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svAdagioME

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Hi, I am having surgery for an ON-X a mechanical aortic valve and possible ascending aorta next week. It was supposed to be yesterday but got kicked out a week at the last minute because somebody needed emergency surgery. I am 58 and have known about my bicuspid valve for years.

I was pretty calm about the surgery his week until Monday and then started to freak out. Now I am back to normal but expect to start to get worked up again next week. I get anxiety but I almost never get ”fear” or terror. I can’t remember the last time. But this week I did. I actually threw my back out which I am sure was from the stress of it. I am glad I had 5e week delay because I was dreading waking up after heart surgery also struggling with a bad lower back and having to get out of bed that way. The back is improving slowly. I am hopeful that next week I can keep a lid on the fear having gone though it once.
 

tom in MO

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Good luck. It should go well. I sympathize, I too have back and neck problems. The good thing is that you'll be on pain meds for the surgery and should be get to be mobile pretty quickly. With a hospital bed you can adjust it so you're comfortable. My anxiety increased as I got closer to surgery. I found cop shows, comedies and prayer helpful. If recreational marijuana is legal in Maine, some people find that helpful with anxiety.
 

BillDaThrill

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To be afraid is to be human. Try to focus on the actual risks of the surgery. I was told I faced about 0.5%-1% of death and maybe twice that for a stroke. Those are pretty good odds, made me feel better. I sought out a surgeon and hospital that did this surgery hundreds of times a year. Felt like a widget on a conveyor belt. Everything turned out great and I'm betting yours will too!
 

pellicle

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Hey there and welcome.

As Bill says that some anxiety is normal, and its pretty well that some level of conscious control on your part to quell that fear is helpful. The fear is the fear of the unknown, I liken to hitting a bell or a cymbal and setting it ringing. So you need to put your fingers on the rim and casuse the resonances to slow faster, rather than allow them to go on longer.

I usually turned to reminding myself of core facts at this time. Facts like I will go on, I will be there because this isn't actually anymore dangerous than driving in traffic.

I did some meditation training when I was younger (which I suspect helped), and so I suggest you contemplate these points:

From Dune:
1664572238513.png


From Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor)
1664572797546.png


So the next thing you have to do is to make sure you are focused on your recovery and to begin learning about managing ACT.

Enjoy the experience, few get it and many died before it was available.

Best Wishes
 

svAdagioME

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Thanks all. I have had 9 knee surgeries and a handful of other things but this is a different ballgame. Mostly I am concerned about the first day upon waking up. And being stuck in hospital overnight not being able to get a nurse to answer. The latter has happened to me and there isn’t much you can do about it.
 

Beach77

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Thanks all. I have had 9 knee surgeries and a handful of other things but this is a different ballgame. Mostly I am concerned about the first day upon waking up. And being stuck in hospital overnight not being able to get a nurse to answer. The latter has happened to me and there isn’t much you can do about it.
My friend wasn't able to get a hold of a nurse either for her surgery, other than OH, she called the outside number to the hospital and said she was a patient on Floor xx and room # and she wasn't able to get a nurse and she needed...... A nurse came in very quickly! LOL She wasn't ignored after that! You'll be in ICU, then the cardiac unit, I really doubt you'll be ignored! My surgery was delayed 1 day for an emergency surgery too. Since I was ready, it gave me a day to relax with my husband. We went for a nice long walk along the bay in San Diego. It was the peak of COVID, there was no one out! Looking back now, it was really good for my husband and myself to relax together. Good luck!
 

pellicle

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The latter has happened to me and there isn’t much you can do about it.
correct, there is nothing anyone can ever really do about your experiences except you.

Some "meditations"


1664591640177.png


1664591564182.png


1664591582831.png



many many things have happened to me in my life too ... I'm sure you don't want to know, but my point is I shaped how I wanted it to effect me not allowed it to shape me.

Every human has the capacity to do just that ... even you.

I can't do anything to help you or change you ... that's up to you, my part is to listen and to help you to see new things

1664591816332.png


Best wishes
 

Chuck C

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Welcome to the forum!

Feeling some anxiety is totally normal going into a procedure like this. It helped me to think about the overwhelming success of this operation and to trust in my surgeon that I would be one of the 99%+ that wake up on the other side.

