I Always Thought I Was Fit...
I’m 41 and I’ve had a double bypass.
I’m a builder by trade so although I’m overweight, I always thought I was fit because I could outrun my younger laborers. They found my heart problem by chance as I had no symptoms, no pains, no nothing. Yes, I got a bit of heartburn and out of breath a bit, but my 21 year old laborer would be dying on the floor so I thought nothing of it.
I wasn’t looking forward to surgery because I thought my whole life would change, I even put it off for a further three months, making up some excuse that I needed to save my money for the time off that I would be having. Anyway D-DAY arrived. D-Day
I went into St. Thomas Hospital thinking this is it - still smoking by the way. I smoked right up to the hour I was meant to be operated on, something I later regretted. Because I thought I might as well finish off the bad arteries I had since they would be renewing them. Yes, silly thought I know. Funny how the mind works so you don’t kick a habit. You convince yourself it’s all good.
I went on the operating table on the Monday morning and they woke me back up on the Wednesday. I had internal bleeding or something. I had a 2% chance of having this problem and I got it. 2% that’s all
and the surgeon said it was all because I smoked right up to the last minute that they couldn’t stop the bleeding
. Waking up with two big pipes down my throat was another factor. I thought I woke up in hell. I didn’t want to scare no one but I was in a lot of pain and I couldn’t believe I was under for so long.
The first night was terrible. I wanted to sleep but couldn’t because of the pain and I couldn’t get comfortable on their bed. I had no strength and wondered if I had made the right choice. Remember, I thought I was as fit as a fiddle. The second day was no better and I remember seeing this other chap in his 80s who had the same operation as me taking it all in his stride - reading his paper and drinking his drink - just getting on with it, which made me feel a bit of a wimp (lol) because you could say I
was a terrible patient.
Day three got a bit better because I managed to get, I think, three hours sleep. Wow. Walking 15 paces to the bathroom I would get out of breath and wanted my oxygen. It was so hard to breathe without it that I would panic. I learned to calm down and take slow breaths and it would work. Once I stopped panicking it was easier to walk that 15 steps. Still got out of breath, though. Progress
Anyway, from then on every day got easier and I only stayed in hospital seven days. I still wake up a bit stiff , but once the body starts moving you loosen up a bit. It’s six weeks today I had my operation and I feel great. I have tried to rush my recovery a bit though and got told off because I rode my push bike 17 miles when I was only three weeks post op.
I just can’t believe how scared I was about having this operation. I thought I would be laid up in bed for three months not being able to do nothing, but that’s not true at all. Yes, the first three days are the worst and the rest of the week is bearable, but every day truly gets better. So much so that I’ve forgotten how much pain I was in. Part of the club
YEP, I have my Man Scar now and am part of the gang - so they told me in hospital. They took an artery out of my arm so it made walking easier for me than the other chaps.
I even cracked jokes telling the other patients that the surgeon opened me up two or three times because he couldn’t find his Rolex watch in my chest. Yes, they opened me up three times and I was still out of the hospital on the Saturday!
I find putting on t-shirts or jumpers (sweaters) so irritating because they rub on my scar and it’s still a little bit sore. But I can wear them when I’m walking or riding my bike. That’s the worst thing I’m finding about it now - is clothes.
Anyway, hope I haven’t bored you lot - but if you’re someone like me who is having this operation and you’re scared to death, all I can say is I remember worse toothaches and it’s not as bad as all that and welcome to the club!