Friday, June 10, 2011

Pulmonary Heart Valve Replacement : 2011 -7

I realized I am quickly forgetting what happened during my hospital stay and do not want to be in the same memory situation for the time I've been home. To get up to date today I will publish this post in two parts. The first will be what has happened since release from the hospital and the other will be a continuation of the hospital stay. This is possible because my forearm did a lot of healing since yesterday and no longer aches to the bone. Today's blog should be interesting, because I am in an irreverent mood.

June 7, 2011 ~3:30 pm: released from the hospital. I was ready to leave, physically and emotionally. I do not believe I have focused as much on blood sugar, poop, pee and K in my entire life as I did in the prior 7 days.

I was sooooo ready to leave. HOME!!!!! I blew past the release papers.

Then I took a nap after that 20 minute ride. It was in the 90s outside and I was cold. I had been since the surgery.

Cassie took the Rx.s to Target and had all but the pain Rx filled.

I got up and took a shower. 1st one in a week. None could be taken while I wore the monitor. There are the ghost outlines left behind from surgical tape used throughout the last week. I am slowly rubbing them off.

No more finger sticks before and after meals. No more being woken up from sleep for needed vitals. No more good food destroyed through institutional preparation. [Jamie Oliver should give up on the USA school lunch programs and focus on institutional foods.] I was entrusted with my own care. The surgery has been successful and I was now obnoxious enough for everyone to agree to send me elsewhere!!!!

Aside: I am continually met with surprise at the speed of my recovery. I would like to say it is exclusive to my wonderful self. Sure... I don't believe it either. Credit is to be shared by my health insurance and my employer.

My employer offered 'free' on site yoga in 2009, with the encouragement of the health insurance. At that time I was not able to step up onto a kitchen chair to retrieve a basket from above the cupboard without feeling off balance. The yoga class helped me establish core muscles where I did not know there were muscles.

When that class ended I joined a class of ladies who meet on Thursday nights. When the instructor became aware of my upcoming surgery, she spent an entire class focusing on strengthening our hearts. My last full yoga class until mid September was May 27.

I joined the weight watchers program offered 'free' on site by my employer about a year ago. I learned how to make better choices than the already good choices I was making. In my case, removed soda, fewer grains and dairy. Alcohol was never an issue, nor was smoking.

It did not hurt that I have an 'Everyday Foods' subscription. Martha can make mud taste good.

I was also intentional about not pulling back from my normal activities prior to the surgery. The week before the surgery I finished my first weaving class using a floor loom. It is a great workout for the glutteous maximus. The last day of work I continued to use the 'tunnel' to get from a distant parking lot to my work area.

June 8, 2011: Phone call from Cindy of my health insurance company. She was making sure all was going well and provided direction for my next steps. We went over my release papers. This time I paid better attention, and followed up with a phone call to VNA. They are to fill in the time from hospital to cardiac rehab.

I called VNA and set up an appointment a little later. VNA showed up and I discovered they were expecting someone sicker than me. She tried to teach me how to take my pulse. It is a skill from my 20 somethings that has not returned. I cannot pick out the pulse. One of my meds has a side effect of loss of skin sensation. Or, maybe it is from the finger sticks. Or ... I have no idea why.

Maybe I should enlist Cassie for pulse taking. They want one prior and one after 'workout' pulse.

Here is my list of overall health goals:
- My heart needs to heal, and I keep forgetting this. It keeps reminding me with tears.
- My lungs need to be deliberately expanded with the Spiro-blah-blah-blah-ometer. This is a torture device designed to force the lungs open after being on the heart lung machine. To operate wrap your mouth around the mouthpiece and inhale. If you are my age... think water bong. I have no pratice with this device. Yet, it is progressively effective. I can now lay on my back and breath.

I may have that device bronzed.

- My throat needs to heal from the breathing tube. This is happening on it's own schedule.
- My collar bone needs to heal. There is not much I can do about this, either. The healing will take time.
- The incision needs to be kept clean and from time to time stretched so I do not get used to sitting shoulched over.

THERE IS NO PAIN that OTC Tylenol cannot handle.

The rest of me is functioning at 'normal'. The goal is to avoid infection and be aware of any negative changes.

June 9, 2011: Cassie took me to the bank and Walgreens across the street. I made it to the second story 3Xs. Took a nap on the lower porch. Checked out the upper porch.

VNA sent 'Lizbeth' to take my vitals. She was expecting someone sicker than I am.

Phil brought my warping board down from the 2nd floor. I explained to 'Lizbeth' as long as I could wrap a warp, those exercises could be bypassed. [Think teaching Mozart to read music at 15. Well, maybe not quite so obvious...]

At bedtime I went into meltdown. Too much. Too soon. Larry brought some Tylenol for the aches and pronounced I was to do nothing the next day.

June 10, 2011: I woke up with Larry at 3:30 and saw him off to work. Then I wrapped 10 ends on the warping board. Took my vitals. Then I took a nap. I wrapped another 10 ends on the warping board. Wrapping the warping board is definately an aerobic exercise.

Cindy called from the insurance company to see if all was still going well. It is.

I called my cardiologist and my arhythmia cardiologist for follow up appointments. They are now set. I anticipate a call from the surgeon's office in the next couple of work days to set up that after surgery appointment.

Hospital Stay: ICU (AKA 7th floor): to be continued in 2011-8 posting. I need another nap.

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