After your surgery, what are some of the things that you found out that surprised you

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Chuck C

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Every time I closed my eyes I was taken to a "brown world" where everything looked like mud but with numerous horrific shapes in the mud, which I would see from the perspective as if I were in an airplane flying over the ground from only about 20 feet up. Kind of like a bizarre Hieronymus Bosch landscape.

Rich folks pay $ 7,000 to $ 10,000 to go to special resorts in Mexico, take psychotropic drugs, just to get that kind of head trip. They call them "visions" and ostensibly interpret them for you, as you eat fresh fruit. Yeah, so maybe check that one off your bucket list, as you've already had most of the experience that they offer, minus the fresh fruit and the half naked dude with the bone neckless telling you what the mud people in your vision represented.


Have had other horrible side effects from percocet as well looking back on it, taking after tooth extractions etc. Avoid it at all costs now....

Sounds like a good idea.
 

bizinsider

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Two things that surpassed me: like others, my sternum didn’t hurt; but - whoa! - boy, did my back! More surprising… I was so cold, and that lasted for weeks.
 

d333gs

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Weight loss surprised me as well as the other heart patient I was being shipped around with. Body mass was gone , skin just hung off of both of us. Neither of us could eat much the first week but that was not the cause.
 

Daniel758

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I 4get if I mentioned it but I had a similar experience in the hospital during my recovery. Every time I closed my eyes I was taken to a "brown world" where everything looked like mud but with numerous horrific shapes in the mud, which I would see from the perspective as if I were in an airplane flying over the ground from only about 20 feet up. Kind of like a bizarre Hieronymus Bosch landscape.

It was due to the percocet that they had me on for the pain. Stopped when they switched me to Ultram/Tramadol. I avoided taking anything at all though unless I could not stand the pain. Have had other horrible side effects from percocet as well looking back on it, taking after tooth extractions etc. Avoid it at all costs now....

I thought I was the only one to experience flying through this "world from hell" but it's interesting (and I'm glad I'm not the only "crazy" one) to see others have such similar experiences.

I wonder what in the mind creates this specific hallucination?
 

brendaelkins56

Mechanical aortic valve/root,Bicuspid
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Poulsbo, WA
I was surprised how scared my hubby looked when I had to get blood.

I was surprised when they pulled my tubes i got an awful pain down my spine.

I also did not know surgery could make you need insulin.

I was definately surprised at the back and shoulder pain.
 

d333gs

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"I wonder what in the mind creates this specific hallucination?" Interesting question, would you describe it as an out of body experience?
 

tom in MO

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"I wonder what in the mind creates this specific hallucination?" Interesting question, would you describe it as an out of body experience?
When they put me under, I asked the anesthesiologist what drugs were going to be used. I was interested since some of my work is where pharmaceuticals intersect with forensics. He told me a variety of chemicals all quite potent, including a fentanyl.

I get waking hallucinations from morphine and most opioids give me extreme dreams or even nightmares. On morphine, I actually saw a small pink elephant on top of my TV for a few minutes. Watching a film about the Monterey Pop Festival on TV, I found myself at the festival. Fifteen minutes became hours and 90 minutes seemed like 5. This is just me on morphine (I had a pump and self-dosed after colon surgery.)

Personally, after OHS, I didn't sleep for 24hr despite all the drugs. I blamed this on my subconscious which was probably freaked out when it lost control of my heart and lungs yet I didn't die :)
 

slipkid

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Weight loss surprised me as well as the other heart patient I was being shipped around with. Body mass was gone , skin just hung off of both of us. Neither of us could eat much the first week but that was not the cause.

I lost a lot of weight during my stint. But I had a heart attack that precipitated my surgery so went through a lot. 10 day hospital stay if I remember right and probably no food for at least 3-4 days, just IVs (?). I was only like 145 pounds prior to everything and came out around 120 I think. Put the weight back on pretty fast though in only a few weeks.
 

slipkid

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"I wonder what in the mind creates this specific hallucination?" Interesting question, would you describe it as an out of body experience?

No, not like that. Just a hallucination. But ONLY happened if I closed my eyes. If I opened them that mud world disappeared (thankfully).
 

slipkid

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When they put me under, I asked the anesthesiologist what drugs were going to be used. I was interested since some of my work is where pharmaceuticals intersect with forensics. He told me a variety of chemicals all quite potent, including a fentanyl.

