from the heart- part 9


heart_logoIf you’ve been following from the heart you know that part 8 left off with me sleeping in my hospital room in Methodist Hospital. I pass into and out of sleep for a while, I don’t have any sense of time at this point. I don’t know if it’s day or night, and while I’m sure the medication that I’m pumped full of must be playing a part in that there’s often a sense of timelessness in a hospital bed.To read from the heart- parts 1 – 8 go here

I finally begin waking up in earnest after a few hours. I woke up all at once again and just looked around the room. My wife Sheri was dozing in one of those recliner chairs that you never ever see outside of a hospital. You know, those chairs that look like they’d be very comfortable but it doesn’t take long to disprove that theory once you sit in one.The room is very dark and the blinds are pulled tightly to keep all light out. Man, I’d love to see the sun. Sheri looks so tired but oh so nice sitting up in that chair. This has been so very hard on her. I’m wrapped up in the bed sheets again- what is it with these people? It’s as if they don’t want me to move at all, I’m tucked in so tightly. I stir a bit gingerly to free my arms. I want to see what they did to me. My mind is fuzzy and clear at the same time if that makes sense. I know exactly what’s going on and what I want to do but the thought process is fuzzy. I can’t explain it any better than that but the doctor soon would.I’m so thirsty again but I don’t want to wake Sheri up so I wait a little while. A nurse soon comes in all chipper and when she does Sheri wakes up. We try to talk a little but my voice just doesn’t work- I still can’t speak. I can whisper a little though and it’s so good to be alive. Truly and deeply good to be here.The nurses pass in and out, constantly taking my vitals and generally making sure I can’t rest at all. As you can see my sense of humor is beginning to come back to me. Several different doctors come through the room, too. The surgeon and the cardiologist both assure my wife and I that I am doing really great and that everything went very well. They indicate I will be in the hospital 5 or 6 days if everything goes well.Those first few hours in the room I am finally able to check my body and get a feel (ouch) for what’s been done. I get the sheet off and lower the little peekaboo gown they put you in and have a look. I’m surprised there is no bandage on my chest- just a gash about 7 inches long with metal staples closing it. I look like Frankenstein and Sheri looks a little pale at first when she sees it. On my left side there’s a plastic tube that’s been inserted into my abdomen through a little hole they made. There’s another tube on the lower right part of my abdomen through a bigger hole. The surgeon said they were to drain any fluid or blood accumulating in the abdomen as a result of the surgery. They go to a little bag hung on the bed that seems pretty empty. I am very glad about that.At some point I send Sheri to go get something to eat and check on the kids. She’s been in that room so long she needs to get out desperately. I had an ulterior motive though, I wanted to check my legs. As soon as she’s gone I check out what they’ve done from the waist down and I find a wonderful surprise waiting for me when I look. No, get your mind out of the gutter. I have a catheter that was inserted in the operating room so I won’t need to go to the bathroom but that’s not what makes me so happy.My legs have been a concern since before the surgery and they are much better than I expected. It’s a testament to how good my surgeon, Dr. Lawrie, really is. I search everywhere but there are no big bandages. There are only 4 small 3/4 inch cuts on the legs. There are two on each leg- one on the inside thigh and one on the inner calf. He was able to extract all the veins he needed for the graft through these tiny cuts. The cuts are so small they are held by simple butterfly bandaids.I am so relieved and so thankful and just so overwhelmed at everything that I just cry. I don’t know how long I did, but it felt really good.



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Thanks Rick! I have a lot more to relate about the recovery process and will be continuing the series shortly. Real life and real work has gotten in the way a little. :-) jkontherun refers to the mobile lifestyle my work forces on me. For example, yesterday I drove 500 miles round trip (8 hours) for a 2 hour meeting with a client. I checked my email both ways from a highway rest area!

Rick McDowell

Great story with a happy ending. Sounds like your great wife went through almost as much pain and suffering as you did.

How about a Part 10 discussing how you are doing now (post bypass) and

does “jkontherun” have anything to do with your current running or jogging program?

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