One day at a time

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Well-known member
May 13, 2015
London, UK
I’m almost five weeks post aortic valve replacement (August 7th). Everything had been going swimmingly until the end of last week.

Felt chilly four days ago (Friday), with pain beneath my sternum and up the left side of my chest to my neck when I inhaled. At first I thought I’d slept awkwardly and perhaps pulled some muscles.

The chills continued throughout Saturday, with the pain seeming to worsen.

Sunday I was feverish. And Sunday night my temperature crept up to 38.2º (100.76F). And my heart rate was up, even higher when I did the simplest exertion.

I was taking paracetamol. Next day my temperature had reduced a touch but I was still in considerable pain when inhaling and sweaty and clammy. And a slight dry cough had developed.

Called my Lead Cardiac Nurse contact at the hospital. She advised I see my GP and ask that my doctor listen to my heart and refer me to hospital if there were concerns. Got an emergency appointment with GP who said she could hear a murmur and my temperature was slightly raised. She advised I go to the hospital A&E. She gave me a note for the A&E team. It gave various readings and asked them to consider possible sepsis or SBE (which I knew to be subacute bacterial endocarditis).

Called back my cardiac nurse to say that’s what I would be doing. She said that often a murmur can be heard soon after surgery anyway but it was best to go and get things checked.

At the A&E I had an x-ray (was clear) and full bloods taken (all seemed good). And a standard 12-lead electrocardiogram (also seemed fine). Saw an A&E doctor and eventually a cardiac doctor. He asked for a urine sample which showed traces of blood, therefore possible infection in the body. They didn’t do an echocardiogram in the end, something that was suggested earlier they’d do.

I was given a seven day course of Co-amoxiclav and discharged and told to return if things hadn’t improved in three or four days.

They said it was good I’d gone to the hospital with my symptoms. That it was important to get such things looked at sooner rather than later.

I’m still exhausted today with a touch less pain on inhaling, but pain still noticeable. And my temperature is still above normal and the occasional dry cough not yet gone.

My cardiac nurse called earlier to see how I was, which was incredibly thoughtful of her. She said it could take between 24-48 hours for the antibiotics to kick in. So fingers crossed.
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Professional Dingbat
Nov 4, 2012
Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
your subject is spot on. Just take each day as it happens. Actually it can be an excellent opportunity to "live in the now".

Long ago I did a survival course for jungle survival (I'd done a lot of hiking in jungle and was planning a bigger one). One of the things I learnt there was to only think about what was needed now. Don't worry about later, just what do you need now. When tomorrow happens you can apply the same process.

Given time your horizon will extend

I like skiing the lake in the fog, so I can only see where I am (and not concern myself with where I'm going

a further view of that day is here:


Active member
Aug 26, 2019
Adelaide, Australia
Hope you feel better soon.
It is difficult to known when to go with the flow and when to seek extra help. It is reassuring that the blood tests and chest X-ray were okay.
Possible red flags (that warrant review):
1) Increasing fever
2) Increasing pain
3) Shortness of breath
4) Palpitations
5) Wound redness/discharge
6) Failure to improve with the antibiotics.

Another possibility is the flu (a nose swab can check for this).

This is no substitute for your team’s advise but I hope it is helpful.
Get better soon.

Paleowoman Supporter
Jun 14, 2010
Surrey, UK
That's so worrying for you Seaton that suddenly things not right. I'm glad the cardiac nurse called you back and is aware of things. Wsihing that you feel better very soon and that the symptoms resolve.

LondonAndy Supporter
Aug 1, 2015
London, UK
Well handled, Seaton. I am now 5 years post surgery, and still managed to miss the signs of an infection when I suddenly felt cold in the middle of the night, nicely snuggled under the duvet. I just snuggled up more, and went back to sleep, but in the morning I noticed my lower leg was red and a bit swollen and went to A & E. Soon on intravenous antibiotics for each of the next 4 days, and then strong tablet antibioitics for the next week.

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