So originally I planned to write an update daily while E was recovering in the hospital, but life in a hospital knows no time and no routine so that didn’t happen. However, I thought now…. more than a week after surgery … would be a good time for an update.
E has made truly remarkable progress. His appetite is returning (slowly but surely), his pain is controlled, and he is quite mobile. He feared taking a shower. In addition to the incision down the middle of his chest, he had three holes in his upper abdomen from chest tubes that have stitches and numerous other sites that are tender from a variety of tubes, IVs, and wires that are healing. When one has a sternectomy with open heart surgery, I’ve discovered one has pain in the unlikeliest of places. His shoulders and back have been quite sore from having the ribcage pulled and internal organs shifted to get to the aorta and heart. He was worried that a shower would be quite painful from all of these factors. He had a shower and he realized the pain was mild compared to the exhaustion that set in from such a seemingly ordinary task.
For him, the exhaustion has been the most surprising and frustrating thing in the recovery process, it appears. However, it is apparent he is getting stronger everyday. He continues to use his spirometer and he has even reached the target of getting to 2000 on it once. He also is taking daily walks that include stairs.
His recovery has continued well since he was released from the hospital in record time (just 4 days)! I think one of the major contributors to this is his ability to get good, solid, uninterrupted rest. He doesn’t nap (some things from childhood never change), but he has slept well in the night.
Earlier this week I took him out to a nearby Chinese restaurant to indulge him in his favorite food. I offered to drive him to the mall just for a change of scenery, but he declined. He felt like that was too many people and too much stimulation this early. All in all, things are going well. We continue to monitor for any signs of depression or anxiety, which appears to be quite common in patients after such a major heart surgery. However, he seems to be in great spirits (although I think he’s a little tired of looking at his parents and brother on a daily basis). We return to the surgeon for his first post-op visit a week from Monday.