Thursday, 23 February 2017

Life goes on hold and treated like royalty

I had a telephone call from the City Hospital on Tuesday calling me in for pre-op yesterday (Wednesday), prior to open heart surgery on Monday. The prognosis is good, no problems with bloods, medication etc. Took us through what happens in the days after the op, then the weeks and months which follow. Turns out most post-op problems relate to the breast bone, which is cut, then wired together and you have to be very careful with how you get up, or raise your arms.

Once I had my blood tests, everyone else was waiting for me. I felt like royalty.  The lady who did my ECG (which also shows tension in the body and mine showed none), the radiographers for my chest x-ray, then  we spent a couple of hours with the nurse who will work with me once I am discharged from hospital and be my contact point. She'll visit me in the ward to check up on me and I will have one-to-one nursing in intensive care for the first day, then share a nurse in high-dependency for 2-3 days before going onto a general ward from where I will be discharged, which could be as early as five days (all this depends on how well I recover).

Had an email from my local history friend John, who I work with on projects. Eight years ago now, he had open heart surgery and was out in eleven days - which was quick then. Now, the evidence shows that post-op home care with a nursing team you can call 24/7 has the best recovery rates - hence the possibility of being out in as few as five days. I'll be happy if it's ten days! We shall see soon enough, as in my case how well my lungs reflate will also be a factor (one will be collapsed whilst my heart is stopped and I am on the heart by-pass machine).

Hardest part will be leaving things to Susan for the first six weeks whilst I concentrate on just walking each day. My physical rehab won't start for six weeks. The good news is that I should eat whatever I fancy as post-op calories are what I need to help me and my heart to recover - me being told to eat - that really is something (!!), so this happy note I will sign off.

Back in May 2015 I blogged about being diagnosed with fibrosis of the lungs, not knowing at the time that a visit to the City a Hospital assessment would lead to me being asked 'How long have you had a heart problem Robert?,' to which I replied 'What problem?' It turned I have lived nearly 73 years with a defective aortic heart valve, and it has been described in writng on several occasions as 'serious'. I consider myself to be one lucky bunny, pleased that my life expectancy will be extended considerably once I have recovered. The City Hospital and every person I have seen during the past twenty-one months has been kind and caring and yesterday, as I progressed though the system yesterday I really did feel like royalty and on this note I will end until I have recovered.

Robert Howard.

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