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.

Heart Surgery in 100 Words

I wanted to write about my experience of having heart surgery at 55. I’d been doing my best to ward it off. Clearly a failure!

I’ve always wanted to write. But committing to a post everyday and trying to make something interesting is always a challenge.

So I’ve decided to compromise.

I’ll write but each post will be no more than 100 words. That way, even if my writing sucks and you read it, you’ll only lose a few seconds of your life! Sound fair?

* This post, including this note, is only 99 words!

Recovery Run

img_0490Recovery runs are easy workouts that may flush out lactic acid build up, which can help prevent delayed onset of muscle soreness and speed up recovery. Something athletes do after a half marathon or marathon or during training to recover from high intensity sessions like intervals.

My runs at the moment are simply recovering from surgery.

Since The Big Day (17 July, the date of at the triple bypass) I’ve been slowly getting back to normal activity through walking and then stretching to longer walks and then more brisk walks.

At today’s parkrun at Yokine, Western Australia, I got into what I’d call normal running.

I started off walking and then decided to run a light pole, walk a light pole to see how I’d feel.

I certainly didn’t run the whole 5km today but towards the end of the run I felt that my cadence was coming back and the rhythm was feeling like something familiar.

Bypass image
Image courtesy of Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery

It’s still a bit “jumpy” where the surgeon took the two mammary arteries to use be, but certainly better then last week.

I also felt a tingling in my left thumb where the radial artery was taken from to help with the surgery.

The left arm is healing really nicely too, thanks to John Ranger, the guy who performed the suturing. He’s done an amazing piece of work.

It’s is almost nine weeks since the surgery and in terms of realising how after you’ve progressed, it’s more the things that don’t happen that make you realise its all coming together.

For example, just 3 or 4 weeks ago, my mammary arteries would cause a nerve tingling that was very aggravating. Now that’s completely gone! But you don’t realise it’s gone for a few days, if you know what I mean.

So, the progress is definitely there and just when you think something doesn’t look or feel right, it seems to go away.

I’ve never had heart surgery before (and hopefully never again) so I’m not really sure how this is supposed to go! But, so far so good!

Small Steps to Recovery

SmallSteps-811 There are three things I need to do in order to live a healthier life, and it’s not “rocket surgery!”
  1. Eat better – so my blood sugars are under control and ward off an acceleration into diabetes.
  2. Sleep better – to manage my family history of cardiovascular disease.
  3. Move better – to help with the above two points and get me back to some level of fitness and perhaps recommence ruing marathon distances.
To do this I can measure four things:
  1. Blood sugars – measure them every morning and keeping them below 6.0 where possible and below 5.5 if I can.
  2. Sleep quality – this is measure by a sleep apnea machine (ResMed Airsense 10 Elite) which shows me the number of AHIs each night (the lower the better)
  3. Movement – the number of steps take each day (target is 10,000) and the level of workout exercises I can increase on a regular basis.
  4. Weight – I am currently around 83kg but at 178cm in height I need to be 80kgs or below to a lower level of 78kg.
I have formal blood work to be completed next Monday so we’ll see what they tell us and how I am tracking with my diabetes in particular. Until then …