Recovery begins …

I’m not sure if it was the drugs but the ICU doc sounds awfully like my GP, Todd. I hear him speaking to others in ICU and wonder if Todd has been moonlighting here. I’m trying to catch a glimpse of him but just can’t manage it.

Finally he gets to me and it’s not Todd (unsurprisingly really). His name is John Lewis and he has an Intern and Registrar with him.

He’s here to give me an update on my progress.

“You’re flying!” he says, “It’s going well.” He explains that being so young (55) has its advantages. “You may feel it more but you’ll recover quicker than if you were 75 or 85.”

It gives me some confidence and the day seems better, not just for the diagnosis, but the guy is very upbeat and positive and it rubs off.

I should be out of ICU and in a ward within 24 hours.

Well, we laughed…

With the “panic” the nurse had me in with the AF it was quite the opposite with the next nurse. I asked, timidly, afraid of the answer, if my heart had settled down somewhat.

She said that AF was almost expected after a heart operation.

I conveyed my concerns about it being the end of my life and if the family were going to be called in to say goodbye. (Hey, it felt real to me!)

Well, she laughed and calmed me down. Explaining a bit about AF and, “No, your family has not been called and don’t be so silly!”

I felt a bit stupid but very much relieved.

I began to concentrate on the tubes going into my body. Three into my stomach, the one in my neck and this box that I was connected to with wires being stuck to me on the outside.

Recovery

1:16am. Wednesday, 18 July.

The high heart rate is Atrial Fibrillation.

The nurse seems in a bit of a panic but it could also be that I’ve just come out of a very long sleep.

Nurse: Your heart rate is very erratic!

Me: Huh?

N: Can’t you feel it?

Me: Er, no.

I try and control my breathing to get my heart under control. No luck! It’s bouncing around 120-130 bpm.

Having never been in this situation before I begin to wonder how serious this is. The nurse is acting like it is very serious.

I wonder: is this the time they bring the family in to say goodbye?

Back to the story…

It’s now July 17. I only remember up until 7:00am or thereabouts. That was when they collected me from the ward to be wheeled in to surgery.

The anaesthetist had a chat with me while a nurse did her thing with my arm.

It’s now 1:00am July 18.

Lost a whole day.

So, what happened:

FBH and Son were together waiting for a call from surgeon around 12:30pm.

Not being able to wait, FBH called the hospital.

“Sorry, he’s still in surgery.”

A little panic ensues. Shouldn’t he be out now?

1:00pm surgeon calls. All done. Pretty straight forward. He’ll be fine.

The stress on the FBH and Son hits and they cry in relief.

The family visits when allowed and I’m in ICU. See above picture. (FBH didn’t know Daughter was taking photo.)

I’m told when you’re in a coma you can still hear people.

I didn’t feel her hand on mine. I wish I had.

I don’t hear them come or go.

Next thing I know, it’s 1:16am and the nurse is fussing.

Something about heart rate being too high!

6 month-aversary

This time 6 months ago I was prepping for surgery.

A full body shave (apologies for the mental image). Showering with antiseptic soap (again, apologies).

Eating hospital food (I get the apology this time)!

Six months later I’m back at work full time.

I’ve started running again.

I’m also doing so broader exercises – failing but trying (I’m looking at you skipping!)

But the realisation did hit me this morning. And it was a bit emotional.

It hit me that 6 months have passed and I’m back on deck.

Life did, indeed, go on.

I cannot be more grateful for the FBH and my family.

I am also very grateful for my employer (e.g. Flick, Kyles and Darren) who kept in touch and helped me transition back into work life.

And then there is the Dog, Django. My walking partner for the last 6 months who’s walks were quite short in the beginning but now are back to normal.

The Sleep Study

If heart surgery wasn’t enough, I’m booked in for a sleep study. This is to see if I have sleep apnea, which could also affect my heart so may as well get everything looked at.

(Quite) a few forms to fill in.

(Quite) a few: are you allergic to anything? What is your name and date of birth?

Then all the wires being attached while the nurse makes small talk. Pleasant enough.

Not sure how I’m going to sleep wired up like the bionic man!

Next morning: apparently I did sleep, but not too well according to the results.

July 14

Another birthday …

Monday, July 9 was my son’s birthday. Friday is the FBH’s. We plan a dinner at La Capannina’s in Scarborough.

Dinners with the family are one of my favourite events, whether it’s a birthday or not. So, after the couple of week’s we’ve had, we are looking forward to this more than ever.

It’s a wonderful night celebrating Her birthday. She is spoilt for gifts. The kids throw love at Her like it’s going out of fashion.

We stay overnight at the Rendezvous Hotel. A great way to end the week and chill before the week ahead.

Friday, 13 July