I get waking hallucinations from morphine and most opioids give me extreme dreams or even nightmares. On morphine, I actually saw a small pink elephant on top of my TV for a few minutes. Watching a film about the Monterey Pop Festival on TV, I found myself at the festival. Fifteen minutes became hours and 90 minutes seemed like 5. This is just me on morphine (I had a pump and self-dosed after colon surgery.)

Personally, after OHS, I didn't sleep for 24hr despite all the drugs. I blamed this on my subconscious which was probably freaked out when it lost control of my heart and lungs yet I didn't die :)

A "small pink elephant"!!! LOL!

If I ever get laid up in a hospital again on weird drugs I am going to request they put the Woodstock festival on the TV, since I was too young to go but that would be a blast to be able to say I was there after all -supposedly one of my brothers-in-law was there and he said you can see him lying in a sleeping bag passed out at some point, I'll go find him and wake him up.

Or might be fun to get inserted in a Monty Python sketch. Or put me in the old west with Clint, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and the Sick Patient. Heck, put a porn channel on and find myself surrounded by beautiful frisky naked nurses? The possibilities are endless.
 

Ricaldo

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A different type of answer - While told to expect pain near the incisions and drain tubes after surgery, I wound up coming to with a terribly sore back due to a clerical error.

When I woke up from surgery I felt the soles of my feet pushing against the rails at the end of my bed and my muscles along the left side of my spine were terribly sore. The pain near my incision was way easier to deal with. In fact, I continued to have pain on the left side of my spine any time I laid on my back for any appreciable amount of time. Even during my first week after discharge the pain would build up as I slept and wake me up at night.

I later found out the primary cause. One week before my surgery a woman from the hospital called me to collect some pre-op information. In addition to scheduling me for my blood work and CT scans she asked about my medical history, allergies, height, weight, etc. (even though it was all on file already - or should have been). When she asked my height I told her that I am 6'2". Apparently in the hospital's system they just have a space for inches. I later found out from a doctor that she apparently did some bad math in her head as she typed in that I am 64" instead of 74". As such, a normal size bed was ordered for me.

After I woke up in a slightly curved position that I had been in for hours , which was preceded by having been on my back on a hard operating table for several hours, my back really ached. I asked for a larger bed and was told by a nurse, "I asked if we have any bed extenders and right now none are available. Due to spacing we usually need to order beds a week in advance." They didn't have a single spare bed extender?? It was suggested to me that perhaps I should just put the chair in my room into full recline and sleep there. Sigh...
Oh god hope the UK hospitals aren't like this as I'm 6ft 9" 😂😂😂
 

DJ-Rae09

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Apr 26, 2022
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90
Things that surprised me:

That there wasn't much pain in ICU or in the ward
Losing blood from the operation, I was anemic!
The amount of Heparin shots I received, I think it was 10 injections all up, 2 per day.
The amount of walking I could do per day
The pain when they had to re-dress my chest bandages :/
Taking and managing Wafarin is no big deal :)
 

CindyBain

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What a great thread!!
I was surprised that my upper back hurts so much and so does my left underarm arm, and right jaw. The jaw was so bad, after I was home, I got permission to go to the dentist. He saw no infection, just said it is from having mouth open and the tubes during surgery. I am also surprised that my shoulders sometimes pop or crunch, but my sternum seems ok.
I was surprised that there is such a shortage of nurses and many male nurses. That was unnerving for this old lady!!
I was surprised about the glucose checks before meals and the belly shots of heparin.
I was surprised by Afib for 8 hours on about the 4th day after being so stable. I went out of sinus rhythm. This was very scary and as quickly as it started it went back in after those hours. I was kept an extra day in the hospital due to this. I am on a two-week med for this called Amiodarone.
I am surprised that so far, I am not on blood pressure medication. I am to monitor it and so far, it has not reached a critical level, it does fluctuate some, throughout the day.
I am also surprised not to be on coumadin. They tried to give it to me and even the smallest amount brought my INR way too high, so I am on an adult baby aspirin.
I was surprised by the amount of fluid I retained for a few days; my hands were puffy. They gave me Lasix to take care of this. I gained 21 lbs in fluid.
I was surprised that my mind was so clear, I expected and worried about brain fog!!
Lastly, after reading my medical report, I was shocked to read how bad my previously repaired mitral valve had become, and it really was necessary to replace the valve. I now have a bovine Edwards Mitris Valve, size 25mg. I am so grateful to be alive and getting through this discomfort until I'm better than ever!!
 
