Plan B in Action …

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Last Tuesday Plan B was implemented – inserting stents in my heart. Two were anticipated with one being more difficult. It actually turned out to be three – with two being difficult.

I arrived about 10:30 and got dressed (or technically undressed) for surgery. A young man – who was someone on the surgery team soon popped in – to tell the nurses they were going to go through the groin area – not the wrist as they had done a month ago. The veins in my arm were not large enough to give them maneuvering room for the larger balloons needed. Several years ago, I had stents that were put in through the groin; as a result, I had a large hematoma (a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues) that took weeks to heal. It was like having a football in your stomach. So, the change to using the groin was concerning – but, I knew I needed to get this done. My breathing had worsened in the last couple of days.

The next issue – you have to lay flat on your back for the surgery – expected to last two hours – and then for six hours afterward (so there is no bleeding in the groin). I sleep sitting up because of my lung disease. But again, I really needed to get this done.

The surgery took three hours instead of two because of the third stent. I actually had significant chest pain as they worked in that area so was given pain medication.

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As I mentioned, recovery is six hours lying flat. Unfortunately for me, even with 100 percent oxygen, lying flat felt like I was gasping for air. You also have to lay 4 hours (of the original 6) after they remove the catheters from the groin opening — two in the right leg and one in the left leg. But, again, my system just can’t behave. My blood pressure was 183 over 86; they would not remove the catheters until my blood pressure came down. After more medication, it finally came down around 9 p.m. and the catheters were removed. Once removed, a nurse has to press firmly on the area for about 20 minutes – which hurts a lot! – so much that, you guessed it, more pain meds ( and they were appreciated). After another four hours, (after lying flat from 1 pm to just after 1 am in total), I was finally allowed to sit up.

I was released about 10:30 the next morning (the day after the surgery) and given new medication. Unfortunately, the two possible side effects most problematic for me – shortness of breath and nosebleeds — manifested very quickly. I spent most of Thursday wiping my nose. That medication has been changed and things seem okay. I always expect to be better in a day or so – but it’s going to take a while this time. I’ll just have to keep at it. They can’t keep this old bird down!

Thanks for all the well-wishes before the surgery! I am sure that is what got me through it. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you will return.

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