I originally posted this to my blog (TamraGarcia.blogspot.com) on October 28, 2013.
After a little over a week long stay in the hospital for surprise heart surgery, I was sent home to recover in as much comfort as one's own home can provide. The release date had been changed twice due to complications with my disobedient heart. But the day finally came and I was on my way home!
I was put in a wheelchair and sped at almost a running pace down to the valet parking area. You should have seen my husband trying to keep up with this guy; I swear he thought it was a race or something. Once in the car, I sat in the front seat with my trusty heart pillow between my chest and the seatbelt. Every little bump on the way home was a reminder of how fragile and uncomfortable I was.
Once home, I was excited to search for the "cherry" spot. Everyone who has ever been sick or injured knows what I am talking about. There is one spot in the house, be it a spot on the couch, your desk, bed, etc., that you find the most wondrously comfortable and will rarely leave until you are well again. It took a little while, but I found that there isn't a cherry spot for me this time. My body has been through so much, and the fact hat I can't sit ( or lay) in one spot for very long makes it impossible to have just one good spot. I found that there are several OK spots, but no cherry spot.
The half hour trip home, plus the flu shot they gave me just before I left the hospital, left me exhausted by time I got home. I fell asleep on the couch, but not for long. I can't sleep for more than two hours at a time since the surgery. I get too achy and wake up and have to get up and move around.
One of the first things I swore I would do as soon as I got home was to take a real shower. They told me I could as long as I didn't use hot water and I didn't spray directly on my incision sights. And I had to be sure to dry the sights thoroughly. I got all prepared and stepped into the shower only to find that the act of removing my clothing and stepping into the shower exhausted me too much to stand and bathe. I have to wait for my mom to bring me a shower chair before I can take a real shower. So I have been taking sponge baths (more thorough ones than at the hospital) in the mean time.
My daily routine is simple, I wake up, check my weight (they need me to do this so they can check for signs of water retention and other things), take my temperature (again to check for signs of bad things), check my blood sugar (diabetic), take my meds, eat breakfast, do my breathing exercises (that toy thing I talked about in previous posts), check the interwebs (Facebook, e-mail, twitter, blogger, etc.), then the rest of the day is pretty much a go-with-the-flow kind of thing.
Night time is the only time I don't look forward to. I am so tired but I just can't sleep. I lay on the bed and fall asleep for two hours or so, then wake up feeling achy and have to get up and move around. I move to my desk chair with my legs up on the bed and sleep like that for an hour or two, then wake up with a numb booty and feet and have to get up and move around. I move to the couch and sleep for a couple hours, then the cycle continues. It is frustrating to say the least. And I feel so bad because my movement wakes up my husband, disturbing his rest.
Healing from heart surgery is serious business. It will be months before I am anywhere near "back to normal". They cut through a lot of muscle and bone to get to my heart, and then bypassed three arteries on my heart. Then they sewed me all back together and I have to heal it all up. This is why I have close to zero energy; every ounce of energy my body has is going to healing up my new arteries and the muscle and bone they cut through. I am on all kinds of medication. Even though I am exhausted it is important that I get some exercise a few times a day (walking), and even though it is difficult to stay asleep, I must try to get a good amount of rest. I have to check my incisions daily to make sure they are not becoming infected or healing too slowly. And I have to be aware of my overall health and how I feel. If I were to catch a cold or get an infection of any kind right now, it could be devastating.
I have been home for four days now and am feeling a little better every day. I do as the doctor has instructed and try not to over exert myself. That is the hard part. I am so independent that it is difficult to let others do simple things for me. My mother-in-law comes over to help out and she is so nice to do so, but I just find myself feeling so weird letting her take my dishes to the kitchen or picking things up off the floor for me, or helping me to sit up from a laying position because I’m too damned weak to lift myself. Well, that last part isn’t quite true, I am strong enough, but am under doctor’s orders to not use my arms or chest muscles, so it is very awkward to get up from a laying position without using your arms or chest.
I am sure very soon I will be feeling so much better and actually be able to sleep through the night. I will be writing more updates as the weeks go by.