Ideas and concepts to bring balance in my life.

Post surgery

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All done

After five hours in surgery they moved me to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

I knew she was there

Coming round and still under the anaesthetic, I was mindful enough to know that I had made it! I could sense she was there at my side. My wife, my life partner, the one I couldn’t 100% promise to come back to before surgery but she was there.

Coming round

As I started to come round I could glimpse lights, perhaps hear voices but then the comfort of the remaining anesthetic would take me away again. Then I stirred again and my mental consciousness kicked in. All I sense was a weight on my chest and arms and I couldn’t swallow.

If I had been able to look down on myself at that point I would have seen the mass of tubes and wires that connected me to various other tubes, fluids and machines.

The theatre team had inserted a breathing tube down my throat. There were IV lines in my neck, connected directly to my heart and then also lines out of my wrists. I had a pacemaker connected up to my heart from wires inserted lower down in my chest (“jump leads” for easy access should they need to separately control it again).

Fighting back

Once the anaesthetic was wearing off from the procedure, the Intensive Care team tried to remove the breathing tube from my throat. At this time all I can feel is a heavy pressure on my chest, like as though someone was sitting on my throat, and I was so thirsty, so desperate for water.

I put it down to being in pain and disoriented but when the Nurses tried to remove the breathing the first time, I think I panicked and resisted, fighting against the gloved hands holding me down. I was not fully conscious or could even hear what people were saying and apparently I resisted so much that they had to restrain my hands and sedate me.

I am embarrassed still as I write this in retrospect...

Later, they were successful and I was able to breathe on my own again. The tiny sip of iced water that followed was heavenly.

The need to pee!

With every drop you take in, it has to come out! They hydrate you ahead of the procedure in order to protect your body, filling your body with fluids for the long time laid out on the operating table.

I remember my bladder being on fire as I started to come to my senses and I just wanted to pee. I even tried spelling out the letter “p” to my wife in her hand so that she could translate for me!

In the end the nurses understood me and told me to “go for it!” (They had fitted a catheter in surgery) A moment of pleasure in the all the pain I can tell you!

Every four hours

Just when the pain eases a little so you can get comfortable, they wake you..

In recovery I remained connected to all the machines. The pipes from all parts of my body were draining excess fluids to three containers at the side of the bed, my chest supporting the plastic tubing and valves. Then there were the electrical cables to the machines that stood next to the bed on both sides.

Electric monitoring one side of you, draining pipes the other.

Every four hours they opened the various valves and I could feel the warmth of my own fluids emptying from the body cavities and running across my chest and legs through the tubes. A peculiar feeling when you figure out what is actually happening, but It’s a good job that it all happens under your gown and you can’t see it in action most of the time.

The drugs

The pills, injections and blood samples seem endless. The nurses are great though as they explain what each one is for; even though you’re in no mental state to challenge one way or the other.

They control your pain, your heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, electrolytes balance alongside giving you diuretics and laxatives to restart your bodily functions and to off board all the pumped fluids.

They ask you to rate the pain on a scale of 1-10 before each time they give you something.

I found it odd to score that one. I knew pain from other moments, but this was like a constant ache, a weighty pressure, a stabbing cramp across your whole body that meant that no lying position was comfortable.

Sometimes I felt burning in my leg and this was a strange distraction from all the aching. The burning sensation was from the three incisions up the length of my left leg, each about three inches long, stapled together with wire and from where they removed the veins to transplant to my heart and so complete the “bypass” around my blocked vessels.

To complete my quadruple bypass they had removed an artery in my chest to transplant to the arterial bypass.

But the pain relief was effective and some moments later I could feel the pressure wash away from my body and the burning cool down in my leg.

And then I would drift back to sleep again, whispering “I love you” to my wife, still by my side and feeling guilty for the long hours that she sat there.

A few hours of peace before the nursing team were back...

Sunday October 25th, 2020
Tuesday October 20th, 2020


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