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Gail in Ca

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I’ve always been sooo thirsty in ICU and we only get ice chips. Then, I couldn’t have too much ice so was given a gauzy lemon tasting thing to suck on. Yumm.
My 3rd surgery I awoke feeling like I could walk the halls. I’ve always been amazed when I wake up that it’s over and I’m alive! It never seems long but my last surgery I was out for 12 hours.
 

oo0My_Valve0oo

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What a great thread!!
I was surprised that my upper back hurts so much and so does my left underarm arm, and right jaw. The jaw was so bad, after I was home, I got permission to go to the dentist. He saw no infection, just said it is from having mouth open and the tubes during surgery. I am also surprised that my shoulders sometimes pop or crunch, but my sternum seems ok.
I was surprised that there is such a shortage of nurses and many male nurses. That was unnerving for this old lady!!
I was surprised about the glucose checks before meals and the belly shots of heparin.
I was surprised by Afib for 8 hours on about the 4th day after being so stable. I went out of sinus rhythm. This was very scary and as quickly as it started it went back in after those hours. I was kept an extra day in the hospital due to this. I am on a two-week med for this called Amiodarone.
I am surprised that so far, I am not on blood pressure medication. I am to monitor it and so far, it has not reached a critical level, it does fluctuate some, throughout the day.
I am also surprised not to be on coumadin. They tried to give it to me and even the smallest amount brought my INR way too high, so I am on an adult baby aspirin.
I was surprised by the amount of fluid I retained for a few days; my hands were puffy. They gave me Lasix to take care of this. I gained 21 lbs in fluid.
I was surprised that my mind was so clear, I expected and worried about brain fog!!
Lastly, after reading my medical report, I was shocked to read how bad my previously repaired mitral valve had become, and it really was necessary to replace the valve. I now have a bovine Edwards Mitris Valve, size 25mg. I am so grateful to be alive and getting through this discomfort until I'm better than ever!!
‘…until I’m better than ever.” I am a few months past my 1 year anniversary. I anticipated feeling a boost considering the description of my defective valve which was replaced. Once I recovered from the surgery and being out of work action I was left feeling the same way I felt before the surgery. It was as though I gained nothing back and the effects / benefits of the procedure were not reflected in my energy or stamina. Then last month I elevated to a new level of recovery. I am not where I was before the symptoms appeared leading to surgery but I am closer and am in a state which I am energized. Energy plays a huge role in motivation. I have been active my whole life. I was up hours before anyone in the family as a kid. Not having energy I started to think I was getting lazy, I did not have the energy to get inspired to take on everything that I wanted and needed to do. Things happened to me that did not fit into the logic I had outlined. I was not the example I expected to be, for instance I was in the hospital an atypical 12 days while I expected to be one who would be released earlier than average. I do not think it is a good idea to believe you will be better than ever as a result of whatever is done via OHS. I started researching other patient experiences and found that it does not fit an auto repair analogy where you repair and replace parts then end up good as new. Sometimes you just extend the life of the car rather than regain the energy of youth. Recovery takes much longer than I had thought. Gaining or regaining this recent ground something inside took a long time to heal or adapt to the new valve or something. I had returned to my physically active job a month early and was as active as ever immediately and have been ever since. But I struggled with less stamina and energy. It was over a year of this constant pace then suddenly I made a leap forward rather than backward. But it should not have unfolded like this according to logic. So expectations of better than ever can be unrealistic. Your body has its own say in the matter. Best wishes!
 
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CindyBain

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I was surprised when they took my large chest bandage off the third day by the huge open holes in my upper abdomen (drain holes) I was just not expecting anything left on me not sewn up in some way.
I was surprised to learn that my valve had deformed and webbed to become one cusp and the echo and cath reported a larger area than I actually had (So glad I did not wait any longer to have this surgery and did not listen to the cardiologist who did my cath and said after it was over "good news, you do not need surgery"...are you kidding? I could hardly breath)
I was surprised, while in cardiac ICU, I was left alone for many hours because they would not let family in during certain times and there is not just one nurse in your room to help you.
I was also surprised by all the blood sugar tests and insulin injections. I am not diabetic and those nurses were sticking my poor fingers every few hours....even during the night.
I was surprised, and still am that I cannot eat cereal and milk anymore...the smell make me sick.
Also surprised by the amount of adhesive on my body when I went home....took weeks to finally get it all off. I think they had something stuck to me everywhere. I had to have had 6 to 7 different iv's.
Robin
I seem to have sticky tape all over me. The scar glue is starting to peel!!!
 

chebag

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Dec 20, 2021
Messages
15
I never posted in here, but my story is basically endocarditis on a bicuspid leaflet at age 30. Moderate regurgitation, multiple perforations on the valve.

