So how to prepare for open-heart surgery? Well, there isn't much that you can do. It's out of your hands. If you're a control freak like I am, the best way to prepare is to watch some YouTube videos of the actual surgery. I have to say: it's not for the faint of heart (no pun intended). Just Google 'Open heart surgery,' and you'll be presented with enough videos about the subject. The most intense part to watch, in my opinion, is cutting the breastbone in half. Other than that, it's pretty benign. Maybe the moment your heart stops beating could be scary as well.
Surgery will be on Tuesday, August 6th, at 13:30 hr. I had a pretty decent night's sleep. The nurse asked that night if I needed something to calm me down, but I was pretty tranquilo myself. No need for drugs yet.
At 11:00 AM, the nurse came into my room, telling me surgery was about to take place. My surgeon was ahead of schedule and could start with me at 11:30 AM. I got dressed into this OR apron and got this little hairnet, although I'm entirely shaven. Oh well. So next up is the transport to the holding room. The holding is an area where all the patients go before heading into the OR. It was pretty busy and hectic! All these beds with patients in the same outfit. OR personnel all over the place explaining what to expect. I was up next.
Once in the OR, my anaesthesiologist explained in detail what the procedure entailed. Since this was bypass surgery, It would be general anaesthesia, meaning they sedate me through an infusion in the wrist. I had to breath into this oxygen cap, and right before I went in full sedation, I could see the digits of the OR clock in front of me. The time was 11:59 AM. Then I fell asleep.
The moment you wake up is exceptional. My first thought: I made it. I tried wiggling my toes and fingers. It made me feel alive. Soon after I opened my eyes, I fell asleep again. This process would repeat itself several times during the night. The second time I woke up, my nurse was standing next to me: sir, sir, it's 11:00 PM. I could see a lot of activity in front of me. It looked like I was watching a fishbowl. All these nurses behind a glass wall watching monitors of their patient. My nurse came every hour to check up on me, give me medication, cleaning tubes that were sticking out of my body, and emptying all kinds of bags with fluids.
I still had this breathing tube down my throat, and two drains were coming out of my belly. A catheter in my bladder and two infusions, one in my hand and one in my neck, completed all the stuff that was attached to my body — not a pleasant feeling or sight.
The first thing they yanked out was the breathing tube. I was surprised how far down my throat, this thing was. It was an unpleasant feeling, but since I was on heavy pain medication, I didn't feel something.
I slipped into a sleep every hour or so. I couldn't stay awake, and I slowly could see the sunrise through the big windows of the IC. In the early morning, I got a shave from the nurse. They cleaned me up a bit and told me that they are going to move me to the regular nursing ward. I sign my recovery was going well. I wasn't in much pain except when I had to cough. Since my breastbone was cut open and I still had a big zipper on my chest, coughing was extremely painful. I was advised to push a towel against the wound, but I couldn't find any relief in doing so. I instead pushed both hands against my chess to create some backpressure.
Not sure what time it was when I woke up in the nursing ward. I was the only one in the room since I had an empty bed next to me. Rather nice as
I didn't feel like talking to some strangers about what happened. I was in enough pain. It is time for recovery.
To be continued.