CLAUDINE HELLMUTH
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012
new heart (valve) for valentines day
There's a whole new meaning to hearts this Valentine's day for us! Tomorrow my Dad will be having open heart surgery to receive a bypass and a valve replacement to cure his Aortic Valve Stenosis.

me+dad  

My dad has been through a lot in the last 18 months. Lung cancer treatment,  heart attacks, rhabdomyolysis and I am sure I am forgetting something else.  It was a lot!!

He's a tough guy, he's made it through all of that and beaten cancer once before. I know he'll make it through this surgery with flying colors.

Mom and I are concerned about his recovery once he is home from the hospital. We have heard that the pain can be intense because of the cracked sternum. If anyone has had this surgery or had loved ones who have had it, if you could shed any light on the recovery process, and any tips that the Dr's and nurses never tell you -- that would be wonderful. We have looked online for information and all the web sites and forums seem to cover is the in-hospital period and not when the patient is back at home.

Thanks for your good thoughts for my Dad tomorrow! We are all rooting for you Dad!!

Happy Valentine's day! Tell all your loved ones how much they mean to you - pets too ;)

UPDATE THURSDAY 2/16: Thank you so much for all your well wishes. My Dad made it through his surgery and he's now getting out of the ICU. All is looking well. Whew!
COMMENTS:
Sending prayers for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery!

Happy Valentine's Day!

xoxo
Margot
 
will be thinking of your dad (and you) today....
 
Will be thinking of you all. Wish I had some helpful info to share but have never been thru this. Best wishes for a speedy recovery for your sweet dad. *hugs*
 
Sending prayers & hugs to you & your dad! My husband went through a leaking valve operation. The recovery is pretty long - because of the cracked sternum - takes a long time to heal and fuse back together. The hospital gave us a heart pillow - important because they will need to hug it whenever they cough to minimize pain. So if your hospital doesn't provide that, you may want to get buy a small comfy one ahead of time. Hope he comes through with flying colors! Prayers & Hugs!
 
so much love for you and your family!
 
Hi Claudine - My dad had the exact same surgery several years ago. He had some minor issues immediately following the surgery, but once he got home he really did very well. The best thing for him is to take it slow, do the breathing exercises and walking they recommend, and don't let him play the "hero" and try to do things too soon. I wouldn't call it a "fun" process, but he felt SO much better afterwards - totally worth it. My dad also got the heart pillow - very important. I hope your Dad's surgery goes smoothly - will be thinking about you and sending good wishes for a speedy recovery. Best... Ellen x
 
Thanks so much everyone for the good thoughts and insight! He will be getting the pillow they said at intake today. Everyone says he'll feel so much better afterwards it will all be worth it!!
 
Will be praying for your Dad. The best tip I can give you that I know will help a lot is, When he is out of surgery make sure to stay on top of his pain medication, if he keeps taking it at the right time it will prolong the effect of the good pain meds they gave him during surgery and he could go days with a lot less pain. Just make sure you stay on top of them because if you get behind by just a little bit the pain meds may not work as well from there on out. Hope he has a quick recovery I know this will be tough on all of you!
 
I am praying for your Dad. Yes the pillow and the pain meds and find out exactly what he is allowed to do and not do once home, as men like him will try to do more than they should lol. He will feel better soon and you will see color return to his face right away from the improved blood flow, which is so encouraging. Will be thinking of you and your family!
 
Claudine...my Dad had a similar surgery and did beautifully for years afterwards. Your Dad sounds like such a fighter...I'm sure he will come through this as well as he has his previous medical issues. He's such a cutie!! I know how much you love him and are worried about him during and after the surgery. Prayers being sent up for a successful surgery and recuperation. Prayers being sent up for you Mom also...she may need a break after pampering your Dad while he's recovering. haha Love to all...<3 Candy
 
My dad had triple bypass a few years ago. First, he will look awful the first night - don't worry, it will get much better! Don't be afraid to be an advocate for him with the nurses and doctors. I apologized to one nurse for being kinda bitchy and she told me not to be sorry - they are very busy and they appreciate families advocating for patient needs. The heart pillow is really important and a box of tissues helps a lot - he will need to cough a lot to keep his lungs healthy and he will cough up crud. Once he gets home, try to get him into physical therapy - walking really helps recovery. My dad felt better than he had in years. Hugs to all of you!
 
Claudine, I hope your dad comes through with flying colors! I have known several folks who have had this open heart surgery for one thing and another, and the biggest problem they had when home was feeling very depressed. This kind of depression will go away after awhile, but while it is there, it is hard on the patient (and, of course, those who care for/about him). Depression is very debilitating, but one thing I have found is that a regular schedule (written down) of things to do and when to do them (like having breakfast, getting dressed, having lunch--mundane things) so you don'r have to make those decisions each time, can be a great help.
 
Thank you all do much for this important insight. These are the things the drs never tell you but are good to know! So Apprecaited!
 
Sending good wishes to your Dad and your family xx
 
It is heartwarming to see how you approach this. Wishing all the best for your dad!
 
Just wanted to wish your Dad a safe and speedy recovery X
 
My husband had the surgery almost two years ago and it takes a good year for the chest to heal.. The worst part was getting the cummin at the right dosage. This was my husband's 2nd open heart surgery...get them to give him a feel good drug before removing the tubes to calm him so he is not uncomfortable....very important that they do not pull all of the drainage tubes without it. Sending prays to you all.
 
Glad to hear it!
 
Claudine, your dad is so awesome and you are the light of his life. He is super strong and will be with you for a long time to come. I just know it!
 
Claudine, I saw your Facebook posts about your dad's open heart surgery and meant to post. Then pulled your blog up now and saw this. Both of my parents are gone. My dad had open heart surgery in 1993. He had blocked arteries. He had double bypass. He died in 2007 from pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs that is fatal). As to the open heart, I do recall pain from the cracked sternum. He didn't say a lot about it though. The day after the surgery he was all pumped up on those pain meds and feeling happy! They started to withdraw the pain meds slowly, then he wasn't so happy! LOL! He had a scar on his chest where they opened him up from and that was an annoyance the rest of his life. The scar caused some minor pain and tightness. He'd always be touching it and he told me it felt weird, some itching, but it felt tight is what he said. He ended up going to a plastic surgeon that took a look at it and he injected some cortisone along the scar. Since it was cortisone (steroid), he could only have 2 or 3 at the most a year. But he regularly went in at least once a year to get the injection. He said it helped the area relax and it wasn't as annoying. Another thing that my mom noticed about my dad was that he was more irritable after having surgery. She told me that he was always laid back which he was. But he developed depression after that. Mood swings. Not right after the surgery and recovery. It seemed to develop later. I remember hearing on the news that they have found that this is common for men that have open heart surgery. And as for in the hospital, someone being there all the time or as much as possible to be an advocate. I assume you know this already. It's interesting though, I noticed more of a difference when my mom was in the hospital. More ignored! My dad didn't seem to have that problem. My mom's health problems were different and actually more scary. Depression. I have told people that is what took her in the end, not the physical problems she was having, but her mental state. Anyway, I should probably have put this in an email instead!
 
I hope all goes well with your Dad's operation, Claudine. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs!
 
the pillow is a must, keep on top of the pain meds and MAKE him do the breathing exercises even tho it hurts. best of luck
 
Best wishes to your Dad and family. My mom had a similar surgery. Do watch for the depression. She also was more comfortable, when she came home, sleeping in a recliner chair rather than the bed.
 
Sending prayers your way♥ I love this picture of you and your dad...so sweet.
 
Sending prayers your way♥ I love this picture of you and your dad...so sweet♥
 
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