Mostly I am concerned about the first day upon waking up. And being stuck in hospital overnight not being able to get a nurse to answer

At my hospital, the policy is that you have one dedicated nurse, giving you her full attention, until 7am the next day after your procedure. She does not even leave the room. I would imagine that other top clinics operate the same way, but perhaps others can share. From day 2 forward in ICU there was one nurse for me, but she also tended to the guy in the room next door, and it stayed that way throughout my stay in ICU.

Additionally, there is a person on the floor whose sole responsibility is to sit in front of screens with everyone’s vitals on display. They get a beep and flashing red light should any vital get out of whack.

You will also have a call button that you can press to call them at any time if you have an issue such as sharp pain.

If your hospital policy is anything like mine, you will have immediate attention to any issues you are facing.

Here are some tips which might help.

Stay ahead of the pain with the pain meds. You may need to assert yourself a little bit here. I found that the old school nurses usually had this engrained into them in nursing school, but it seems that the younger ones had their heads filled with narcotic addiction as being the bigger concern, and some will be stingy with pain meds. My first night I was in pain, as my nurse would not give me anything other than light narcotic oral meds. The next morning, I explained to the new nurse my level of discomfort and pleaded with him to help. He immediately got approval from the head ICU nurse for a patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump. I was limited to one pump per 10 minutes but used it less than every 30 minutes. The next day I used it less than once per hour and did not need it after that. This really made a big difference to me, knowing that if I really needed it for the pain, all I needed to do was push a button.

If I had it to do over again, on that first night I would have asked to speak to the head ICU nurse immediately when my nurse would not give me sufficient meds to control my pain. I ended up doing this once later in the step down when my nurse insisted she take me off the oral narcotics before I was ready. This is a time when a few days of heavy pain meds are ok, and this is what they are intended for.

Also, the mattress firmness was adjustable. I found that the softest setting was the most comfortable. Your nurse will need to adjust this for you probably. Also, we experimented with the level of elevation of my head and legs that was the most comfortable, and then had my nurse write the settings on the chalkboard. This way, every time they changed the settings to get me out of bed, we could put it right back to the optimal settings.

I would encourage you to walk as much as they allow you. For me, the doc told me I could walk as much as I wanted to and I walked a lot, especially once I was in the step down unit and could self initiate my walks.

You will be given an incentive spirometer, which instructions to use it several times a day. Sometimes they will help you, but you will also probably be expected to do it on your own several times. I don’t recall how many times per day they tell you to do these exercises, but I think it was every 30 minutes. How ever often they tell you to use it, don’t cut corners here, even if you are tired and it is uncomfortable to inhale. Your lungs will be collapsed during the surgery and it is super important to get them back open again as soon as possible.

Wishing you a successful and uneventful procedure and recovery. :)

Please keep us posted.
 

svAdagioME

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correct, there is nothing anyone can ever really do about your experiences except you.

Some "meditations"


View attachment 888782

View attachment 888779

View attachment 888780


many many things have happened to me in my life too ... I'm sure you don't want to know, but my point is I shaped how I wanted it to effect me not allowed it to shape me.

Every human has the capacity to do just that ... even you.

I can't do anything to help you or change you ... that's up to you, my part is to listen and to help you to see new things

View attachment 888783

Best wishes
OK… I am well versed in stoic philosophy but not sure the musings of Marcus Aurelius will help get a nurse to come in the middle of the night when I am coming off anesthesia.
 
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svAdagioME

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If I had it to do over again, on that first night I would have asked to speak to the head ICU nurse immediately when my nurse would not give me sufficient meds to control my pain. I ended up doing this once later in the step down when my nurse insisted she take me off the oral narcotics before I was ready.
Thanks I will try to do that. I will ask my wife to do that also. My experience with major surgery is that the first night I remember being not completely rational or aware. One time I was so delusional over night that I lost track of time and thought it went on for days. Another time I was so terrified for some reason of getting catheterized against my will that I stayed up all night and didn’t call the nurses. So that’s the only thing. Getting help when I am not in my right mind. Hopefully this time it will not go that way and I can remember to ask to see the head floor nurse.
 

