Baby steps, one week down.

One week down. It’s been a journey for sure, and not one I would recommend. I joke and say as an experience on Trip Advisor, open heart surgery rates no stars.

After my surgery last Friday I spent 4 nights in ICU. A very humbling experience. I was in bay one for two nights then the isolation room for the next two.

ICU has a series of open bays separated by curtains with a central area for medical and nursing staff where they have a clear view of all, except the isolation room. Sounds like the name for one of those group games where you try and escape, the panic room?

I was placed in the isolation room because one of my surgical team tested positive for covid. No visitors allowed whilst they awaited my pcr results, which seemed very slow for something tagged urgent.

The room was quiet. ICU is a noisy place with an array of monitors bleeping and lots chatter. The room gave me peace. No extra sleep though! Solid sleep evaded me. Getting comfortable a seemingly impossible art.

Once my negative covid test came back my door could be opened, and I took this photo carefully as just to the right is a fully intubated older lady. I watch the staff working on her and caring for her. She can’t move as she is on a ventilator. I realise that the same dedication they are showing her, was given to me just a few days before. I became emotional with gratitude. It is very humbling to watch their care, dedication, professionalism and empathy.

Isolation room, ICU

I’ve been quite emotional. Ups and downs. Feeling a bit better, then miserable over anything and everything. I gather that is quite normal for this stage. Cardiac blues.

I am eating again although appetite wanes from day to day. I am drinking heaps in particular coconut water, per my surgeons request ( potassium for the heart). I’ve lost a few kg.

I am walking. I have seen the physiotherapist daily and my exercises have increased. I can now do 5 x 100 m plus walks with a few of those having some stairs.

It is hard work and I huff and puff and have a heart rate far higher than pre surgery for the same exercise. Maybe 35 bpm difference, but that will improve.

I still blow into the ball contraption and can keep up higher for longer. The third ball has started to move a tad.

I have had some sleep the last two nights. Drug induced but at least I’ve slept. I could feel my body relaxing whereas before it was a constant battle.

My temperature has abated after many days and night sweats.

Perhaps my funniest experience (Only funny thing? Not the kind of place you come looking for comedy), was my final night in ICU

I thought I’d try my solo endeavours out . Midnight and I needed to pee. I was attached to the dvt machine that pumps air around your legs. I was also attached to a blood pressure machine and cuff.

I unwrapped the dvt leggings as they were velcros and easier than disconnecting the cables as I cannot use my arm strength. I disconnected the blood pressure cable and removed the cuff. I did my thing.

I came back to bed and all three items had inflated to their max and I could not put them back on. Dang, cuss, curse….what to do? Only option was to press the buzzer and fess up. Yes, I got the lecture I knew was coming and I sat there and nodded….but 🙈😳🤣

Stubborn Sharron was a good sign though that I was on my way back.

In addition to the wonderful medical, nursing, ancillary and support staff including the lovely orderlies and catering staff, I’ve regularly face timed Tony and Hannah, visits from Joshua and Kimberley, messages from two sons in Europe plus heaps of texts and pm’s. Thankyou all.

Covid issues have meant minimal visitations plus when in isolation none. It’s not easy.

Correspondence has taken time and I’m a bit slow as I get tired easily and quickly.

I received a surprise bunch of flowers, card and home made soup from Sam from Bendigo ( a Zwift friend) who had her Hobart based son drop it off (and he had made the soup himself). I was very touched.

Home time is tomorrow. I’ve passed my various tests ( blood, X-ray) and the pharmacist has a pack of drugs ready for me. My iron levels are low and I need to work on them. The word prunes was mentioned 😳

I will not miss the heparin injections into my bruised pin cushion tummy, or the rubber mattress and pillows. I look forward to being in my own home and moving around it, having a warm shower in a warm bathroom.

The home bound trip will take a while. 330 km but to be back home with Tony and Khaleesi will be a delight as I continue on my rehab recovery journey.

Reality check here though readers. My aim in telling my story is to have you avoid what I’m going through. This is the vivid, harsh reality. One can deny it all they like or try and turn a blind eye but….every picture tells a story.

