September 5-9, 2012
After one night in the CV ICU I was moved to a regular room in the hospital. Thursday morning Nurse Brandon moved me to the regular room about mid morning. He must have drugged me (Thanks dude) again because I don't really remember much at all of Thursday. Jay says I threw another fit and whined for him to walk beside my bed. Brandon sent the rest of the family on up, He gave in and let Jay walk with me and go up the staff elevators. I am thinking Brandon put up with a lot in the 24 hrs he had me as a patient. It was nice to be in a real room because Jay could stay with me all day and all night. Neither of us enjoyed him having to go home the night of surgery. I think I slept away most of Thursday. I remember having lots of visitors in and out. Once out of intensive care I wasn't hooked to any pumps or IV bags. They had already taken the A-Line from my left wrist, my epicardial wire, and removed my catheter. I just had a heart monitor, chest tube, and central line left on me. When the kids got there on Thursday they didn't like all that stuff. It took them a few minutes to warm up, but before long they were snuggled in the bed with me. It felt so incredibly good to have them in my arms. The cardiac rehab nurse got me up and we walked the halls on Thursday too. I guess that is why I slept so much; Thursday was a busy day.
Friday and Saturday were much of the same. Jay and I would walk the halls as far as I could and then I would sleep. The hospital food was less than desirable. I am blaming this on the fast that I was on the heart floor. This meant that I didn't get anything salted or seasoned and nothing fried. I begged my nurse to order me some bacon one morning. I explained to her that I wasn't a real heart patient and that I was not there for coronary artery disease. She ordered it and in a few minutes they delivered me a to go box full of bacon strips. Yummy! I struggled with my appetite and nausea after surgery. Nothing tastes as good as it sounds and most of the medicines make me nauseous. I lost some significant weight while I was in the hospital and my first days at home. I know I will put it back on soon enough, but it made me look even more frail.
I spent most of my time in the hospital sleeping. Jay watched ESPN the entire week while I dozed. We were blessed to have lots of people come to see us. Some days I think I had a revolving door. I loved the visits and the chit chat that accompanied everyone. It helped to keep me in touch with reality and not feel so bad. I was extremely sore and Jay had to help me every time I wanted to move. I could hardly even roll over without assistance. When I was awake I enjoyed looking at all my messages on FaceBook. As I have mentioned, Jay kept everyone update with my account and I had hundreds of comments to read. Reading each post was so encouraging. It made me literally feel that prayer bubble that our friends and family had created around me. I cried and laughed as I worked through the pages of them. It was therapy for my soul to see everyone who reached out to "touch" us during this journey. Thank you, thank you to each of you it made a world of difference for me to have you travel this road with us.
On Friday my nurse took my central line out of my neck. It felt great to have that big thing gone. Then on Saturday she took the chest tube out of my right side. I still could not take deep breaths, but it was a huge relief for it to be gone. The tube kept me awake at night because of the bubbles and it made my back hurt from being crammed in my chest. I will never miss having a chest tube. I was amazed at how well my incisions looked even right after surgery. I had one in my right groin on my bikini line. This one was for access to attach the CP Bypass or heart lung machine during surgery. I also had on small one on my right upper abdomen where the chest tube was inserted. My third one was of course under my right breast where they went in to do the actual surgery. It extended from my axilla to my sternum, Later I found a tiny one on my upper right chest. I guess it was for an instrument of some type. All the incisions except my chest tube where glued shut on the outside. There were no stitches or staples to see. Everyone was amazed as how well the incisions looked. I think we were all prepared for it to be ugly. I should have trusted Dr. Drinkwater because he had promised that it would look good.
On Sunday Dr. Drinkwater came in and discharged me home. I was so excited to get out of the hospital, but also very nervous. I didn't like the thought of not being attached to a heart monitor. It worried me that I had to pay attention to my symptoms and be in control if I didn't feel right. Instead of a wheelchair ride to the car I decided to count it as one of my walks for the day. Jay made several trips to the car with all our stuff. Then when the time came we waved good bye and walked to the car. It was an empowering moment for me. I just needed to know I could still do it.