Well… I survived the surgery. Thank God! I’m a few hours short of seven days since I first woke up in ICU. I’m still under the influence of pain medication so this post will be short.
I’ve improved everyday since the surgery. The doctors, nurses, and therapist have all told me they are amazed by my progress. I don’t know how truthful they are but after having so many people tell me how well I’m doing–I’m believeing it. On the day of surgery they rushed me through prep thinking I was going to go in early. In the end though, it ended up being about 90 minutes or more later than scheduled. After surgery, I woke up in ICU at 9 p.m. and by 6 a.m. the next day they were ready to move me to the Cardio Vascualar wing. I heard this is incredibily quick. It turned out though that I stayed in ICU until about 6:30 in the evening because they didn’t have a room available for me.
The first couple of days were painful! So tired. So weak. I had gone about a day and a half without food so I ate the first meal completely but after that, it took a lot of effort to eat anything. They have you up and moving pretty quickly and I didn’t mind that part but getting in and out of bed really hurt.
I think I overachieved a bit on day one after surgery so on day two I was feeling the effects. Extremely tired and it didn’t take long for me to be short of breath. Day two in the hospital was probably the hardest of them all. There are some things about undergoing CABG that cannot be described. It’s kinda like basic training in the military–until you do it, you really don’t know what it’s like.
On Sunday, I think my surgeon would have let me go home if I could have managed a bowel movement. I’m not sure but I think it would have been the shortest stay after Triple Bypass known to anyone at the hospital. By then, I was walking 1500 feet at each walk and did this at least three times during the day. This is the day they told me I didn’t have to eat hospital food and not only that I could eat ANYTHING I want. I’ve never tasted a McDonald’s cheeseburger that ever tasted better! This became my staple food for the rest of my stay in the hospital.
Between midnight and 8:00 a.m. on Monday I walked two sessions of 3000 feet. Thanks to some extra help of meds I had several bowel movements since the day prior. Now, the walking distances I’m telling you about may not seem impressive but their expectation of patients in recovery is three laps of 500 per day. Before my 10 a.m. release on Monday I had two six lap sessions! Yes, when I finish I’m breathing a little hard but not gasping for air and I recovered from each walk pretty quickly. I didn’t actually measure it but I’d say within two minutes I was breathing normal again. Heart rate never exceeded the low 100’s and was usually in the high ninties.
I was home before lunch on Monday and I was so ready to take a shower in my own home! I was still sore and stiff but much improved from Friday and Saturday. I can’t raise my arms over my head so I still need help in the shower. My wife has taken the next two weeks off since I can’t be left alone and she’s a trooper. I have my moments and I can be a real crab sometimes but she puts up with me. 🙂 I was looking forward to getting into a routine but it hasn’t quite happened yet. On Tuesday I had my first visit with a Home Care Nurse and on Wednesday I had a visit from a physical therapist. My follow-up with the surgery got moved up so now the Home Care Nurse is coming back today to check on me and to draw blood for tests the Surgeon needs at my follow-up.
I would call Wednesday the first day of my next training phase. I expect this cycle will run until the end of August at least and will consist of mostly walking my way back up to running again. Probably sometime in July I’ll begin Cardio Rehab which will consist of some exercises and light weights to help my build up my strength.
There you have it. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone for sure but I’m oh so grateful that my recovery is starting out so well. I’ve been warned to expect some depression to sink in at some point so I’ll be on the lookout for that. I have been overwhelmed with love, support, encouragement from so many friends and family. I’m very blessed and thank God for everything he has given me.
I’ll try to post again sometime during the first part of next week so you’ll have an update on my recovery/walking results. Thanks for reading!