Artery removed from my left arm
The incision. Below this there are a series of stitches from drains etc, plus I have a bandage on my neck still.

I understand the chest scar may confront some. But this is the way they get into your heart for coronary artery bypass grafts. They cut through your sternum bones, pull the bones all back and do their thing! No escaping it.

Get that check!!

To finish with a brighter photo, this is me 530 am Saturday, Day 8. I think Sharron 2.0 is starting to come back to life.

I have a bit of eyebrow missing. My only explanation is maybe there was tape there during surgery and some eyebrow hair removed with the tape. I look at this photo and I can smile and see me in there 💕😊💐xx

24 thoughts on “Baby steps, one week down.

  1. Ian

    I had emergency OHS 16 years ago in my mid 30s. Aortic dissection out of the blue. New heart valve, Teflon Aortic root replacement and a long recovery.
    It will be tough at the start but it gets better quite quickly. I ride more now than I did before surgery and think I’m a good deal fitter.
    Good luck for your recovery. See you on Zwift soon.
    Ride on ! Moo!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. David Stakes

    On Ya Sharron good to see, once home and away from all those machines that go ping will be a relief. Piece and Quiet for recovery. The Nurses and dedicated Doctors have looked after you well. My Daughter is doing her Masters Degree in Nursing now, Hard work, Stressful as anything. Growls at us alot with assignments. But the reward is a job for life.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lara

    Hun so please you are upright and what a journey. Marvels of medicine !! Wear those scars with pride they’ll remind you that today is more important than yesterday and more of a sure thing than tomorrow. Be present, be grateful and most importantly be kind to yourself. One foot in front of the other is all it takes. Look forward to seeing you in person soon !

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Rajesh Gautam

    Sharron you are amazing and give others hope and inspiration along your journey! Big Raj hugs coming at you! Speedy recovery and thank you for being incredible! Yahoo! xx

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Davis Jefferies

    I am so happy for you and Tony that you get to go home. You are an inspiration to all that crosses your path, now even more than ever. Take care of yourself and keep us posted on your recovery and I will continue to pray for you all as I am proud to call you a friend, albeit virtually 😁. Looking forward to the big party on Zwift when you return.
    Blessings
    Davis

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Mike

    Great to see you are improving, take care and don’t rush into anything. Time to heal helps recovery and steady roll back to training. Looking forward to seeing you on Zwift when you have recovered.

    Mike

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Bikelink

    Sharon I’m so happy that you’re doing well!! Days went by and I thought I was caught up but am now! I know ‘it sure doesn’t feel GOOD’ doing well?!? But I know you know. And I know hard and frustrating it is but can’t imagine trying to write to us and on so little sleep! While so many go through this most won’t have seen or heard about it in real terms (and I know you’re letting them/us off easy 😉 this is an incredible gift to the world and so hard to do! I also see while we’re still talking about heart health and fit cyclists as above its certainly addressing that but so valuable even beyond our pedaling groups. A wonderful. selfless. and very strenuous gift to everyone. It’s surely an eye opener about what this is like for others in their lives as well as thinking about taking care of and appreciating their own health.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Michael

    Thanks for sharing your journey. Your Zwifting experience is inspirational and I would have never thought you would be where you are today. It’s truly a lesson for us all. I wish you well and your recovery goes smoothly.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Wanda Archer

    Oh Sharron so happy to see you up and moving and soon to be home to truly focus on “you” and your recovery. Kudos to all the staff that took care of you and got you successfully to this point. Prayers and healing vibes! STAY STRONG!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Dave Ronan

    Sharon,
    So glad to hear you’re out the other side of it. An incredible story, but you’re famous (or infamous) for them! 😁
    All the best with your recovery and I hope to see you back on zwift real soon!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Anne Kennedy

    HI Sharron. I was on The Saturday Shop Ride with TREK this morning and Aaron…. or was it Ben, mentioned you were doing well. They referred me to your blog to find out what’s happened. Wow! So glad to read you’re still sharing the planet!! Very best wishes for your recovery and keep writing the blog – so real. Looking forward to riding with you on Mink’s Zwift Return ride. All the best to you. Anne Kennedy

    Liked by 1 person

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