Surgery is Complete

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SteinBizzle

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Had my aorta and aortic valve (On-X) replaced Wednesday morning. Think my nerve bundle may have been compromised as my atrial and ventricular pulses aren’t syncing (gotta be honest I’m not real knowledgeable on this topic). They have me on an external pacer for now. Made it through ICU yesterday and got moved to the floor yesterday afternoon. My doc is Dr. Tyner @ Scripps in La Jolla. <Insert sarcasm> My absolute favorite thing to do is cough…. Omg, it’s brutal.
 

Lynn

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Congrats on having the surgery in your rear view mirror SteinBizzle. Life improves once you make it out of ICU. With respect to your nerve bundle, it is early days yet, hopefully you will see some improvement in the next few days as inflammation settles down. Apparently this can take a few days. My nerve bundle was also damaged in surgery and I did end up needing a permanent pacemaker. The decision wasn’t made until the morning of day 6, hopefully your issue will have resolved by then. I did struggle to deal with the need for a pacer, but you should know that if it comes to pass, the internal pacer feels WAY better than the external pacing. Well the heart block from surgery is a serious issue, it is apparently quite easy to treat with a pacer. They can pace your ventricles to your own rhythm from your atria. That is actually working well for me and the pacemaker surgery is very minor compared to what you have been through.

Wishing you the best of luck, keep us posted.
 

dick0236

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.......... My absolute favorite thing to do is cough…. Omg, it’s brutal.
You will have a NEW favorite thing after your first sneeze........but keep telling yourself "this too will pass". Try holding a pillow tight against your chest......it does help.....a little. It's funny but the coughing, sneezing thing I still remember.

Congrats on making it to the other side.
 

Zeftonic

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Congrats, and hope you doing well.
Have rich protein food everyday, this will heal you
and make your heart work in balance.
cheers!
 

SteinBizzle

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I appreciate all of the well wishes! I’ve been reading but not always energetic enough to reply lately. That, and I’m on my phone which is harder for me to focus on sometimes. Everything appears to be going well. Had the chest tubes pulled an hour ago and went for a walk. Not feeling much pain, just presssure for the most part but this is expected to decline with the chest tubes out.
As for the heart block, we’re playing like Lynn described. Going to wait for the swelling to go down and see if it gets better. My upper is beating at 72bpm while my lower is running at 46, so they’re confused about that. Apparently, heart block usually runs the upper at 30-40. Kind of funny to watch the cardiologists scratching their heads over this.
 

vitdoc

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Good luck with healing up. I went through the same thing 15 years ago. I had complete block so that the atrial signals were not getting to the ventricles. In some people the ventricles have their own intrinsic rhythm usually rather slow like 20+ and sometimes the ventricles have no intrinsic rhythm and are totally dependent on the atrial signals. You probably have partial AV block. That means that only a percentage of the atrial signals get through. Or you have complete block with a fast ventricular intrinsic rhythm. I had zero ventricular intrinsic rhythm so without pacing I would be under the grass. Usually a wire is left in at the end of surgery to provide pacing in case of AV block. The pacing is turned off to see what the intrinsic rhythm is. If there is no more block the lead is removed. However usually by a week or so out if there is still significant block a permanent pacer is placed with internal leads. That is what happened to me. I am 100% pacemaker dependent. The pacer picks up the atrial signal and sends it to the ventricle bypassing the AV block. I had an interesting event post surgery. A nurse was cleaning the wound and accidentally pulled on the pacing wire coming out of the wound. The connection to the heart deteriorated and I would have died without the pacing. They turned up the power on the external pacer to maximum. I actually had a sparking on the chest.
It hurt like hell. The gave me morphine for the pain and took me to the cath lab and placed a wire in my neck to pace. A few days later I got my first pacer placed internally. I am a physician and I can say that hospitals can be dangerous places.
 

Chuck C

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Had my aorta and aortic valve (On-X) replaced Wednesday morning. Think my nerve bundle may have been compromised as my atrial and ventricular pulses aren’t syncing (gotta be honest I’m not real knowledgeable on this topic). They have me on an external pacer for now. Made it through ICU yesterday and got moved to the floor yesterday afternoon. My doc is Dr. Tyner @ Scripps in La Jolla. <Insert sarcasm> My absolute favorite thing to do is cough…. Omg, it’s brutal.
Well done! Good news that you were able to step down from ICU already. Sounds like your on the road to recovery. Please keep us posted as you progress.
 

SteinBizzle

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Woohoo, I got the pacemaker installed yesterday afternoon. Just when I was starting to feel human again (pain-wise), this felt okay for about 12-hours and now feels like I was kicked in the chest by a horse, lol. I’m being over-dramatic but that muscle pain is completely different type of pain than what I experienced in the sternum. I will definitely get all of my walks logged as I feel much better on my feet.
Even in pain I’m sitting here with a smile because I’m on the “recovery-side” of this life hurdle. I’ll make it through the discomfort and I know that I’ll be back on my feet with a fully functional aortic valve, a graft that’s not creating back-pressure and a pacer that’s not randomly firing off some AV Tach. Life is good.
 

