Life goes on

It is eight months since my life saving open heart surgery. Time has marched on, and a lot has happened.

On the downside I suffered a known complication of open-heart surgery. 40% of open-heart patients leave hospital with fluid in their left chest area. Most reabsorb and a small percentage do not.

Of course, I wanted the full experience and ended up in Mersey ED one Monday afternoon and was diagnosed with pleural effusion and a partial lung collapse.

I ended up having my chest drained at a hospital in Launceston. That is not overly pleasant as they access the pleural area in between ribs in your back with a long needle. The specialist physician had two cracks at it and it is a very sharp nervy bony pain.

Pleural rub continued for a few more weeks and I got to see my favourite cardiac surgeon and cardiologist again.

Pleural rub is where the inflamed pleural lining, that usually sticks to your lungs, has become separated and inflamed and rubs against your lung. It is not painful but somewhat perturbing each and every breathe.

One can never have enough radiation of one’s lungs. I have had at least 10 plus chest X-rays in recent times. My chest X-rays are fascinating post surgery.

Cable ties…101 uses. Although these are stainless steel/titanium ones.

At Christmas we were with two of my children in Hobart that included the bonus of being with my young grandchildren.

We then headed to Norfolk Island for a week. In the middle of nowhere some 2500 km east of the Australian coast. A fascinating history and I really looked forward to this sojourn.

One of my ancestors came out with the First Fleet into Port Jackson and was transferred to Norfolk Island a few weeks later. A very interesting story of his life in England, then Norfolk Island where he had many children, including my great great….grandmother Sarah.

I have done a lot of reading and research on Richard and his daughter Sarah and I loved being able to walk over where his farm was before the family moved to Van Diemens Land.

This tree is on my ancestor’s former farmland now known as Hundred Acres Reserve – the Moreton Bay figs were planted by the English and are massive now, and very old.

We chilled most days on the beautiful beach at Emily Bay. I swam and snorkelled and loved watching the fish in the fringe coral reef.

The lone Norfolk Pine on the right is known as…the lone pine! Captain Cook mentioned that tree on his voyages, meaning my great great….grandfather would have seen that tree in Emily Bay, and here I was walking where he once would have.
Lone pine

Returning home, we determined that my rehab goal was to get myself fit enough to start cycle touring again.

I was doing around 3-4 hours rehab per day but reduced that now to a mere 3 hours that includes cycling, walking, swimming, weights and stretching. I am not back to where I was but maybe 85-90% and that’s good enough for our plans.

The best way to live life, is just to get on with it. It is the best way I know how to thank my specialists who saved my life. ❣️

Where are we going? Japan. A shorter trip as I have some work commitments either side, but still away 19 days, cycling for a fortnight predominantly on the island of Shikoku and including the famous Shimanami Kaido, a 60 km dedicated cycle way over many islands on the Seto Inland Sea.

Shikoku – one of Japan’s five main islands
The island of Shikoku. We will catch the ferry to and from Tokushima to start and finish our ride.

Our route will take us around the whole island, and include mountainous areas including the Iya Valley.

Part of the Shimanami kaido bike route
A broader view of the Shimanami kaido.

It is only a fortnight now until we go – routing is finalised and uploaded to our Hammerhead GPS devices that sit on our bike showing the route. I have organised the accomodation, a real mixture of western and Japanese. I love Japanese food too!

I am thankful to be able to be fit enough to continue what we love doing so let’s get this show on the road! Stay tuned!

Thanks to Greg for the image below that he created – it is the logo for the group I set up known as Heartz.

9 thoughts on “Life goes on

  1. Dave B

    Good job on the rehab. I’ve had multiple thoracentesis and also a pericardial window surgery for pericarditis, the body really doesn’t like too much fluid where it’s not supposed to be. Hoping that the nerves eventually settle down from the window surgery (between the ribs). Also ended up with a pacemaker since then… work in progress, but still riding. All the best, Ride On!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes the thoracentesis was eye opening, in fact I dropped an F bomb with the second attempt 🤪

      Yes there are many fried nerves but gradually they are improving….mainly when I get out of a chair…

      Best wishes for your journey Dave ❣️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dave B

        It was pretty shocking watching that “bucket” fill up with that bloody fluid… oh so that’s why I couldn’t breath!
        My Dad had 5way bypass surgery when in his 80’s. Going through the rehab he really questioned whether it was worth it. Took a while but he recovered fine, and made it into his mid 90’s, and was around to help Mom when she really needed it.
        Worse thing for me now is not knowing what procedure or problem is causing the symptoms, too many variables! 🤔
        Take care Sharron 🙏

        Liked by 1 person

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