After my first week, I was feeling better each day. My energy was building and I was able to do more each day. There was nothing exciting happening, I wasn’t invited to any crazy parties, shocking I know!! The following Tuesday I was due in at my GP to get my two stitches from the chest drains taken out. I wasn’t too excited about this situation, not that many people would be but I was ‘traumatised’ from having stitches taken out before and I’ll tell you why, it’s all thanks to mam! When I was 12 I fell on glass and severed the tendons and nerves in my hand, that was bad enough but I was young and bounced back. My lovely mam then decided it would be a good idea not to tell me one day where we were going, until we ended up back at the hospital to get the stitches out……all 15 of them! 2 of the stitches got stuck in my hand, and that’s my only memory of ever having stitches taken out.
So, into the GP nurse I go, all I could tell myself was, it can’t be as bad as what I’ve already gone through. The nurse got started and, just my luck, the stitches were buried and very hard to get out. After a while of cutting and pulling they came out. I could tell by her face she wasn’t happy about something, then she told me part of my wound was infected. Great, just as I thought things were going well. She sent me to the doctor who agreed and put me on antibiotics and stronger pain meds. I had stopped taking any pain killers by this stage but agreed that I needed something after getting the stitches out.
That evening I rang the ward that I had been discharged from to ask the surgeon if there was anything I should do, he was in surgery and the nurse said they would get him to call me. They did, the next morning and wanted a chest X-Ray done. They said to go to any A&E to have one done which I thought was strange so I went back to the hospital where I had my surgery. The doctor in there agreed my wound was infected but not badly and I would be sent home after my X-Ray. Myself and mam waited (we were getting good at that!) and the doctor came back, I had already gotten myself ready to go home, but he wanted a ‘word’. I don’t know about anyone else but when a doctor says he wants ‘a word’ nothing good or exciting ever happens after this! He took myself and mam into a side room and explained that one of my blood results came back and he wasn’t happy with it. The enzyme called Troponin was too high. The doctor started to explain that this enzyme rises when someone is having a heart attack…. He then quickly explained that I wasn’t. My sarcastic voice started to say, ‘well duh genius I just had heart surgery’, surely this is why it was raised. He agreed but said it was policy to keep me in overnight. Just what I wanted, one week home and I’m back for a sleepover in the hospital, they just couldn’t get enough of me I suppose!!
Two more doctors came to see me and were all in agreement that my chest wound was infected, not badly and my troponin levels were high because of my surgery. Seriously at the end of this journey I think I’ll know just as much about cardiac problems as they do!! The next day, and after a night of no sleep and needles being stuck into me I was ready to go home. Eventually that afternoon the cardiac registrar came to see me. Now here’s the bit I need to tell you, for the two weeks before then I had kept my spirits up, yes, I had moments of nerves, but I don’t remember wanting to cry or be in bad form, not everyone is like this I know but I was. The cardiac registrar spoke AT me for a few minutes then left, ten minutes later he came back and told me he was going to stitch back up the chest drain wounds. He told me, not asked me, he half-heartedly explained why then gave me the local anaesthetic and started to cut away the skin. After 15 minutes, he decided there wasn’t enough skin to stitch, he got the nurse to put a dressing on and he left. When the nurse left after him, I shed my first tear. I cried when that doctor left my room, he spoke at me not to me, he made me feel like the most insignificant person alive and it was obvious I was an inconvenience to his day. Mam came back into me then and we chatted about what happened. A nurse came in and apologised for his behaviour and explained everything to me, she empathized with me and helped me to see what had happened. I was never so happy to leave that hospital as I was that day. I know that most of the time I am far too passive and don’t assert myself in these situations like some other people do, but that’s ok, if everyone was the exact same the world would be a very boring place!!!
I also understand that not every doctor is like this, and not everyone will have this experience but this was mine. This was my bump in the road, and thankfully I haven’t had a lot of them. They happen, that’s life. Life keeps us guessing and gives us good and bad surprises, but it’s what we take from those surprises that count.
#heartsurgery #PAPVC #journey