Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pulmonary Heart Valve Replacement : 2011 - 23

Good Morning!!

It is now 11+ weeks post surgery. I am over half way through cardio rehab and one week into wearing the heart monitor sent by the rhythm cardiologist.

Things are happening, very subtle things. It is no longer the drama of immediate post surgery. I have not been writing because of that. The thought process led me to post because the focus of this blog was/is to walk someone through what it is like to go through the pulmonary heart valve replacement. That includes 11 + weeks out.

Last week I had a 20 second melt down while mourning the people I never met with the same valve that needed replacing and never received the proper diagnosis to treat it. It is frustrating to realize a diagnosis is all that stands between living and dieing. The doctors I have had conversations with outside of cardiology do not know the symptoms of pulmonary heart valve failure. Two of my prior cardiologists missed the diagnosis. It is so fixable. It is so missed by those who should be the first line of discovery.

Cardio rehab is an interesting melting pot of people recovering from more forms of cardiac trauma than I knew existed. It is interesting to listen to how each person got to the program. No two stories are alike.

Cardio rehab has me discovering what it is like to use muscles that have been dormant because my heart was not able to support activity. My one advantage is the yoga: balance, strength and muscles. The major challenge I am having with cadio rehab is skeletal below my waist. The worst of it is between my toes and ball of foot and shin (shin splints). Today I will go to a local running shoe store to see if there is a cross training / walking shoe that will help me through the rebuilding of these muscle groups. On the positive side, years of non use means the wear and tear expected on someone of my age is not there.

Cardio rehab is an hour of monitored execise. 35 minutes split between 2 pieces of cardio equipment. These are tread mill with elevation changes, stationary bike, recumbant bike with handles and a stair climber. This is followed with stretching, free weights and cool down. All is documented via electrodes and a portable heart monitor.

The heart monitor arrived last week I have been wearing it 24 / 7 for a week. I will have to wear it until September 10. It is to verify if I have any atrial fibulation, now that I have been off Amiodorone for a while. So far the only time the monitor has gone off I have had an electrode malfunction.

There are 3 kinds of electrodes. Two kinds came with the monitor. The kind I was started out with slips off when I exercise. It is supposed to be good to use for up to 3 days. That is not happening if I am to continue cardio exercise. The other kind 'red dot' is for active people. It sticks really well.

The location of one of the electrodes is on the left side of my chest on the lowest rib. This is also new skin based on last year's radiation. The 'red dot' electrode is too sticky for this area. It became raw.

So.. a telephone call to the monitor people to ask if I could change the location of the electrode while my skin healed. (They will also be sending me a supply of hypo-alergetic electrodes.) I was told dropping the electrode location an inch below my rib was fine. I did that and the monitor went off every time I stood up or sat down because I wear the monitor clipped to my waistband, right over the recently dropped electrode. This was discovered at work and the only back up electrodes I had with me were the 'red dot's.

The plan is to wear the blue electrodes, replace when they slip off and only use the waist clip during the day. At night I will sleep with the monitor on the lariete around my neck and the monitor semi immobilized with a snug tank top.

The new electrodes just arrived. Now I have to figure out a new plan. 'Will let you know how this goes.