BYPASS 12 weeks ago
Hi, Firstly I thank all of you for sharing your experiences on here, I always feel like nobody understands, you all do, thats really helps me to see that I am not losing it.
My name is Lee I am 46 years old from the UK. I have been diabetic since 30 years and smoked 20 a day for 31 years, not overweight, walk alot with my dog everyday, always worked physically hard and long hours, not a drinker - maybe 20 pints in a year. I have never been ill, maybe a cold every 18 months but thats about it. I have always been a strong and hard man, maybe a bit too hard, I did not need help from anybody and I was here to defend my wife and 3 children. On Monday 19th December I had chest pains and my wife called the Doctor, I have known my Doctor for 25 years, he insisted on 999 call. A paramedic arrived and said is was chest muscle strain, I agreed as 3 days before I loaded a lorry with washing machines on my own. My Doctor rang as the paramedic was there and they argued in front of me about my attending hospital. I decide not to go. The next day I felt unwell and did not go to work. After one of my long walks with the dog, lucky I had just got home, I suffered real bad chest pains, I rang 999 as I was at home alone. I talked to the operator as I felt myself dying, there was no one here and I would die!! For the first time in my life I was frightened beyond belief. The paramedics arrived and got me to hospital. I had an angiogram on 6th January 2012 and told I would need 3 stents or maybe bypass. During the angiogram I felt severe pain from the time of the incision, the surgeon called me Mr Jumpy, I was nearly to a point where I was going to get off the table, I thought it was just me being a baby. As I was leaving hospital later that afternoon the head nurse asked to talk with me and my wife, she apologised as they had forgot to sedate or give me any medication before the procedure. In February the surgeon told me that I had 85% blockages of 3 arteries and needed bypass surgery. I had been off work sick since December so I let them know, they sacked me on 11th January. I had been there 4 years and never had a sick day, just been promoted to Operations Manager and I thought all was good. Anyway my wife worked full time and earned a low wage so we could not claim any benefits. We struggled through until April 2012 when we realised we were in trouble, we got to a point that we were likely to face eviction as we had struggled to pay the rent (association house), we had threats from insurance companies and the bank returning direct debits and putting charges on. Typically of the UK they advised that my wife give up work so I could claim benefits until returning to work. So everything was OK financially again. By now I had taken my ex employer to employment court and the case was hard work but I had time on my hands. I had the bypass on 26th July 2012, I do remember talking to a nurse in the room prior to the operating room and next thing I woke up in intensive care, they had taken the breathing tube out, slight croaky voice but that's it. They said they had woke me but for some reason put me back under for a while. I went to my room the next morning. The immediate recovery was pretty good,
a lot of discomfort with tubes in my neck and chest and a catheter but not that bad. Tubes taken out which was fine and let home after 5 days. All great, so I thought. Once at home I had to sleep upright in a chair as I couldn't lay down. For a few days that was OK, by the way I hadn't smoked for 3 weeks and didn't want one. After a few days I started to suffer extreme pain, I couldn't move a muscle without screeching in pain, this was bad but to show my wife and children that I was unable to be strong was humiliating. Worse thing was I broke down in tears in front of them, I could have died, this was their husband and father in a state of mess incapable of living without suffering. At that time I did not realise or think that they were suffering more than me, they could not tell or show me as I had always been unapproachable with emotional stuff. We are very close but not lovey ways. My eldest son is 20 years old 6 ft tall and huge build, I always felt safe with him around but struggled to talk about this. I was admitted back to hospital a couple of times for a day or two with no explanation of why I was in so much pain. After a couple of weeks things got so bad paramedics were called, I actually asked one of them to overdose me so it could be over!! I did not mean this but I had 4 of them working on me in my home with an air ambulance above my home and my wife, children and sister watching as I was slowly dying. I was so scared but stupidly thought I was ready, during my hospital stay my Mum came to see me and said I could go with her, I decide not to, good job as she died 10 years previous of heart disease!! Anyway they rushed me to hospital and at last noticed that my lungs were damaged during the operation and had partially collapsed and leaking air into my chest. They had to insert a tap in between my ribs and then syringe the air out. I have been on the mend slowly since these terrible episodes and still having to take sedatives and strong pain relief. I am walking up to 3 hours a day and not smoking. The nurses and doctors have all said that I am a long term recovery patient due to complications. When I am not in pain I do feel the benefit of the bypass so I am looking forward to getting up on the first day of normality. I am not trying to scare you but as most of you have said, no one understands what you go through inside, yes the scars heel quickly but I am not sure if I will ever heel inside. I take this as a great learning exercise as now I can talk much more openly with my family and really don't feel inadequate that I have to rely on them. My wife has stuck by me when I would have gone long ago. We have been married 23 years and its better every day. Just so you know my case was 1 in 1,000,000 and the other patients that were in with me were all off pain relief in approx 4-5 weeks. I hope it all goes well and if I had to do it all again to get where I am now that would be scary but no problem. Good luck to you all and thanks again for your help. By the way I won the court case and was awarded £29900, haven't got it yet but another victory in my new life..