steri-strips on and feeling pretty good. I don't remember when I felt "normal," but I was young and recovered quickly. My 82 year old grandma started feeling "normal" in about one year. It took about a year for her chest pain to go away. She's 85 now and doing much better.
              As for pellicle's dreams, I had crazy dreams after my brain surgery 15 years ago from the morphine/pain meds. I do a lot of jigsaw puzzles in hospitals. Every time I would start to fall asleep one evening, I would see jigsaw puzzle pieces everywhere. I don't think they were doing anything crazy, but it would wake me up every time. I think I was trying to fit them together in my dream, and the concentrating would make the headache from the brain swelling/incision worse. Then I would wake up from the pain. It was the craziest thing. I couldn't sleep, because puzzle pieces were everywhere! So silly, but it was a real problem that evening.


              • #8
                I had the bump. NP told me it was connective tissue that gets bunched up when they spread the rib cage. The bump reminded me of cardassian armor from DS9 (Star Trek). I definitely told someone that I felt like a Kardashian. That got a very puzzled look. I don't recall how long it took to go away. On the order of several weeks, maybe a couple months. I'm 6 months post-op tomorrow and there is no trace.

                I'm mostly normal at this point. I don't have my full aerobic capacity back. I feel like my heart rhythm is more erratic than before but that may be because I'm aware of it more often (mechanical so I hear the clicks). Some things won't go back the way they were (like the clicking) but that's just how it is. I'm back to doing everything I did before and the only time I'm aware of limits is when I try to run.


                • #9
                  Yeah, normal is not a word we use much around here. Few of us knew what that was even before surgery. I was a runner for a couple decades, so I was anxious to get back into running condition. I could go out and walk a mile the day I got out of hospital, then 3, then 4, but waited the prescribed 6 weeks to try running a bit. It was only then that I discovered a further complication. One of my lungs had been collapsed during surgery and it was at about 30% capacity. It took 5 months before that recovered fully. By 6 months out I'd say I was back to feeling like I had my life back.
                  Jack Berkery -- St Jude's aortic valve, Albany NY Medical Ctr, July 26 1991
                  Visit my artwork website at -- http://jackpaints.wix.com/jackberkeryart


                  • #10
                    Great to hear you are on the other side and progressing forwards

                    I remember just breaking out into bawling my eyes out for no reason for the first week after I got home, I was home on day 4

                    About 1/2 an hour after getting to my room from ICU I dropped something or tangled with wires (might have been the tv remote.. :-)),
                    can't remember but there was a big button (think it was red) on the wall so I pushed it...

                    it was the panic button that set off a very loud (think fire alarm) siren thru out the whole ward, nurses and doctors were running from every direction....

                    they reset it , but clearly not properly as I remember it going off on it's own about 2am the following morning
                    27mm St Jude mechanical AVR, MV repaired.4/11/15 at 39 yrs old. BAVD.. Sternal wires removed 28/10/16.


                    • #11
                      Great responses, folks! A few made me grab for my pillow so I could have a giggle lol.

                      For me, normalish would be being able to sleep and move with no pain. I've got pinching and pulling in places that have zero do to with my chest, so why on earth do they hurt?? Grrr. Guess I'll have to see what next week brings.


                      • #12
                        I'm at 6 months post op and I would say most of the crazy tails off by this point. The top of my incision was very swollen post op, but after 3 months it was down by 2/3rds and is back to normal now. Best wishes with the recovery. Restful sleep will come. JCG
                        BAV (congenital) / AVR May 1, 2017. St. Jude Trifecta value (28mm). National Hospital Org. - Tokyo Medical Ctr. Dr. Osako, #2 Dr. Yamada.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Warrick View Post
                          Great to hear you are on the other side and progressing forwards

                          I remember just breaking out into bawling my eyes out for no reason for the first week after I got home,
                          You'll get over the loss to Tonga. KaMate KaMate get your arse kicked cuz.

                          Bicuspid Aortic Valve. Moderate Aortic Valve Stenosis. Ascending Aorta: 4.1cm
                          In the waiting room.


                          • #14
                            This report sounds pretty good, I think. Had that bump with first valve replacement and was about 6 months before it went down. Second replacement they must have done a better job or put a hinge on it as it wasn't much of a bump even. I have some pain med stories and also some cursing ones but ya know if they can't take it then too bad(after all who is the one that just laid on the table?) Had those tears and still get them once in awhile as the whole thing seems to come with a different kind of normal (whatever that is) All roads lead to good it looks like for you and a lot of us. It is awesome that we all can be here to write about them.

                            Continue to heal and take good care of yourself


                            • #15
                              Hi! Be patient and allow the progress to happen. Overall, I recall feeling better week by week, and feeling back to somewhat normal after 6 mos. I tried to be active, and use those muscles weakened by the surgery. Funny moment: I was home, it was quiet, and I heard a watch. I looked all around for a watch or a ticking clock, then I realized that was the click of my new valve working! Good luck with your recovery and allow yourself to gain strength and heal over the next months!