Aortic Valve replacement and replacement of aortic tissue (removal of aneurysm).
On Friday, April 26th (2019) I checked-in with registration for my scheduled open-heart surgery at Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis. At 5:30 AM they called my registration number 666 to begin the paper work. Yes! 666! You should have heard the gasps from the others waiting to register. Another registration clerk even made the comment “I’m glad I didn’t have to call that number!”. Trying not to show too many nerves to begin with, I didn’t let the 666 call faze me. What are you going to do, so joke about it. I even think I whispered, “Not today Satan!”.
Registration went quick, and they wasted no time taking me to a pre-op room, to prep me for surgery. I won’t go into all the details, but they were busy getting me ready for the 7:30 AM surgery to begin. I don’t even remember going into the operating room. Later that afternoon or maybe it was early evening, I was awake, if you can call it that. I only remember a couple of minutes, speaking to my significant other, my daughter, sister and a friend. “Get the elephant off my chest and take him back to the zoo!”. After that it was back to LaLa Land, for sleep. The medical staff didn’t want me moving anyway, what else is there to do; and while you are sleeping you don’t notice the pain. I remember being awake around 1:00 AM (early Sat. morning) for a little while. They ask me a few questions, like “What is your name? Where are you? and Why are you here?” Unless you want to end up in another medical department, give them the right answers! Success, I knew who I was, where I was and why I was there.
Around 7:00 AM I was more aware of what was going on with all the monitoring, and a nurse always at my side (ICU) checking vitals, asking about my pain level. How do you know on a scale of 0 to 10 what your pain level is when you’ve never felt open-heart surgery pain before? In stepped the surgeon just in time to hear my answer; I guessed based on pain I have ever experienced in the past, so I said 8. I wanted room for it to go up, and I thought it might as the general had not yet completely worn off. 8 but it seemed tolerable. I told the surgeon I didn’t feel bad but I hadn’t done anything yet. He said, “Right, you’re going to get really tired first; then later when we get you up and walk a bit, I begin feeling more pain. So, don’t turn down the pain medication”.
Long story short, I was doing so well, Saturday afternoon they moved me to the PCU (step down unit). I was only in ICU overnight (normally you are there a couple of days).
I went in for the surgery on Friday morning and went home on Tuesday afternoon.
The cardiac surgeon and his staff were amazing. The ICU nurse(s) were great. The nurses and Patient Care Techs in PCU were fantastic as well. The pain management treatment made everything bearable. Don’t get me wrong, there were painful moments and moments of discomfort (especially when they remove the bladder and chest drainage tubes). Remember the movie “Man Called Horse”? When they removed the chest tube, I thought they were also removing my lungs!
Things could not have gone better, and I owe it to the professionalism and caring attitude of the surgeon, his staff and all the staff in the Cardiac unit at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. My recovery, now beginning it’s 3rd week today has been going great as well. No issues yet, but I have been doing everything the way they tell me. Don’t rush it. The golf will have to wait a few more weeks.
Thank you Missouri Baptist Medical Center (Cardiac Surgery Team)!
One last thing “Satan, take your number and shove it, YOU LOST”.