16 Days Out And Getting Scared...

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tom in MO

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Jan 17, 2012
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Things that helped me before surgery were:
  • Cleaning up my area so it's spic/span.
  • Doing those chores I've put aside for awhile.
  • Doing upcoming chores I might not want to do.
  • Watching comedies and murder mysteries, staying away from news.
  • Prayer and attending church.
Don't worry about how they open you up. One way is less trauma and smaller scar. The other way is the "gold standard" and gives them plenty of room to do their work. Both are good paths and lead to success. Grandchildren will like the big scar :)
 

Protimenow

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Hey, Foxtail18 -- it'll be HOSPITAL FOOD.

Back in the days when you could actually have visitors, my mom brought a barbecue beef sandwich when I was on day three or four post-op. At that time there were either no dietary restrictions, or I just didn't give a damn about them. REAL food is a good thing (although in my recent hospitalizations, I'd occasionally find something that I liked).

I hope your hospital has a good dietary department and your first post-op meal is as good as you're imagining it will be.
 

Brokenhip

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May 20, 2019
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Melbourne, Australia
Hello Brokenhip, did the pectus excavatum condition present any obstacles before or after surgery?
No problems at all, the PE deformity was noted by the surgeon at the initial consultation and in the notes to the cardiologist but not in the post operative notes. The closure was by 3 conventional figure of eight wires and over 2 years later the scar is difficult to see, possibly due to being down in the hollow.
 

bizinsider

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Jun 27, 2016
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San Diego, CA
One reality check post-surgery on food... A lot of people report their taste/smell is off. For me it was smell - everything smelled horribly. I think my smell was heightened for a week or two. Even the alcohol they used to wipe down things - or the hand sanitizer. Yikes! Plus I was on a very limited diet for the first few days because of post-surgical bowel issues, which can be a thing – and were with me. Keep in mind all of this is temporary and forgettable. By the end of my hospital stay my wife (8 days) my wife was sneaking in much better food! Just trying to keep it real on some of the little things.
 

Bryan B

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NC
It's perfectly normal to feel some anxiety beforehand, especially if you watch videos on it. :D Personally I was a basket case before my first surgery (not sure if my posts freaking out are still here on the site from 2004 when I first joined). I think a bit of apprehension is healthy, and you've gotten plenty of good advice already on how to handle it. Interestingly I was much less nervous for my 2nd surgery since I knew what to expect. It's those "unknown unknowns" that tend to get to us.
 

Foxtail118

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Jun 20, 2020
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No problems at all, the PE deformity was noted by the surgeon at the initial consultation and in the notes to the cardiologist but not in the post operative notes. The closure was by 3 conventional figure of eight wires and over 2 years later the scar is difficult to see, possibly due to being down in the hollow.
Thank you - I appreciate the detail.
 

Paleowoman

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Hi @Foxtail118 - just noticed your mention of pectus excavatum. I have mild, maybe moderate, pectus excavatum which has always been noted by cardiologists. When I had AVR the cardiac surgeon had planned to do a minimally invasive sternal incision but, in the event, she found she couldn't access my aortic valve with that incision and had to do full, or nearly full by the looks of it, sternotomy.
 

Foxtail118

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Hi @Foxtail118 - just noticed your mention of pectus excavatum. I have mild, maybe moderate, pectus excavatum which has always been noted by cardiologists. When I had AVR the cardiac surgeon had planned to do a minimally invasive sternal incision but, in the event, she found she couldn't access my aortic valve with that incision and had to do full, or nearly full by the looks of it, sternotomy.
Hi! Thanks for responding to me. I expect to have the full Monty - will find out next week. Did you notice any difference in your ability to exercise after the incision healed?
 

Paleowoman

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Hi! Thanks for responding to me. I expect to have the full Monty - will find out next week. Did you notice any difference in your ability to exercise after the incision healed?
Hi ! The first year after surgery I thought I was beginning to get some of my pre surgery strength (I did a lot of heavy weight lifting pre-surgery) although I was getting incision pain which cardiologist said was costochondritis. Then I developed a lot of left shoulder pain problems which at first were put down to impingement syndrome and partial tendon tear that are common in anyone, and then eventually an MRI of my sternum showed I had an effusion and degenerative changes at the left sternoclavicular joint - rheumatologist and a pain specialist said this would have been caused by the surgery - there was no suggestion that was because of the pectus excavatum though I suspect that it was, plus also PE likely the reason surgeon couldn't access my aortic valve where it was 'meant to be' (not that minimal or full sternotomy was any concern or preference to me, I knew access was the most important factor). I can’t do heavy weight lifting anymore as it aggravates the sternoclavicular joint problem which refers pain to shoulder. I keep fit with walking, no problem with that, I walk several miles a day - with this Covid-19 doing the walking indoors ! I can do sqat exercises but not weighted squats. I suppose if I went to a gym I could do exercises like leg press and knee extension.

All the very best with your surgery !
 
