About a month and a half ago, I statred having chest pains and difficulty breathing. I had a cardiologist appointment coming up soon but my friend Betty convinced me to call for am earlier appointment. Once I explained my symptoms, I was given an immediate appointment, then a stress test, immediately followed by an appointment for a scope and possible angioplasty. I chose a hospital about two hours away instead of the local hospital. One reason is because the one further away is a teaching hospital connected to my insurance.
Annemarie and John drove me to the appointment. I was in twilight sleep and was partially aware of what was going on. After the scope, they brought me back to post-op, and Dr. Tomasko came in. “Bypass” was talked about, and another appointment was made.
John and Annemarie drove me again and Annemarie went in with me. She took notes while I asked questions. At one point the doctor was explaining that there would be a quadruple bypass and a possible closing of my Patent Foraman Ovale (PFO). They wouold put me on a heart/lung machine, stop my heart, and do the bypasses. I would be intubated until I was in ICU and was awakened a bit. While intubated, they would put a camera down my throat to do an echo. The external echos are blocked by ribs and lungs. The one they would do would be clearer.
As I was watching the pictures they took during the scope, I saw the worst blockage and glanced over at Annemarie. She glanced at me, but we said nothing.
Fast forward to surgery done on my uncle’s 97th birthday. Surgery was supposed to last about six hours, but lasted about eight. They decided to close the PFO because of problems it was causing to the aetrial wall. When Dr. Tomasko closed the PFO and closed the heart, the person watching the echo said, “It’s still there.” The surgeon had to go in and find the second PFO no one knew was there. One wasn’t so much of a problem because the blood was moving in the right direction. The second, hidden hole was helping to warp the aetrial wall and the blood was flowing in the wrong direction, increasing the possibly of a stroke. The blockage Annemarie and I didn’t comment on is called “the widow maker.” My dad died from that. My brother Scott survived, but with severe heart damage. I have no tissue damage whatsoever.
John is retired, but Annemarie is on partial leave because if foot surgery she had several months ago. The stayed in a hotel nearby, waited in the waiting room during my surgery. Annemarie fed me after surgery because I just didn’thave the energy. They stayed until I was released and took me to appointments.
The last day in the hospital, the nurse was walking me to the bathroom for a shower and I saw a cardinal on an air handling unit outside the window. He sat there and watched as we moved closer and turned into the bathroom. I know it was dad and/or mom watching over me.
My friend Ruth drove me to Camp Hill to my appointment with the P.A. when John and Annemarie had another meeting. The P.A. told me not to be a guy and pick at the bandage. I haven’t and a month later, it looks like this:
I can’t begin to tell my friends how grateful I am to them.
At the end of next week, I have an appointment with my cardiologist and hopefully he can clear me for driving, cardio rehab, and possibly to work from home part-time.
One month later, I’m getting some of my energy back. I can do more things for myself. I am depressed much of the time, but that is one of the side-effects of surgery. I’m able to handle that in various ways.
There’s only one thing missing that I can’t get past. My mom has been gone for four years and mentally was unable to take care of herself for several years before that, but I miss her coming in and asking if I need anything, if she can help with anything, reading to me, etc.
I was lucky I wasn’t like “most women” according to Dr. Tomasko, and ignored the symptoms. I am lucky to have some of the best people in the world around me.
Most of all. I am lucky my dad, mom, and brothers were watching over me.
Sorry to hear you went thru thus, bad glad it is turning out OK. Recovery takes much longer than we’d like! Thinking of you!! ❤️
You are an amazing ,strong, brave lady. I am so happy to read you are ok.
Sending you love ole friend. BB.