It really is all worth it…
My neck and shoulders hurt the most right now. It’s from trying to not move my chest when I cough, as that hurts ALOT, and it’s from trying to do most of my body positioning in bed with my head and neck instead of my arms. See, you’re not allowed to lift anything over 10 lbs for like 4 weeks after open heart surgery.
Ten pounds isn’t much; it’s a cast iron frying pan, a back pack with a light laptop in it, a small bundle of clothes for the washer, a 2 qt saucepan with water in it, etc etc. You get the idea. Heck even the door of most businesses have to be opened by the handicap auto door opener thing right now. Of course your body is much more than ten pounds. One of the things they’re very strict about in the hospital is not using your arms to get into and out of bed. Try this at home. Make yourself get into and out of your bed without using arms or elbows; just cross them infront of your chest , and remember you can’t just crash down onto your back cuz your ribs have just been broken. Getting in is a bit easier cuz you can kind of lie sideways and roll, but getting out…it’s a bit of a job. The lower the bed, the harder it is too. My bed is just low enough that it causes me stress, but high enough that I don’t need help. I remember the days of sleeping on a futon though…man…
My chest wound is the next most painful. Its a constant numbing throb around the wound and about 2 inches to either side of it. Those of you who saw me in the hospital saw; it’s a big assed wound too. I’m starting to feel the breastbone heal, which is cool, but still quite painful. It feels like a bruise all around there, and I imagine it will start to look like one soon as well.
The broken ribs themselves only hurt if I happen to twist my rib cage, put undue stress on either arm, or cough or sneeze. But when they hurt, they hurt alot; my eyes generally water up when I cough, and I sneezed yesterday and almost fainted. The crappy thing about this is that I am supposed to cough, alot. It keeps the fluid out of the lungs and is good excercise and actually helps the rib break heal somehow. I have a little pillow that I hug and then I cough. It’s pretty hip if I’m out and about, my little red heart shaped huggy pillow hehe.
The arm wound doesn’t hurt so much unless I curve my wrist a certain way and there is pressure put on the bottom end of the wound. So I try not to do that much. The arm wound is by far the ugliest, but as I said, it hurts the least…just cuz the chest and the neck hurt so much. This is where they took the arteries from, and I can’t even express how glad I am it was the arm instead of the leg…I imagine that would be much more troublesome.
So here I sit. I wake up by 7 AM at the latest cuz the tylenols have worn off and everything hurts. I sleep in 3-4 hour groups, where I wake up in the middle and look around for something to ease my comfort. My left arm looks like Amy Winehouse after a particularly good weekend , and my right arm looks like something from a zombie movie. I’m melancholy in the morning cuz I know I have basically sitting around to look forward to until I go to bed and do it all over again. Of course there are the 19 pills I take everyday, which will go down to 15 in a couple days (they put so many fluids in you for the operation you need about a weeks worth of vitamins and diuretics to lose the extra 8kg or so you put on…maybe I’ll put up the picture of my super fat post surg toes in another blog post…it’s pretty funny).
But at the end of it all it’s all worth it. Everyday I see improvement in lung power and reduction in rib pain, and I am able to move further and further each day. The nurse said it was only the second time in her 23 year career that she saw someone be released from the hospital within 72 hours of that kind of surgery; so my healing curve may be fast (we’ll see how the bone break goes…). But most of all, the reason it’s worth it is that all these healing pains will end, but the angina wouldn’t have if I didn’t do this.