BYPASS 12 weeks ago

by Lee

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..

Comments for BYPASS 12 weeks ago

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This is really not easy...
by: Lee from UK

Hi Joel, Its so hard after the operation as I was a certain person for 46 years, that person seems to have gone and I am now battling with the new one. I totally agree that nobody can possibly understand unless they have been through this, and I wouldnt wish this on anyone. An example that I suffer with is that I have now not smoked for 1 month, thats great as I hate the smell of them and never want one, the problem is that for 31 years approx 20 times every day I had something to do for about 10 minutes, now that has gone, that is so hard. My wife still smokes so there are cigarettes around and I look at them but they make me feel sick. As we only smoked outside I find myself wandering back and for, pacing up and down. I hope I will overcome this. It is so hard to change so much of what you do and who you are especially while still recovering from the operation. I have tried to cut down on painkillers yesterday as it is nesrly 13 weeks, what a mistake, I woke up this morning in agony again, if I sneeze I am in total agony for abot 2 minutes, I cant explain how much this hurts. More importantly for me is that I feel I am going backwards, or insane. Usually this passes but I am always thinking "COME ON" enough is enough!! I have to believe that soon I will look back thinking it was worth it, I have to. Hope you get there too soon and thanks for your story it helps so much. Anyway just had breakfast so off for a wander back and for..... I have to laugh sometimes I think it keeps me sane, well maybe

Happy you are doing better
by: JoeD

I woke up one morning with chest pains and my wife called our emergency #911 .. they came and took me to the hospital gave me all the test and I was sent home the next day .. I'm trying to get my medical records and they sent the wrong ones. So I was sent home and in less than 2 months later I was at work alone doors locked (I own a restaurant) nobody will show up until 10am .. I had the chest pains and I called my wife she toldme to call 911 .. previous to this I was eating tums for the what I thought was heart burn seeing how I was just at the hospital and they sent me home. I called 911 and they I unlocked the door and sat in a chair and waited.. They cae in .. started an IV and off I went to the ER. I then went into a full blown heart attack. The cushing chest, hard to breath couldn;t think straight .. and sweating like hell. I had 3 stents placed in that day my CAD was 100% blocked. I was awake for the whole thing although they did numb the area but that didn't help the pain much. I also broke down and cried. I was also Healthy and worked construction for 38 years and jogged 5 miles a day before I opened the restaurant. I Still having chest discmfort I had to go back in Jan 26th 2012 for another stent in my LAD. I still have the indigestion feeling. I also smoked but quit and am still batteling that. My question is Why didnt the first hospital find the heart disease? Had they found it I wouldn't had to suffer the heart attack and almost die .. The Dr told me if I waited 10 minutes I wouldn't be here, every icu nurse said how lucky I was to be alive. My kids are grown and my wife works. I'm 57 years old now. It seems like they don't understand the emotional damage this has caused me. It's like post tramatic sress disorder I'm dealing with. I've been slowly going back to work but not like I use too. I'm also type II diabetic so diet is important .. I have sleep apnea . I get upset easy now and it causes me to feel sick in my chest and throat. I use to be so calm and peaceful, not so much anymore my world has turned upside down. I will land on my feet again. I am happy I found this board and all the great folks here. I get to vent and you folks understand. My wife wanted me to go to a shrink and I said I would if the shrink has had a heart attack and knows what he's talking about.. other than that he's reading from a text book. I'm angry and I blame myself for my condition nobody else. It just taking longer than it ever has for me to heal and i dislike taking meds everyday it's a reminder. But as you said and I agree it was one hell of an experience.. Good luck and be well

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