SPOILER ALERT: there are no zombies in this post.
Today is officially the four week mark since my open heart surgery. It feels like both forever and yesterday at the same time.
So what have the last four weeks been like? Well, as you already know atrial fibrillation and PVCs had starring roles in weeks two and three, but all has been quiet on the electrical front as of late. Unfortunately, there seems to be no shortage of other complications to take their place.
The complication of the day is now nausea thanks to my valiant efforts to decrease my reliance on Percocet. Apparently it’s common knowledge to doctors (but not to first time surgical patients like myself) that Percocet stays in my bloodstream for approximately six hours for a whole pill, three hours for a half pill. As I’ve been trying to wean myself back from full pills to half pills, I haven’t been paying attention to how my eating habits matched up with my pill popping schedule. And in there lies the crux of the problem. Percocet suppresses my appetite and allows the acid in my stomach to build up. This makes me nauseous but then hungry at the same time after it’s gone on long enough. Let me tell you, being hungry and nauseous at the same time is not a feeling I would wish on my worst enemy. Needless to say, we finally figured out what was going on and the solution is to eat fifteen minutes before taking a pill and subsequently taking the pills on a fixed schedule to prevent the Percocet in my bloodstream from getting too low.
Now onto the good stuff…
I have FINALLY lost all the water weight I gained in the hospital! It took four friggin’ weeks but I finally have my legs back, cankle free. You have no idea how happy this makes me.
In other news, I am now a walking machine. I try to take at least two walks a day: one in the morning after the commuter rush hour and before the tourist rush hour and one at night when the streets are practically dead. I can now walk approximately a mile each time!
I am also kicking ass in physical therapy. I have one more session and then I will meet with my cardiologist next week to determine if I am ready to go into cardiac rehab, essentially personal training for cardiac patients.
Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine as I write this..my incision has decided to tighten up and it now feels as if I’ve got a two or three pound weight sitting on my chest. Once again, I’m told this is a normal part of the healing process but it sure makes breathing hard when it gets especially bad.
So that’s the news from the cardiac front at one month. Let me tell you this is going to be a much longer process than I expected. (Although how I really knew what to “expect” is beyond me.) All I can say is that my family and friends (and now strangers on the internet) have been amazingly supportive. I couldn’t do this without you, so keep the good vibes coming and I promise to channel them all into my continued recovery.