I am home! I have a whole new set of prescriptions (no more coumadin, but now I am on plavix and aspirin), and it has taken a couple of days for the morphine to leave my system and I have lost track of the days.

There are marks all over my body that remind me of what has happened: the “W’s” on my feet that the pre-op nurse marked me with, and all the sticky adhesive marks on my body from the EKG and telemetry stickers, now turning gray (ugh, yes, with collected grime)…and most of all, the entry point of the catheter, a very tender incision on my body, where the doctor wove the amplatzer device through my veins to my heart. And if I move suddenly or if I bend down, I can feel the device in my heart, a stabbing and sharp reminder that takes my breath away and makes me feel very vulnerable. I mean, yesterday I sneezed and I swear it moved the implant. I swear to not sneeze again for a week!

It feels very strange to ask someone to pick up something when I drop a fork or pen on the floor, when I know it is something very simple I ought to do myself. But I can’t–bending down takes my breath away. And it feels very strange to ask someone to carry something that weighs 10 pounds ore more, because I’m just not allowed to carry any weight. It feels strange to have to hold my groin when I laugh, because every chuckle and cough makes me feel like my incision is about to explode! And it feels very strange to excuse myself to go for a nap and to just feel very very tender overall.

But for all that, I am mobile and feel very good. No running or exercise, or any vigorous activity–just allowed to move about the house, really. Eventually, my heart will develop scar tissue around the implant and hold it steady.

The most annoying part of my recovery was in the hospital where I was on strict bedrest–flat on my back, not allowed to my my legs or lift my head, for hours and hours. And those hours were extended because I developed a bleed at my incision (btw, at my groin, so I got to flash a lot of people my privates–niiiice. And the nurses spent a lot of time applying pressure to my said groin. Thank goodness I was on morphine to deafen the humiliation).

So–more hours flat on my back. Which meant getting to know the bedpan very well, ick. YOU try peeing while flat on your back, knowing your bladder is bursting full but not being able to pee, so you just lie there and stare at the ceiling and pray to pee, and try to imagine a rushing stream, and you ask your nurse to run the water, and still you can’t pee.

But now I am home–getting better day by day. I’m weirdly disconnected from the world, not helped by the fact that my main email address is not working at all. I think this is not a bad thing–to get some rest and be shielded from the world.

But the hole is closed! And I’m very glad for that. My doctor came by to check in on me and shook my hand during my stay at the hospital–“You had atrial fibrillation during the procedure–but we were really tickling your heart so it was not entirely unexpected…and you talked to us the whole time…”

Uh. I barely heard the atrial fibrillation part–instead I blurted out, “WHAT DID I SAY??!”

And now–it’s time to nap again. Bye.



Filed under Life, The Stroke

21 responses to “Discharged

  1. So glad to hear you are home and doing well! Rest up, take it easy โ€” no need to feel guilty or strange about being taken care of for a while, it’s just to help you heal.
    Here’s to a speedy recovery!

  2. Andrew

    Somebody has to say it:

    Did you sing “There’s a hole in my heart that can only be filled by you” to your surgeon before you went under?

    (Sorry, I know you said laughing hurts!)

  3. such wonderful news! i am so glad you are home and recovering.

  4. elizabeth: yes definitely hoping for a speedy recovery! i keep reaching for things and then realizing, “Oh crap. That’s way too heavy. I can’t lift that.”

    Andrew: hilarious! No I did not think of it–and they injected me with morphine and versed before I could say hello to my doctor that morning! In fact, the nurse said “Dr. W—- just walked in, he’s here!” as she pushed the morphine into me, loopy as I already was on IV pushed Benadryl and Xanax. (How many more drugs did they give me? Versed. It took me all weekend to get back down to earth)!

    Oh. But it would have been AWESOME to have sung that.

    lgt: I am glad to be home too. ahhhh. nothing like my own bed.

  5. Glad you’re home and that your heart is no longer broken ๐Ÿ™‚ Why didn’t they leave the catheter in so you wouldn’t have to use a bedpan? They left mine in for 24 hours after my surgery.

  6. Oh–the catheter was not for urinating–it was in a major big vein in my leg/groin area. That’s how they fed the implant, up the veins in my body, into my heart, without having to slice open my chest.

  7. I am glad you are back and everything went as normal as it did. I wish they would have taped that surgery for a number of reasons. At least you would know what you said – which probably didn’t make sense to anyone except maybe yourself. Before long, you will be better than your old self!

