Time really flies – and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to post another update! Quite a bit has happened since the last one.
Visiting nurses have discharged me with a positive report. I saw my cardiologist last week, and as far as she can tell, I’m where I should be in recovery. I have to wait until I see the surgeon next week until I find out if I can drive again. I hope he says yes, because I’ve been driving (no pun intended, I promise!) Larry crazy; he’s had to take me to all of these appointments. The week after that, I turn 55; hopefully I’ll be able to drive at least 55 by then (thanks, Sammy Hagar!)!
The Coumadin issue had been a little confounding; for weeks I’d been “resistant” to it and my level was low. Then after the dosage was adjusted, the level came up way too high. Now, at least temporarily, it’s been somewhat stable, and my cardiologist is OK with having the bloodwork done every two weeks. It’s not as touch and go as it’s been, and I hope it continues that way. I’m constantly conscious of trying not to fall, or cut myself because I can bruise easily, or bleed out, if the level is too high. So far, so good.
Listening to my ticker has become my new party trick! My joke is that it needs to be a really quiet party in order to pull it off. I open my mouth and have people listen – they can hear the valves through my throat! Kinda weird, but kinda funny! At least one person looked like they might faint from it! It is pretty loud, but I’m getting used to it.
I still have a good deal of pain from in the sternum area. I can’t remember how I really felt this far out (six weeks now) the last time I had the heart surgery. But then, without the Coumadin, I could take Ibuprofen. Now, I can’t, and the Extra Strength Tylenol just isn’t really cutting it. The Percocet is done, with no refills, for the obvious reasons. I was sorry to see it go, but I understand why they can’t refill the prescription (state law here in CT). The pain is very slowly subsiding, though, and I know it’ll be gone before I know it. I can also feel some weird pain in the kidney areas, and I’m assuming that is due to the organs settling after having been jostled around during the surgery. I’m feeling it right now as I write this. It happened after the last surgery, too – it was actually worse then. It went away in time, so I’m not worried about it.
In truth, I may be trying to do too much – it’s difficult for me to stay sedentary. But I walked over three miles yesterday without getting too tired, and I’m able to take hills now – always keeping an eye on the heart rate on my Fitbit as I go. I can now go a bit faster up the hills without my pulse going too high. That’s a good thing. I’ll be starting cardiac rehab next week, something I didn’t even need the last time, but I’m 18 years older now! I’m really looking forward to it; it will undoubtedly make things easier. I’m just impatient.
Another wrinkle: I seem to have developed a prostate infection, of all things. We thought it was a UTI, but the test for that came up clean. This is likely from the Foley catheter when I was in the hospital. Strange – for the first two weeks I was fine; then I started feeling the burn, literally. All part of the game, I guess. I’ve been taking antibiotics for it, and warm baths were also prescribed for it (which I have no problem accepting as a form of treatment!). My health care providers have decided against doing a cystoscopy to find out what the real problem is, since the risk of infection spreading to the heart valves is too great. Meantime, my urologist is going to put me on something which will at least alleviate the symptoms. At least there’s no tachycardia, which buckled me after the last surgery, and sent me back into the hospital for a night with a heart rate of 220!
Meantime, all in all, I’m doing OK – walking 2-3 miles per day; the taste buds are coming back, I’m enjoying food more and the appetite is good; sleep is coming pretty easily. I’m grateful for each and every positive thing and trying to take the negative with a grain of salt (unfortunately, I can’t put said grain of salt on my food!). Life is good. I need to thank all of my providers again, for the expert care they continue to give me. Not the least of these is ever-lovin’ Larry, whose heart has been in his throat for the past three months from fear of the worst. Is there a National Caregiver’s Week? There should be if there isn’t.
Thank you for your time – it warms the cockles of my heart that you care to be updated at all. I wouldn’t have made it through all this without the constant support and love of my family and friends. I am truly grateful!