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Foxtail118

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Jun 20, 2020
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Hi ! The first year after surgery I thought I was beginning to get some of my pre surgery strength (I did a lot of heavy weight lifting pre-surgery) although I was getting incision pain which cardiologist said was costochondritis. Then I developed a lot of left shoulder pain problems which at first were put down to impingement syndrome and partial tendon tear that are common in anyone, and then eventually an MRI of my sternum showed I had an effusion and degenerative changes at the left sternoclavicular joint - rheumatologist and a pain specialist said this would have been caused by the surgery - there was no suggestion that was because of the pectus excavatum though I suspect that it was, plus also PE likely the reason surgeon couldn't access my aortic valve where it was 'meant to be' (not that minimal or full sternotomy was any concern or preference to me, I knew access was the most important factor). I can’t do heavy weight lifting anymore as it aggravates the sternoclavicular joint problem which refers pain to shoulder. I keep fit with walking, no problem with that, I walk several miles a day - with this Covid-19 doing the walking indoors ! I can do sqat exercises but not weighted squats. I suppose if I went to a gym I could do exercises like leg press and knee extension.

All the very best with your surgery !
Thanks for the info. I noticed you are in the UK. My wife and I were supposed to leaving on July 15th for a 3 week small ship tour of England, Scotland, and Wales with Grand Circle Travel. My surgery in 9 days and Covid killed that trip. We rolled our reservation over to next summer.
 

Astro

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Adelaide, Australia
Best wishes Foxtail118.

With all your preoperative physical activity, I am guessing that your core (abdominal) muscles are strong. After surgery you will have enough strength to sit up without needing help from your arms. I found that sitting up using core muscles did not hurt (trying to use your arms to pull yourself up certainly does hurt). I also found that walking caused minimal pain. You will be up and getting around early with surprisingly little pain! This movement will help you feel some normality when your body feels strange.

The difficult decision is done - when to have the surgery. Go with the flow. It is okay (and normal) to have times of feeling rather emotional over the next week.
 

Foxtail118

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Best wishes Foxtail118.

With all your preoperative physical activity, I am guessing that your core (abdominal) muscles are strong. After surgery you will have enough strength to sit up without needing help from your arms. I found that sitting up using core muscles did not hurt (trying to use your arms to pull yourself up certainly does hurt). I also found that walking caused minimal pain. You will be up and getting around early with surprisingly little pain! This movement will help you feel some normality when your body feels strange.

The difficult decision is done - when to have the surgery. Go with the flow. It is okay (and normal) to have times of feeling rather emotional over the next week.
Thank you! All of my pre-op tests, scans, and bloodwork
 

Foxtail118

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Thank you! All of my scans, tests, and bloodwork are complete. Everything is a go for the 7th. They will do a full front sternotomy given the inward shaped breastbone. I have been expecting that to happen given feedback I have received here on this forum. My heart catheterization two days ago showed no blockages and all other aspects of my heart and blood vessels normal. Just gotta get the chords on the mitral valve fixed - looking forward to starting my rehab program!
 

Protimenow

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There's one thing that they did before my surgery, and I don't think anyone else has even mentioned it.

About a month or two, I had a pint of blood drawn. This blood was on hold for a transfusion, if I needed it.

I know that it's probably now too soon to do this, and I don't know why they stopped this (unless this surgery shows that it's unnecessary), but it sounded like a good idea at the time.
 

Foxtail118

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Interesting...that was never mentioned as something I should have considered doing.
 

Protimenow

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My hospital WAS modern. I can't imagine a primitive hospital, without access to blood, being equipped for this type of heart surgery.

Of course, there was a pasture outside the hospital with pigs and goats and sheep wandering around, grazing on the grass, fertilizing it well, and doing what sheep, pigs and goats normally do on a warm summer day. So there was a good supply of blood. Not all of it was human, but it WAS blood.

But it was MY blood that I would be getting if I needed it. This was in the days when people were scared of blood that was contaminated with HIV. I'm sure that now, with adequate ways to test the blood, this is no longer a problem.

But, FWIW, what if he's transfused with blood that has COVID-19 in it?

It's probably still safest to get your own blood.
 

Superman

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Grand Rapids, MI, USA
My hospital WAS modern. I can't imagine a primitive hospital, without access to blood, being equipped for this type of heart surgery.

Of course, there was a pasture outside the hospital with pigs and goats and sheep wandering around, grazing on the grass, fertilizing it well, and doing what sheep, pigs and goats normally do on a warm summer day. So there was a good supply of blood. Not all of it was human, but it WAS blood.

But it was MY blood that I would be getting if I needed it. This was in the days when people were scared of blood that was contaminated with HIV. I'm sure that now, with adequate ways to test the blood, this is no longer a problem.

But, FWIW, what if he's transfused with blood that has COVID-19 in it?

It's probably still safest to get your own blood.
I was able to do the same thing for my first OHS. In a modern hospital with electricity and everything. I set aside a pint and my mom did as well.
 

pellicle

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My hospital WAS modern.
I'm sure this could have been written differently ... but I take your point ;-)

But, FWIW, what if he's transfused with blood that has COVID-19 in it?
in Australia we have this thing called "screening", as well as a few other things in our favour:

887385


but coronavirus is quite ... well ... novel ... or new even. I'm not sure it was on the event horizon back when you had your valve

somehow technology (including methodology) seems to work
 
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