JT's Blog

Things that interest me, things that happened to me, things that I like, even some things that I don't like...

My Final Surgical Blog Post

I've fallen way behind in blogging about my surgery, so this is going to be a short catchup post.

The first image from my open heart surgery to repair my mitral valve. I think this is before the repair.

In brief, I'm doing great.

Just saw my cardiologist, and like all the other health care workers I've seen, he's pleased and a bit amazed at how well I'm doing.

Last year when he first broached the subject of surgery, he thought I might not be able to take care of myself for about two weeks after the surgery, and it might take two to three months for a full recovery.

As it turned out I had two really awful days in the hospital, followed by three not so bad ones. Once I was released, I did pretty well, and full recovery came in about four weeks.

I even moved up my visit with the surgeon's office since I was feeling so good. They declared me fit as a fiddle, right as rain, and agreed that I no longer had to take that awful rat poison, uh, warfarin. They were even nice enough to give me a few photos of my heart during the surgery.

The second image from my open heart surgery to repair my mitral valve. I assume that white thing is the ring they placed around my mitral valve.

And I do seem to have developed some extra energy. I wasn't aware of it myself until the other day as I was walking home, I realized that I was sprinting to beat traffic lights and it wasn't tiring me out at all. When I arrived back at my apartment building, I took the three flights up the stairs without losing a beat. It was almost like I was 10 or 20 years younger.

I do have one lingering problem: what the medical community calls auras, and I call coruscating zigzag blobs, have been plaguing me ever since I was released from the hospital. But they are gradually diminishing, and I have every expectation they'll be back to their usual rare appearance before too long.

And I have one minor regret. When I consulted with the surgeon, I also signed up for a randomized clinical trial of atrial fibrillation remedies.

The third image from my open heart surgery to repair my mitral valve. I guess this is after the repair.

In brief, after my surgery I would be monitored for A-Fib, or irregular heartbeat, and I would be treated with one of several different medications, assigned randomly. I was looking forward to it.

The day after my surgery, Stephen, the young man who was in charge of the trial, came to see me in the ICU. He informed me that they had been monitoring my heart beat and had detected no irregular rhythms, so there had been no need for treatment yet. But, he assured me, they would continue to monitor me.

“So if I understand this correctly,” I began, “what you're telling me is that I got rhythm.”

Never saw him again after that.