  8. Kit

    Wishing you a very quick recovery. It’s so weird to be dependant on other people for the small things every day. Thanks for stopping by my blog, it’s great to meet you.

  9. I was wondering the same catheter question because I think we all immediately associate that with pee.

    Very glad you’re back and doing okay. I hope you’re well cared for. I hope you feel wonderful sooner than later. And I was told that as I was coming out of anesthesia after having my wisdom teeth removed in 1987 I was singing and praising God.

    my dentist got a little ego swell from that. heh.

    Be on the way to on the mend and take it easy. much love.


  10. ChaEsq

    Welcome home! I can’t help thinking and hoping that all these small things (eventually small things, that is) will be funny someday: “Uh, could you pick that up for me?” “Pick it up yo’self!”

    What is the “w” for? And did the morphine make you sick?

    When I was in to get my appendix taken out, the nurses wanted me to not move either and tried to get me to pee in a bedpan. I was having none of it, and I buzzed the nurses’ station over and over and over (in the middle of the night, no less) to make someone come and walk me to the bathroom. Needless to say, I was happily discharged one day early. Happiness. Enjoy your vertical peeing.

    Welcome home.

  11. Leroy: I am pretty glad they did NOT tape it, actually! I would be horrified at how vulnerable I was.

    Kit: it’s good to meet you too!

    christine: yep–the catheter was an angiocath–not the same as a urinary catheter. ๐Ÿ™‚ (would be pretty hard to feed an implant device up one’s bladder!) hee. I don’t remember singing, really I hope I wasn’t singing!

    ChaEsq: You are such a stalwart patient! It really does suck to go in a bedpan, and kudos to you to get the nurses to do their job. ๐Ÿ™‚ In my case, I really wasn’t allowed to stand up–I would have been better off peeing in my bed on my sheets, than to stand up and open my wound and dislodge my heart implant.

    Needless to say, I am very much relieved to be peeing vertical now. It’s amazing how the psyche is linked that way.

  12. Tea

    I am so happy to hear that you are home and that everything went well! It must be such a relief to have this in the past now, and a brighter, less worry-filled future.

    But I hear you, it’s hard not to be able to do things for yourself. Wish I could come over and life those over 10 pound things for you:-)

    And when I had my wisdom teeth out they gave me a piece of paper to write notes on, as I was coming out from the drugs, because my mouth was filled with cotton and I wasn’t supposed to speak.

    Oh, I wrote on itโ€”words from three different languages all in the same sentence. No one could tell what on earth I was trying to say!

    Sending hopes for fast healing.

  13. Then they should have given you TWO catheters! One for pee! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. w

    What did you say?

    Lady, I am so glad you’re recuperating well. Wish I could be there to bring you books. Hm… how about I send them instead? If you are game to accumulating more books, send me you address when your e-mail is working. Sending you much love and good vibes.

  15. Tea: Did you keep that piece of paper?! It is amazing what our frantic subconscious does under stress. It is really weird, living life with these strange limitations. Grocery shopping is not a real possibility, for instance…unless i go to buy a bunch of paper towels. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Bustopher: Oh–no thank you to the urinary catheter! I have never had one, but I have seen enough patients who have had them and HATE them to avoid them.

    w: I have no idea what I did say–my doctor politely sidestepped the question by answering, “You know, EVERYONE responds by saying that they wish they knew what they said!” Which of course, makes me further wonder what the HELL I SAID that he could NOT repeat or summarize. Either it was VERY normal chitchat or something very outrageous.

    Sheeit. Anyway–thank you for your good wishes.

    I send you all great wishes back! May all your love boomerang.

  16. RC

    I’m glad you are home & recovering OK!

  17. I am so glad you are home. Thank goodness.

    Re: making other people do stuff for you – I know how difficult that is. I was always SO self-sufficient before my own surgery. But the consequences of damaging the surgery site are so great that I know you will keep on following directions. Please let people care for you and tend to you. Your courage and willpower and strength are already on the record.

    Take care, Jade. I am so glad to hear from you.

  18. ChaEsq: p.s. the W were to mark that my pulse was weak, apparently.

    leonessa: Well I am spending the day on the couch today. It’s driving me nuts but I guess that’s what I’ll do!

    RC: We’ll hang out soon!

  19. Oh my…you’ve been through so much! I have been so disconnected and haven’t been reading any of my blogs (or even updating my own) that I am out of the loop. I’ve missed so much. I am wishing you well!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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