Well there you have it. The heart surgery is over and done and now it’s just a matter of getting through the recovery period, estimated to be about 7 weeks, and then it’s ‘go wild’.
I often write about how fear controls our expectations, how it blows everything out of proportion and how it transforms anticipation into excruciation. This happened certainly in this event; heart surgery is not a ‘normal’ situation in which to find oneself.
Where to begin. The staff at UCONN were remarkable, They guided me through each event with professional deliberation, explaining each step as we went along. They were wonderful! When I was at my most vulnerable they made me feel like I could get through it, that anything I needed to ask would be answered. They were the best.
It was only when it was all over and I came to my senses to some degree that I realized the extent of the damage to my body. The first day was a painful blur, but it was day two when my body reacted to the assault that I understood the drastic thing that had happened, realized it fully, and knew that recovery was going to be hell on earth.
And I was wrong about that.
Surgery was Friday, mid-day.
Saturday was the worst of it.
Sunday was much, much better and I got up and moved around, got cleaned up and felt a lot of pain but was almost a human being. And Monday, I was home.
Now, day by day, it’s getting better. I am off opiate pain management which actually is more uncomfortable than the pain (hypersensitivity). I am doing simple things, the dishes, computer games, what chores I can accomplish given the restrictions that must be followed. I am surprised each day by the lessening of pain and how my breathing is better and less difficult. And best of all the throbbing is pretty much gone and my stats (blood oxygen and pressure, heart rate, etc.) have stabilized.
All this in a matter of 11 days. Remarkable.
Now, let’s talk emotion. Well, that’s been a rollercoaster if ever there was one. I worried excessively, perhaps, but feelings are not facts. I had good reason to worry but it’s changed. Now it’s not so much worried about outcome but worried about real things that can be harmful.
For example, a sneeze.
That’s right. The worst thing in all of the recovery so far has been of all things, a sneeze, because it was sudden, violent, extremely painful and the effect was long-lasting.
So if a sneeze has become the one thing I worry about most, then there you have it – I am truly on the road to recovery and can think about what’s to come, all the positive effects that this surgery will have on me, my body, my attitude.
As long as I don’t sneeze.