September 26, 2012
This morning Jay and I set out on an adventure for the day. I had a follow up appt scheduled, but we were going to try to go to the mall for some retail therapy and have lunch. Well, if you know me, I like to shoot for the stars! Big expectations for myself. We made it to the mall and I tried on some clothes in the first store. Do you know how hard and painful it is to pull on jeans? Much less try on several pairs of "skinny" jeans. Mistake. I was out of breath and in pain before we left the first store. Whoops. One of my mottos during this thing called recovery had been "You don't know how much you can do until you try it, then you learn." (and usually sleep the whole next day) Well, after getting jeans I tried to hide my pain and we started walking through the mall. It is a mall that is shaped like a giant donut so you have to make the entire loop to see certain stores. Let's just say that I didn't see many at all. Jay and I only got 1/4 the way around before I had to sit down. At that moment I wasn't sure I would make it back to the car much less lunch and my appt. Jay let me rest and then we s.....l.....o.....w......l......y walked back to the food court were we started. I couldn't hardly breathe to decide where to eat, so I found a table to sit and Jay decided on lunch and brought it to me. Pitiful. Christmas shopping is around the corner and I can't even walk the mall. What's a girl gonna do? Patience, Jessica, patience. I have to give it time. I will get there, just not today.
Jay and I then went to my first follow up appt. We had an afternoon appt with Dr. Drinkwater. The appt went well and he basically told me "good job, now have a nice life." I was shocked and asked him to clarify. He told me that my incisions were all healing beautifully and reminded me that I didn't have any complications to report to him. I was not having any symptoms that I shouldn't have post op. He said that the shortness of breath, pain,lack of endurance, and palpitations would all resolve in the next few weeks. I was given clearance to exercise as tolerated and live my life as normal as possible. Of course I am still restricted on lifting, pushing, and pulling until the end of my twelve week recovery period. He politely allowed me to see my TEE images from the surgery. He actually kind of chuckled when I asked to see them. I guess your typical open heart patient doesn't want to see how bad their heart looked during surgery. It was really neat when he pulled them up on the computer. He clicked through them and you could see the entire surgery before your eyes. He even had some 3D shots of my valves and the hole. Cool stuff for a nurse to see. It was at this point that I asked him to use my phone to photograph the repaired picture that I posted earlier in the blog. Again, he laughed at me. I am so glad he thinks I am comical....or not you usual patient. He instructed me as we walked to the door to follow up with my cardiologist and try not to have to ever see him again. Ha.
After my appt, Jay and I went over to the heart floor to see my CV ICU nurses. This was a huge moment for me because they worked so hard on me. As I posted earlier, I was not the easiest patient while I was in the unit. I didn't like the tube from the ventilator and everytime I woke up I got angry trying to get it out. My nurses Brandon and Kory were awesome. They kept me calm and informed on what was happening. When we arrived for our visit Brandon was actually getting ready to go home early. I am so glad we caught him before he left. I took him a Superman cup filled with gumballs as a thank you for his exceptional care. I also took Kory a Superwoman cup with gumballs. She works nights so I wasn't able to visit with her. It was fun to listen to Brandon recount his shifts with me. We laughed as I tried to explain the bits I remembered. He helped me my filling in the blanks that I slept through. This was all important to me to help understand what all happened while he took care of me. It was a step in my recovery to be able to see the whole picture. I am so thankful that God gave me such wonderful caring nurses during the most crucial part of my recovery. They were both angels looking after me as my body awoke from surgery. Thank you God for giving them a role in this important time in my life. They have both made a huge difference in me.