On July 3, my heart was stopped, repaired, and restarted. I’ve always known to count my blessings, but going through something like that definitely gives you a new outlook on life. I will never take another heartbeat for granted again.
My surgery, like most, began bright and early. My parents and I were at the hospital a little before 5 AM to check in. I was then escorted to the prep area, where I got to put on a lovely purple paper gown (when you spend a lot of time in hospitals, you learn to have no shame) and some wonderful fuzzy socks (this seasons trendiest accessory). After an hour or so of prep and getting an IV line in, the time came. I watch a lot of medical shows and have many friends who want to be in the medical field, so hospitals don’t scare me, but there is nothing more nerve-wracking than saying goodbye to your family and being wheeled through a set of double doors into the OR. My nerves were quickly calmed though, by the “Good morning sunshine!” a nurse called out. After being introduced to the nursing team and transferred to the operating table, I don’t remember much. The last thing I remember is a guy telling me to give him my arm.
I don’t recall when I actually FIRST woke up. Apparently, I looked at my mom and, with fingers crossed, croaked out “Repair? Repair?” My mom told me that indeed, they had been able to repair my valve instead of replace it, and I was out again. All I can remember of that first day in the SICU are brief glimpses of family members, and the pastor of my grandparents church praying over me. I know that the first time my older brother (who I don’t see often) saw me, he cried. I remember feeling each and every tube that I had in me. And I remember everything being overshadowed by pain.
When I finally came out of that post-surgery pain nightmare, I was so relieved. Everything still hurt, and I knew I had a long road ahead of me before I could get back to normal, but I was thrilled that the surgery had gone well and that, thanks to having the repair over a replacement, sports would still be a part of my life. I got some tubes pulled and was transferred to a regular room with a view f San Diego. I only spent 4 days in that room, but it felt like weeks. I was able to walk around the halls, eat real food, and get more tubes pulled out of my body (yay!).
Since being allowed to leave the hospital, I’ve improved tremendously. I still am a little sore, but no longer need painkillers. It’s great to get back to a (semi)normal life again. :)
Slowly recovering :)