pellicle

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OK. I am well versed in stoic philosophy but not sure how this helps get a nurse to come in the middle of the night when there is no nurse.
so, as one who is well versed in Stoicism, the answer should be plain: it does nothing to bringing the nurse. It only provides insight as to what to do.
If this was ICU then I think Epictetus covers it:
1665171812553.png


If its back on the ward then its either Seneca:
1665171883148.png


or Macus Aurelius
1665171912712.png



or it could be Colnel Kurtz
1665171947551.png



Best Wishes
 

svAdagioME

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This is BS and offensive. Telling people facing open heart surgery to embrace horror and moral terror and meditate on suffering and the fact that you are going to die is absolutely frigging ridiculous.
677E23AD-76DB-4EA1-BFA3-54188AE8B642.jpeg
 
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pellicle

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This is BS and offensive. Telling people facing open heart surgery to ...
... get over it and have the surgery because they've got mental problems in approaching a life saving surgery is offensive.

You clearly offend easily.

1665286197656.png


so please, don't have surgery or do have it and be terrified ... either way you clearly know NOTHING about the stoics that you claimed to know.

OK. I am well versed in stoic philosophy

must only know it in "lip service" or by rote

1665286647475.png


Lastly Epictetus grasped motality and priority, you seem not to yet....
 
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svAdagioME

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must only know it in "lip service" or by rote
I have a phd in philosophy. I didn’t learn it from memes and YouTube. I never said I was terrified. And now you are saying I have mental problems. You and your long posts about nothing are going on ignore. You can take your unqualified medical advice (telling people who are already anxious to not trust their doctors) and stick it.
 
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pellicle

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I have a phd in philosophy. I didn’t learn it from memes and YouTube. And now you are saying I have mental problems. You and your long posts about nothing are going on ignore. You can take your unqualified medical advice (telling people who are already anxious to not trust their doctors) and stick it.
so sorry your opinion differs from mine.

Best Wishes
 

vitdoc

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In general when one comes out after heart surgery you are taken to an intensive care unit. Generally there is a very high ratio of nurses to patients. Probably one to two or so. When you are intubated you are not left on your own for an extended period and hopefully the intubation will be discontinued prior to your return to a more alert state. If for some reason you may need prolonged intubation you probably will be sedated. So don't get too nervous about not getting a nurse. Once you get out of the ICU then getting a nurse can be an issue. When I had my first surgery in 1977 I was apparently bleeding profusely from the chest tubes. I wasn't clotting properly. They were worried so I went back to the OR got reopened and the looked around for something that may have been bleeding. I was just oozing so they pumped me up with platelets and clotting factors and things got under control. I remembered nothing from this since I was sedated the entire time.
So hopefully you will have a routine postop experience which isn't fun but it too shall pass.
 

Superman

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Reading through the thread. Wishing you well in your surgery and recovery. I can’t speak much to your feelings because they’re yours, and I can’t tell you how to feel.

I can tell you in cardiac ICU, my experience is that medical staff was available with the push of a button and probably in the room more often than I wanted them to be. Most of the tube removal and such was done while I was still in a bit of a haze but I remember it just the same. Don’t let them fool you, they’re like Jack Reacher. They aren’t counting all the way to three! 😁

Good luck and keep us posted! (Or is it done already, looking at the dates?)
 

svAdagioME

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they’re like Jack Reacher. They aren’t counting all the way to three! 😁

Good luck and keep us posted! (Or is it done already, looking at the dates?)
LOL. No hasn’t happened yet. 2 weeks ago it got delayed at the day before, and last Thursday it got cancelled the day of, when I had been sitting there with IVs in my arm for 6 hours. Apparently the ICUs are at capacity and emergency bypass surgeries are being shuttled between hospitals. Anyway, looks like it might happen this Friday but not confirmed.
 

DJ-Rae09

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Mostly I am concerned about the first day upon waking up. And being stuck in hospital overnight not being able to get a nurse to answer

I just recently had AVR and I don't even remember the breathing tube being in or being taken out. I must of been still out of it.
In my experience ICU wasn't that bad at all, minimal pain but obviously on medication to help.
The worst part was when they took the drainage tubes and catheter out, that I remember :D but it was over quick.

Good luck with your surgery.
 

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