Thursday, July 31, 2008

By-Pass Heart Surgery

Hey You all,
A friend of mine named Dot has asked me to tell her about what I went through with my by-pass surgery almost four years ago, so here goes. She is going to be having the same surgery in a couple of weeks. Please pray for her to have easy surgery and a rapid recovery.

My surgery was performed the day after Labor Day in 2004. The doctor did 3 bypasses and put in a temporary pacemaker. Three days later I went back to surgery and they put in a permanent pacemaker. They did not allow me to feel any pain during that time, and gave me some kind of pain pills. Also some time in the day or the day following my surgery, according to my daughter, Teresa, who was by my side at the time, said that I just stuck out my arm and said, "Morphine, I want Morphine". ha. (I am not any kind of drug addict, by the way) One cannot be held responsible for what one says when he or she is "out of it". (BTW, I had my surgery the day after President Clinton had his surgery - only different hospitals, ha ha. He had just been on the South Beach Diet, too, as I had)

Within a few days following the surgery they had me on my feet and walking around some. Now the circumstances following my surgery were somewhat unusual. Four days following it, Hurricane Ivan hit the Florida Coast and I was there in the hospital at Pensacola. They had boarded up the windows on our side of the hospital in preparation for the hurricane, the hurricane hit on Wednesday night, I was talking to Allie back here in Tennessee and telling her how exciting it was. I got up to walk down to the end of the hall to see if I could see it blowing, but it was too dark outside. Then the lights went out all over the hospital just after I had gotten back to my room. That meant no air conditioning either.

OOPS I am getting off track with how I felt physically. I wss actually feeling pretty good, except for being sore in my chest where it had been cracked open, and I was having to sleep on my back (almost impossible) but they gave me Ambien to sleep and I did sleep but didn't like the fuzzy feeling when I did wake up. It was 3 more days before I could leave the hospital, because they were not letting residents back into that part of Florida because of all the destruction and fallen trees.

When I got home, back to Teresa and Tom's house, there was no electricity and I had to take cold showers (no hot water) but that is beside the point as well. We used a generator for a week, gasoline was almost impossible to find (another story as well).

As for how I did recovering, I was told by the doctors and by the video they had me watch that I was to walk some each day. So the next day after I got home, I started out to walk to the end of the block, and didn't tell anyone. I was wearing my red housecoat, and by the end of the block I had to rest on the mailbox and my legs were like rubber. Teresa came after me in the car. She said she missed me being in the house and said, "where is Mom?" then she looked out down the street and saw this little figure in red and knew it was me.
After that she walked with me some each day till I started getting my strength back.

Sleeping at night was very difficult. I had slept on my back in the hospital and had gotten a bed sore on my bum where I sit. It took about 3 months of treatment with ointment to cure it up. At home, I tried sleeping in bed on my side, (bad choice) and it was too painful and I found out that I wasn't supposed to sleep on my side when I watched the video again. So, to help me sleep, Teresa suggested I sleep in one of the recliners. That helped, but I also had a persistant cough which came from one of the medications for blood pressure, so that when I would almost get to sleep, I would begin coughing. It was a difficult time, I finally got the doctor to take it seriously and he changed my medication.

I was able to drive again after 4 weeks following surgery but for eight weeks was not permitted to raise my left arm over my head because the wires from the pacemaker had to have time to grow into the tissues surrounding the heart.

I slept in the recliner for 12 weeks and then was able to begin sleeping in my bed. Oh, how wonderful that was, to be able to sleep on my side once again! I could go into more depth with my recovery, but I don't want to bore anyone (in case I haven't already). It was a difficult time, but I know it saved my life. And it was "doable". I know that twenty-five years ago when Hugh had his first bypass surgery, chances of recovery were much slimmer than these days. The surgery has been perfected because so many of them have been performed over the years. I thank God for His loving kindness in sparing my life, and allowing me more time with my family and friends and all those I love.

Dot,dear, I hope this is helpful to you.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. God bless you all. More tomorrow.


Judy said...

Sounds like you had it rough for a while but the end result was worth it. We all still have you to tell us these wonderful stories and keep us entertained! Have a wonderful weekend Grammy.

Teresa said... made it sound a bit easier here than it really was. You suffered quite a bit through this and watching it made me never want to go through it. lol At least you found some fun and excitement in the hurricane...what a pill you are. 8-) You forgot the part where that woman's window blew in across the hall. Now there was some excitement.