Chuck C

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Even in pain I’m sitting here with a smile because I’m on the “recovery-side” of this life hurdle. I’ll make it through the discomfort and I know that I’ll be back on my feet with a fully functional aortic valve, a graft that’s not creating back-pressure and a pacer that’s not randomly firing off some AV Tach. Life is good.
Great attitude!
Thanks for the update.
 

Lynn

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A week of external pacing certainly does make a permanent pacer sound and feel like a good idea lol. If like me, you have a decent intrinsic rhythm in the atria (top chambers) if is pretty easy to get the pacing right and it feels “normal”. Hope that‘s the case, plus you will probably get sprung soon.

Good Luck, wishing you the best.
 

Dodger Fan

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Woohoo, I got the pacemaker installed yesterday afternoon. Just when I was starting to feel human again (pain-wise), this felt okay for about 12-hours and now feels like I was kicked in the chest by a horse, lol. I’m being over-dramatic but that muscle pain is completely different type of pain than what I experienced in the sternum. I will definitely get all of my walks logged as I feel much better on my feet.
Even in pain I’m sitting here with a smile because I’m on the “recovery-side” of this life hurdle. I’ll make it through the discomfort and I know that I’ll be back on my feet with a fully functional aortic valve, a graft that’s not creating back-pressure and a pacer that’s not randomly firing off some AV Tach. Life is good.
That pacemaker pain definitely took my mind off the sternotomy pain. Ice worked best for me. I'm glad you're doing well and are probably going home soon. Does Dr. Tyner still have that very serious PA with the bushy grey mustache? I think his name is Bruce.
 

SteinBizzle

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Quick update with a question:
I was discharged last Thursday after lunch, came home, and have been getting stronger. I am completely weened off of narcotics (took last oxy Friday morning upon waking sore.) I walked around the downstairs very briefly on Thursday (maybe 2x but I had walked prior to discharge), little more on Friday (5-6x). Ventured upstairs on Saturday and have been doing this 2-3x daily since. I started walking for 10-15 minutes, every hour, starting Sunday.

My question is that I've experienced blurred/double-vision three times on Sunday. No headache, no auras, just what I think is my right eye sliding out of focus. Each eye operates fine independently (if I cover/close the other). This occurred independent of any physical activity (sitting in recliner and suddenly my dog had 4 eyes). Each episode lasted less than 5-minutes. Normal? Maybe Pumphead?
 

Amy

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What’s your INR and BP? Could it be one of your medications?
 

Astro

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Hope that your double vision episodes have settled. Sounds like your eyes were each working (good) but temporarily not coordinating properly. Maybe a migraine related event. I occasionally experience these episodes.

When I was in hospital, Seinfeld was on TV. I soon realized that I couldn’t watch it - laughing was too painful.
 

SteinBizzle

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What’s your INR and BP? Could it be one of your medications?
My INR from Monday was 2.5, today was 3.5 (so they're rolling me back half tonight from (7.5 to 3.75).
My BP has been a consistently in the low 100's over low to mid 60's (like 107/62 & 108/65, etc...).
 

Amy

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I’ve experienced what you describe on and off for years; only a handful of times per year, the episodes within a week or so of each other, and some years I never got it at all. I haven’t had it since the surgery, but I’m guessing that’s another secondary thing I *hoped* the surgery would fortuitously cure that it didn’t - along with migraines, tics, and other random, uncomfortable stuff the body mysteriously insists on doing. ; )
 

SteinBizzle

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So get this... I go in on Friday for my first post-op appointments. I'm walking (slowly) from the parking structure all through the hospital. First, went and got my pacemaker scanned & tuned. Had a weird series of AFIB runs that they couldn't unlatch until the took me to 200bpm (quite a few times). Then I was sent for my chest x-ray and a meeting with my Surgeon. Chest X-Ray comes back "larger" than post-op. Promptly sent for an echo where they determined I was in Cardiac Tamponade (pericardial effusion). The echo reported terrible heart function due to the fluid pressure.

From there I go straight to surgery where they installed a heart catheter, going in through my stomach just below the xiphoid tip. Gave me a little "relaxation juice" and a local. I got to watch them push it through live while also watching it on the big-screen monitor, which I thoroughly enjoyed. They pulled 950ml of fluid while I was on the table and another 130ml over the weekend drained out.

Got to be honest, I had felt drained/winded on my daily walks prior to the follow-up appts but I thought it was just normal "post-OHS fatigue". Got released today and I feel like a million dollars compared to last week. I walked all over a CVS this afternoon, across parking lots, etc... Took it slow but it didn't wipe me like 10% of that activity did last week.

Just putting this out there that if you think you should be doing better or still getting winded, please get it checked out.
 
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