Monday, March 14, 2016

Open Heart Surgery

Open Heart Surgery - On Sunday I had felt two or three times a sense of heaviness and pressure in the upper left area of my chest. I dismissed the discomfort as it went away in a minute or so. The same pressure and discomfort came back Monday and again it went away and I put it out of my mind. Tuesday evening I fed our dogs and sat down and the discomfort returned. An hour later as I was putting on my sleep pants and shirt the heaviness and discomfort returned. As this was the third day I sensed something might be seriously wrong. I checked my heart rate and it was over 130, A call to my middle daughter, who is a nurse, sent me to the closest hospital. Blood tests indicated a possible clot. As the hospital was not equipped to deal with such a problem I was on my by ambulance to a Cardiac and Vascular Hospital.

I arrived at Saint Vincent's around one in the morning. I was immediately set up on all of the monitors and more blood work gave the same clot indications. Later that morning I was taken to the heart cath unit for testing that would show blocked arteries. The test showed four  blockages. One blockage was minor, the other three were blocked between 70 - 90%. The cardiac surgeon called them a, Widow Maker. Blood thinners and clot busters were started and a scan still indicated a blood clot present in my groin.

The following morning I was taken into surgery. I had plenty of time to think seriously about my life and future. I can honestly say I was not afraid of dying. I knew my life was eternal because of Jesus. Moments later I could hear my lovely grand-daughter crying. A blink of the eye later I panicked as the breathing tubes were pulled out. The next few hours were fog and sleep. That evening, with my entire family around me the surgeon came in the room. He told me that everything went well and I should make a full and complete recovery. Five days later I was released and came home.

I had done very well in my recovery and was gaining strength each day. The day after returning home I was experiencing debilitating weakness and could not move without help. My blood pressure had dropped to 73/41 and I was passing large amounts of blood. I was back in the hospital and it was determined that the blood thinners and clot busters had brought on internal bleeding, either in my stomach or upper colon.

Three days later I was back home. Today I am feeling so much better and very thankful. I want to share a few observations from my experience. Listen to your body and do not put off what can be very life changing decisions. Face the facts and be brave. Hold on to your spiritual foundations. Without Christ I do not know how I would have gotten through.

Of great importance was, and is my family. My wife was by my side and dealt with her own fears. My children were there with smiles and love. The power of those who we love, and who love us must never be minimized or discounted.

A special Thank You to Cardiac Thoracic Surgeon, Dr. Hashmi. He is a wonderful man filled with gentleness and using his gifted hands to restore life and purpose.