So far, so good – Part Three

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Seaton

Well-known member
Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
316
Location
London, UK
Sunday – Day Four

I slept much better. And got up at 5:30am and sat in my chair in the growing light.

I practiced expanding my lungs by breathing through my nose. The sternum pain was much less. In fact, sternum pain had never really been a big issue as long as I din’t put any unnecessary strain on the area. But then again I hadn’t been sneezing either.

My heart rate had settled in the 60s. Blood pressure excellent. Blood oxygen level 98.

I had another X-Ray and later an echocardiogram in my bed via a portable echo machine.

The doctors visited and said I was doing great and, after looking at the x-ray, no longer had any concerns about the pneumothorax. They said my echo looked good and they’d plan to release me home the next day.

In early afternoon the ward sister said I was doing so well she thought there might be a chance I could go home that day if she spoke with the doctors again. In the end this didn’t happen, as the doctors hadn’t time to complete their paperwork that day. So in theory, I nearly came home on day four.

Monday – Day Five

I rose early again. Ate breakfast – porridge and toast and a cup of black tea. Then I strolled up and down the ward a while.

Then the nurse removed my drainage plaster and stitches. There was no blood leakage this time.

I showered shortly before my discharge papers arrived. I arranged for a family member to collect me after midday and got myself dressed. I slowly packed my bag.

And that was it. I said my heartfelt goodbyes and was wheeled to a waiting London taxi outside. It was a three and half mile journey home.

It was good to get home but there was some emotional reaction too as I settled in, slightly disorientated.

——————————

I came away from hospital with little medication needing to be taken. I have to take one dispersible aspirin a day with food for two weeks, accompanied by one Omeprazole one hour before the aspirin to protect the stomach. And a box of paracetamol (Tylenol in the US). I was taking paracetamol regularly at first but have reduced it considerably now as I have very little pain, relatively. There is sternum pain when I cough but nothing dispiriting.

Today I feel very good. My wounds are healing nicely. I haven’t been outside since returning home Monday. It just felt right to stay in my den these past days. My electric recliner is a godsend. I walk around my home and do some neck, shoulder and arm raising exercises daily, as instructed.

Today I feel ready to walk up the road a short way and back. But let’s see.

I’m sleeping well ... or rather, quite heavily. There were a few nights where sleep was intermittent.

I am eating normally.

There has been someone staying with me this first week home. Sleeping over. Cooking for me, shopping, lifting anything heavy. They come and go in the day, which is no problem as I rest and mediate and exercise in their absence.

All in all, I’m amazed how well it’s gone and how well my valve has embedded so far. I take one day at a time and sing praises to the brilliance of modern science and medical teams.

I have a cardiology follow-up appointment in six weeks’ time, late September. Followed by six weeks’ of rehab at St Thomas’ Hospital. I look forward to those.

The shorter version of this would have been,

I had Aortic Valve Replacement last week and everything went well.

But I thought I’d pad out the experience a bit both for myself to remember and for anyone wishing to read such things who may be awaiting surgery or the like. I read lots of such accounts in my years in the Waiting Room, and I found all of them to be of help to one degree or another. So I hope that is true of this.

Peace and goodwill to all.
 
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Paleowoman

VR.org Supporter
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Jun 14, 2010
Messages
2,634
Location
Surrey, UK
Very nice to read your journey through AVR Seaton. It’s such a good idea to write things down so you can remember it all clearly. Seems like you had some excellent nursing, and so good you were able to self administer your pain med in HDU ! (Very different from my experience of nursing and pain relief.) I’m so glad for you. And you got a photo of yourself on the ventilator like me. You are a good advert for St Thomas’s Hospital because the nursing part of AVR is as important as the surgery part :)
 

Duffey

Me and Granbon
Joined
Sep 29, 2004
Messages
5,193
Location
Far side of the moon
It was a very enjoyable read (sorry, that might sound like I’m thanking you for providing entertainment value!) I was comparing it to my own almost 15 years ago, but it seems that they had me up and moving sooner. I attribute the difference to our country’s different medical systems but I may be mistaken. Your nursing care sounds as though it was fabulous, quite a blessing. I hope the rest of your recovery goes as well.
 

FredW

Premium Level User
Joined
Dec 16, 2015
Messages
248
Location
Rochester Mills, PA
@Seaton, it is nice to hear you doing well. The road to full recovery is long, sometimes sprinkled with surprises, but the journey is well worth any discomfort. My suggestion is to be kind to yourself, walk often, breath deeply, eat and sleep well.

It is good to write as you have done so well. The short versions don't do justice with a faulty memory or for those of us who like more details. I enjoyed reading your writings and wish for more from you.

Here's hoping your recovery journey is short and smooth.
 

LondonAndy

VR.org Supporter
Joined
Aug 1, 2015
Messages
339
Location
London, UK
I agree about the value of writing this at the time of going through it - thanks Seaton! The end of this month sees the fifth anniversary of my AVR and already some things are forgotten.

I know that you have done a lot of research into this procedure, but I think my two most important things I learnt during the recovery phase were:

1. The importance of hygiene to avoid infection. Obviously don't share towels, and wash them at a high temperature every 2 or 3 days. Some well spaced red spots appeared on my chest after a few weeks and I resorted to buying some of that "surgical wash" red liquid the hospitals use, and some disposable paper wash cloth things (both are available on Amazon, message me for specifics if wanted) to clear them up.

2. When out walking, which is obviously a good thing, don't stand and chat to someone for any time, as your blood pressure may well be quite low (now that the valve is working well) and the mechanics of walking help to pump blood around the body. Standing still you may both get dizzy and tired.

Here's looking forward to your continued good recovery, and further installments!
 

Stevebav

New member
Joined
Aug 20, 2019
Messages
3
Hi Bob
Great that your journey seems to have got off to a good start!
I found your detailed report unputdownable - thank for taking the time from all still waiting.
 
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