It has been over 3 1/2 months now since my by-pass surgery and the healing is progressing slowly and without any complications.
It was on evening of my birthday, that I was admitted to the General hospital Cardiac wing and prepped for surgery……..,weighted, catheterized and shaved, smeared with orange yellow stuff (iodopovidone or chlorhexidine) to prevent infection, on the chest, arms and leg areas.
The diagnosis, a few days earlier after the angiogram, showed that at least 4 arteries were partially blocked and 80% of the LAD (left anterior descending artery – it is the largest artery and carries 50% of the blood to the heart) Two branches were also blocked 70% in several places extending back into the left main.
I had no idea what it all meant but was told by my cardiologist and family members (who are in the medical profession) that it was a big concern. I agreed and surgery was scheduled for the next day.
Recalling the last six months of my health episodes, I now began to understand that the chest pressures I had felt with a sense of disorientation, had been due, not to my just being a 79 year old, but pointed to a definite deterioration of my blocked circular system. The blood supply to the heart was insufficient. I was ready for a heart failure.
It seems strange to me now, but I did not have a lot of nervousness around this decision. I knew the situation was bad and as I had prayed a few days before for the Lord to extend his grace to me, in my heart I was assured that all would be well.
The next morning early I was pushed up to the operating room. The surgeon and staff said ‘good morning’ and after being placed on the operation table asked me to put out my hand and placed something on my finger and that is the last I remember.
Woke hours later in the ICU. I was not very sore but extremely tired. My son visited me in ICU but I did not remember. After sometime, I think it was the next morning, the mouth respiration tube and catheter was removed and I was relocated to the cardiac general nursing department. I did not have much pain but was restricted to laying on my back, but was able to sit up to eat and carefully use the facilities. I could feel my chest sore and tiring soon but other than that I felt just weak and awkwardly limited as far as body movements.
It was Covid-19 time so family visitation was limited to 2 persons and every other day, so I spent a lot of time by myself. However I did not mind as I wanted to get my strength back and go home as soon as possible.
After a couple of days I could get out of bed and walk around and was told if I could walk a fair distance by myself I would be discharged. So 5 days after my surgery I was released and driven home by my brother-in-law.
Since my wife was home, I had instant help and I needed it. As I had not taken a shower since my surgery I needed help with washing myself.
My leg was swollen and still sore. My chest was delicate and sensitive to movement, so I needed to be careful what I could eat and swallow. My home made meals were such a pleasure compared to the hospital meals. I never did get the drift of ordering what I liked while in hospital as every day there was the choice of a different menu.
I now had to be careful that nothing too big stuck in my throat. I would easily panic due to the limited movement of my sore chest. Especially when I needed to cough, I was taught to use a pillow pressed to my chest to lessening the pain it caused as my chest expanded.
I started to walk in the house a few times a day for 10 minutes or so and ventured outside down the street the following week. I felt good, happy and glad to be home. It was summertime and the weather was perfect.
The surgical area had a large incision right across the middle down my chest and I had a large scar on my leg from my calf to my groin area. All of this is still very visible after 3 months and occasionally I will apply some ointment to medicate the raw feeling of the scar tissue.
In a month or so we will celebrate Christmas and I look forward to perhaps being able to do a lot more than now.
Covid-19 lock downs and just being very careful with going about in public has certainly left me at home a lot. Although the feeling that days are somewhat blending into each other; Today is Friday? No, that was yesterday; is very real to me.
I check my mail box and have not found a hospital bill as yet. Eh. Canada.
I am also reminded of the Carolyn W. Gillette hymn** (tune version ‘There’s a wideness in God’s Mercy’)
God whose will is health and wholeness, hear your people as we pray:
Many now are facing illness; more face sickness every day.
As we lift our song toward heaven, may we use the gifts you give —
Science, justice, and compassion — to help others safely live.
Jesus taught that your commandments call for us to use the mind.
May we use the gifts of science to seek health for humankind.
Bless the ones who work for healing; bless the ones who seek to be
Builders of a health care system that protects society.
God, you call for love and justice, yet our laws are far from wise:
Many don’t have good insurance; lack of health care threatens lives.
Many workers must keep working, sick or not, to pay the bills.
Turn us round when we have sanctioned greed that leads to greater ills.
Loving God, we ask your blessing on the sick and those they love,
And we pray for those now grieving as they lift their cries above.
There is trouble all around us; illness causes pain and fear.
Give compassion, love and kindness as we serve your people here.