I was susprised how long I had to wait. I was in the hospital for almost two weeks awaiting surgery. Because they were afraid the vegetation on my valve might break off and kill me, they had to keep me in there. I had all kinds of roommates. A guy with a subdural hematoma who kept apologizing in his dreams and pissing on the floor, a guy with kidney failure clearly at the end of his life, an alcoholic with neuropathy to whom one nurse said quite rudely "you need to stop drinking!," and, I kid you not, a guy who came into the hospital with a laptop, keyboard, mouse and headphones, and played video games while popping percocets. Nurses kept telling him he needed to take a walk to help his lungs out... he wasn't having any of it.

I remember after surgery one nurse regaling us with stories of OHS patients who saw all sorts of stuff while they were under. Family members, the surgeon's shoes, etc. Last thing I remember is the surgeon putting his hand on my shoulder, saying "I'm going to take care of you." Funny now to think if he'd said it in a thick Jersey accent, I might have been frightened instead of moved to tears...

I remember waking up for the first time. The nurse shouting at me "we need you to sit up and breathe!" I wasn't having it!

I think I'll always remember the feeling of the chest tubes coming out. A tightness and a feeling like rubbing against the lining of an above-ground pool...

I'll remember my girlfriend at the time bringing me a concrete milkshake. Heaven! Also how overwhelmed she was. Some of your loved ones may cope just fine, and others may have panic attacks. I personally was so god damn grateful to have made it out to the other side that I was willing to handle any indignity, including a nurse sticking a suppository up my ass when I couldn't move my bowels.

And how kind so many of the nurses were! One who was exceptionally nice told me after the surgery that it had been "fifty-fifty" -- which wasn't true, of course. I think English wasn't her first language and so she understood it to me "generally dangerous" rather than a 50% chance of killing me! The surgeon himself had promised a 1% chance of death, and then when he saw the look on my face, pared his estimate down to "less than 1%."

‘…until I’m better than ever.” I am a few months past my 1 year anniversary. I anticipated feeling a boost considering the description of my defective valve which was replaced. Once I recovered from the surgery and being out of work action I was left feeling the same way I felt before the surgery. It was as though I gained nothing back and the effects / benefits of the procedure were not reflected in my energy or stamina. Then last month I elevated to a new level of recovery. I am not where I was before the symptoms appeared leading to surgery but I am closer and am in a state which I am energized. Energy plays a huge role in motivation. I have been active my whole life. I was up hours before anyone in the family as a kid. Not having energy I started to think I was getting lazy, I did not have the energy to get inspired to take on everything that I wanted and needed to do. Things happened to me that did not fit into the logic I had outlined. I was not the example I expected to be, for instance I was in the hospital an atypical 12 days while I expected to be one who would be released earlier than average. I do not think it is a good idea to believe you will be better than ever as a result of whatever is done via OHS. I started researching other patient experiences and found that it does not fit an auto repair analogy where you repair and replace parts then end up good as new. Sometimes you just extend the life of the car rather than regain the energy of youth. Recovery takes much longer than I had thought. Gaining or regaining this recent ground something inside took a long time to heal or adapt to the new valve or something. I had returned to my physically active job a month early and was as active as ever immediately and have been ever since. But I struggled with less stamina and energy. It was over a year of this constant pace then suddenly I made a leap forward rather than backward. But it should not have unfolded like this according to logic. So expectations of better than ever can be unrealistic. Your body has its own say in the matter. Best wishes!

I agree about pacing yourself above. I am healthy again, with lots of energy when I'm not exercising. Exercising 3 or 4 times a week, running around with kids a decade younger than me (I'm 31 now)... I start to wear down. But I'm much more forgiving and patient with myself these days. I take it easy when it warrants. I try to stuff myself with healthy food when I can. I stay away from alcohol for the most part. I accept the fact, basically, that there will be days when I'm frightened, thinking about strokes and bleeding events, or tired and wiped from going too hard at pickup basketball, but that basically I am so fucking lucky not to have born 100 years earlier, when the doctor might have showed up at my bedside, explained he thought I had a heart infection, and that he had a surgery that he'd like to try... I might have asked at that juncture, "will it work?" and like Tobias in Arrested Development, he might have said "it hasn't worked yet for anyone... but it might work for us!"
 

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