Doing the Cha-Cha

This is what post-hospital life feels like without the eye candy of a young Val Kilmer.

Every hour it seems is one step forward, one step back. Sometimes two steps forward, two steps back. And just for fun, every now and then the Universe says “back to square one, no progress for you!” Those are my favorite hours.

Here’s a wrap up of the fun since discharge:
– I’ve gained 10+ pounds in water weight and am now sporting some stylish cankles and a spare tire
– I’m still finding random bruise marks from various IVs, shots, chest tubes
– I can’t stand up straight yet to save my life (so needless to say my back is killing me)
– My bedside table looks like a hollywood starlet’s (but I’m not naming names)

Now to get real for a second.

This fucking sucks.

I didn’t not properly anticipate the full body pain from this experience. It feels like someone ripped my body to pieces and then tried to put it back together but failed, like that girl in the Nightmare Before Christmas. Before surgery, I had no clue how every small motion can somehow be traced back to your core (and subsequently your sternum). Now, I’m reminded every second.

The pain is somewhat being managed by prescription narcotics, but there are still these random flare ups where the pain will shoot up to a 5 or 6 on the pain scale. For reference, before surgery I would describe my worst migraines as a 3 or 4 on the pain scale and my normal daily life was a 0. Since last Wednesday, my pain has yet to fall below a 3.

Yesterday, one fun thing was some visual effect which was like a colorless aurora in my peripheral field of vision. Lunch time it happened in my left eye, dinner time in my right. Both times it prevented me from taking a walk. Then mid-afternoon, I had a spike in pain in my throat/esophagus. It was if I had major acid reflux (which I’ve never had and can only assume what it feels like). But every swallow turned into anticipation of a burp, hiccup, and/or future pain and eventually just ensured I was miserable for most of the day.

Oh, and the walks that I’m taking so far are more like Bill Murray’s baby steps in What About Bob? slowed down a few thousand frames per second. So far, I’m only taking laps around the lobby and I’ve maxed out at three, roughly 11 minutes. Any NYC grandma could lap my ass twice before I even noticed. 😉

Okay, all this to say that this is hard, but I’m a hard worker. Today is only my third day home from the hospital, so I know not to expect miracles, but I definitely didn’t expect it to be this hard and I just wanted to share that revelation with you.



  1. Laura T.

    Summer – Thinking of you. I’m sorry you are in so much pain. My father-in-law had a valve replacement done less than a year ago and the pain will pass. You are doing great and I LOVE your posts. Thanks for keeping us up to date!

  2. Lee Lee

    Sorry you are in so much pain. Hang in there baby….keep taking those baby steps. Your references to movies and such are so comical, at least you still have your sense of humor. I am always thinking of you!
    Love, Lee Lee

  3. Tricia McKinney

    I hope it at least makes you feel a little better knowing so many of us are thinking about you and wishing we could ease your pain. Thanks for taking the time/strength to keep us in the loop.

  4. Laura

    What Tricia said.

  5. Alma Mater

    Wow! I am so grateful for blogs like these, because it gives a real picture of what this is going to be like, and helps to prepare! I am awaiting mitral valve surgery next month, and want to be as prepared as possible.

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