xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' The Font of Noelage: February 2015

Saturday, 21 February 2015

My heart stood still.

Over a month has passed since I last visited my Blog site. May I hasten to assure you, Dear Reader, that my quadruple heart bypass referred to in my last Blog was a great success. My operation took place on January 22 and, after excellent care at the Mount Hospital, I returned home on January 30th. Many thanks to everyone who sent prayers, good wishes and happy vibes in my direction. They worked! 

My operation was slated for 12-30pm and that was the time on the big clock in the room as the anaesthetist and some nurses started hooking me up up to various tubes and machines.  The clock ticked on. I wondered if a big clock showing 12-43pm in Roman Numerals would be the last thing I would ever see on this earth. Then the anaesthetist said, “Sending you to sleep, Noel” and all the lights went out.

During the next five hours  my chest was cut open from my breastbone to my sternum. They hooked me up to a machine which pumped blood around my body. They did not take my heart out of my body, they just injected it with Potassium to stop it beating while the surgical team worked around it. My skilful surgeon, Dr Sanjay Sharma, harvested veins and arteries from my chest and my left leg so as to provide the necessary material for the four bypasses that I required. I didn't feel a thing.

The next thing I remember is someone removing a large metal tube from my throat. Sometime after that I woke up as nurse adjusted one of the tubes in my chest.

“What time is it?” I enquired.

“A quarter past one in the morning” she replied.

Thank you, God, I said to myself. The next thing I knew another nurse was giving me some  tablets and telling me it was five thirty in the morning. They told me later that I had come into the Intensive Care unit at about 6-00 pm the previous evening.

In Hospital Land the day of the operation is called Operation Day and the subsequent days of recovery are called Day One, Day Two and so on. Well, Lesley came and saw me in the Intensive Care Unit at about ten thirty on Day One. I was very happy to see her. In fact I was very happy to see anyone. I kept saying how great I felt. Lesley told me that I was on a high and to stop raising my voice. 

The nurses had hooked me up to some powerful painkilling liquid, probably morphine, which I could dispense to myself by pressing on a little grey plastic button, similar to a TV remote. They showed me a little green light on the device. To stop people overdosing the light only came on when a suitable time had passed between doses and the instrument could deliver another shot of heavenly bliss. Unfortunately, I misunderstood and thought that every time the green light came on I had to hit it for another fix. Hence my heightened state of euphoria when Lesley arrived.

When the ward doctor came around at about 11-00am I was still feeling very, very happy. She asked how I felt.

“I feel great,” I yelled. “I cannot believe it. I have just had major surgery and I feel terrific. I thought I would feel like I had been hit by a bus but I feel great!” The doctor smiled and moved away.

The next day the bus turned up!

But that all seems so long ago and I am now at home and well on the road to recovery. Apart from a washed out and weary look, all I have to show for the experience is a 16 centimetre scar where they cut from my sternum to my breastbone and a long, yet graceful, scar on my equally graceful left leg. Like my graceful left leg, this scar stretches from my groin to my ankle bone. This scar occasionally lets me know it is there by producing burning sensations and sharp stabbing pains at various places.

They also took my mammary artery out of my chest to provide the basis for the arterial bypasses. Unfortunately, there is no scar to show that they did this. You will just have to trust me. However, the mammary artery is not forgotten, because when I told my cardiologist I was getting little pencil pricks of pain in my left chest he explained that this was due to the mammary artery being removed. So although it has gone, my mammary artery is not forgotten. A case of “Thanks for the Mammary.”  
I know, I know, it is a terrible pun but it is the best I can come up with in my present condition.

Since coming home, under the ever watchful eyes of Matron Lesley, I have continued to improve and am gradually getting my body strength back after my five hours or so on the operating table. The doctors say it will take four to six weeks, so I am more than half way there.

At present, I am walking about a kilometre twice a day. The lovely Matron Lesley accompanies me on these walks which is very, very nice. However, I sometimes wonder if she walks with me to prevent me finishing up like the mother-in-law of the fellow who once said, “My mother in law walks five kilometres every day and now we don’t know where the heck she is.”

A lot has happened in the world since I had my operation, but just at present I do not have the motivation to put anything on my blog about it. Maybe you, Dear Reader, could suggest a topic or two? Maybe something lighthearted?

The huge turnaround in the Queensland state election was a lesson to everyone that voters are now very volatile and no party, no matter how big their margin, is ever really safe. Same for our Captain in Chief, The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. He spent three years destroying two Labor Prime Ministers, Rudd and Gillard, and has now almost destroyed his own leadership in less than 17 months.

I suppose I could write about these matters but just at present my heart

isn’t in it.

Maybe next week.


Does this man look like he has been hit by a bus? Day One in Intensive Care. Note the folded towel which I held to my chest whenever I coughed. The red serviette is just for decoration.

My scarred but still graceful left leg.