It’s odd. I’ve been sitting here wondering about the bypass surgery and how they went about it. Oh I know what goes on I just don’t know the specifics. *And before you say anything, yes this will be the last time I write about the adventures of my heart…maybe*
After the surgery and before I was allowed to go home, we had a briefing from a lovely lady who was a cardiac specialist. She motioned for me and my daughter to sit down and then after setting herself down looked at us and smiled.
“Are you ready for your new life!”
She then went on to say that after the first few weeks, my diet did not have to change one iota. When I questioned this she smiled and said, “You are in recovery mode right now. You can eat whatever you want and as much as you want. After that the ‘new rules’ will come into being, but we’ll talk about that a little closer to the time. Welcome to your life changing event.”
That whole somewhat surreal conversation got me thinking then. All sorts of random thoughts swirling around in the nooks and crannies of my doped up mind. The lady did ask us if we had any questions. I didn’t bother. I was high as a kite with all the ‘feel-good’ stuff they had me on and I knew that I’d never remember any answers to anything I might ask.
It was only later that, in between pain medication doses, that I started wondering about the whole process and what it ultimately might mean. I know, for instance, that at one point in the procedure they stopped my heart and used a machine to breathe and pump blood for me while they worked on my heart.
Does that mean that, technically at least. I was dead? If I was ‘dead’ would I now be able to ‘see’ dead people? Or go on the road telling fortunes like some sort of fairground gypsy?
Leaving the fanciful questions behind for a minute, how about when they ‘pulled’ my ribs apart? Did they use some sort of fancy gleaming chrome bolt cutter thing that would look more comfortable in a Slasher movie or something else. Staying with the ribs for a moment longer, how did they ‘wire’ them back up? Did they use some sort of super-glue, or did they use some sort of titanium wire?
When I look at my body I see a mass of stitches and swelling and different shades of bruises. I look like the survivor of a plane wreck or like a chap who went two seconds with Mike Tyson when he was on form.
The whole time I was in hospital the staff kept telling me how great I looked and how wonderful my colour was. If that was true, why do I now look like a 95 year old anemic albino who is tottering slowly towards the gate to the afterlife. Were they exaggerating wildly so that I would check out early and let another customer in?
I can see them now waving at the car I was being driven away in, their other hand over their mouth and giggling uncontrollably. “Can you believe he fell for that!”
Apart from the more immediate events (surgery, re-hab, et al) I also wonder about the long term affects. For example, I had a friend who had his gall bladder removed. No real dramas here, but, ten years later after complaining of an internal pain that the doctors could not pinpoint at all. They opened my friend up for some explorative surgery. They found a set of forceps and a few sponges in his cavity. Not surprisingly, the pains stopped soon after.
I once met a chap who swore that his grandfather had something similar happen to him. Back in the days when surgery was more of a ‘by-the-seat-of-your-pants practise than today, his grandpa had his appendix removed.
Now grandpa was a big fellow. Tall and big-boned he had worked for years as a circus strong man. His appendix was really causing him some pain, so surgeons quickly got him under knife and had the troublesome organ removed. Everything was fine at first. Then Gramps began to get hot flashes, hear voices and feel little tremors in the area of his operation.
Doctors admitted that they were puzzled about what was causing these mysterious symptoms. Explorative surgery was quickly set up for the next day. The old circus strong man came in and got ‘prepped’ for surgery.
Surgeons had not even finished their first incision when a pair off hands shot out of the freshly made hole and started pulling the edges apart. The anesthesiologist and two nurses screamed and passed out. The surgeon watched in disbelief when a small medical technician came clambering out of grandpa.
It turns out the the technician had fallen in while over stretching him self to retrieve a clamp. Before he could raise anyone’s attention the surgeon had sewn the circus strongman back up. The hot flashes were from the small tech’s lighter. The sounds of voices had been him screaming for help and then talking to himself. The tremors were from the same technician who kept attempting to climb his way out.
Physically the man’s grandfather recovered well from the surgery. Mentally he did not make out so well. As he got older, the old man had developed the odd habit of screaming and cursing at his stomach if he got a touch of indigestion or heart burn.
So I’ll wait to see what, if anything, was left in my body after my operation. I haven’t got quite the girth of grandpa so I think that small medical staff don’t stand much chance of being trapped in me. Although I do at times feel like I have a tray or something in my chest after the operation. So I might have a medical tool tray in there.
Or nothing at all. Medicine has moved on after all.
- This Astrophysicist Blogged Her Open-Heart Surgery (businessinsider.com)
- St. Vincent Heartbeat: Less Invasive Open Heart Surgery (arkansasmatters.com)
- Surgery is a private matter (thisnews.co.uk)
- Don’t Go Breaking my Heart… (mikesfilmtalk.com)
- Heart Attack Treatment Options (everydayhealth.com)
- A Surgeon, A Priest & A Plant Based Guy Walk Into a Hospital (wholefed.org)