Mended Hearts Open Forum

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my first post

  • 1.  my first post

    Posted 07-16-2018 10:27
    Hello everyone. I have never in my life posted anything to a message board. On May 25th 2018 I had the carpet ripped out from under me when I went to the ER with some difficulty breathing. I was told that my left main artery(the Widow Maker) was about 95% blocked. They did attempt to install a stint but it was unsuccessful so my surgeon told me I would need to have open heart surgery. I was floored! I'm 42 years old! I'm a husband and father to two children(ages 3 and 7) and all I could think of was the possibility of them growing up without there daddy.
    I had surgery the next morning and then woke up in ICU to begin my process of recovery. Staying in the hospital for a week was hard! Its the longest I've gone without seeing my kids. I didn't want them to see me with the drain tubes and IV and such hooked up. Especially my 3 year old. A day or two before I came home I did allow my daughter(the 7 year old) to come visit.
    Once I got home I feel like it got harder. I started to get really down. I started to get depressed. My doctors all told me that these were normal feelings and they would pass in time. It didn't make it any easier. I felt like a useless member of my family. A burden! I couldn't make a living for my family, I couldn't help around the house, and I couldn't be the rough-housing dad I had always been for my babies! I missed wrestling with them. I had to keep telling them to "be careful with daddy!"
    This Thursday will be 8 weeks since my surgery. For the most part I feel better physically. I still hurt most days, some are worse than others. Mostly soreness and stiffness. I went back to work on July 2nd. Mostly because sitting at home wasn't doing much for my mental health. The depression is better but not great. I keep looking forward to feeling "good" again. I suppose it will come in time!
    If you read this, thanks for reading my venting. I hope you or your loved one are doing well in there recovery.

    chris rhoads
    maintenance director
    land clearing specialists
    beaver PA

  • 2.  RE: my first post

    Posted 07-16-2018 14:26
    ​Hi Chris,

    My story is similar to yours.  On February 12, 2018, I felt pressure in the middle of my chest and pain in my shoulders.  I knew it wasn't workout soreness so my wife and I went to the ER.  The doctor said I had a mild heart attack and that they'd do an angiogram later in the day and hopefully be able to fix the blockage with a stent.  Well, they did the test and the next thing I was told was that I had major blockages in five coronary arteries, "including the widow maker" and that hey had scheduled me for bypass surgery the next morning at 7 am.  I told my teenage daughter and my wife that they could expect me to be in the hospital for a week but that I would be okay.

    When I awoke after surgery, I learned that I had been intubated and sedated on a ventilator for two weeks post-surgery due to ventilator contracted pneumonia and a "c diff" infection.  At least all my tubes were removed while I was asleep and I didn't look like a Christmas tree (my brother's words) anymore.  My wife hadn't wanted my daughter to see me with all the tubes, so she didn't let her visit.  My daughter finally showed up after I was awake for a few days, when she and her friend snuck up to the ICU to visit.

    Anyway, I spent another three weeks in a rehab hospital learning to do things like walk again and, although I had period aches, pains and was very tired, I gradually got stronger.  It's now five months post-surgery and I feel much better.  I've been back to work these last two months, working out at my gym lifting weights again and walking a lot.  You'll get there too my friend.

    Best of luck to you and your family,


    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ

  • 3.  RE: my first post

    Posted 07-17-2018 15:18

    Hi, Chris my name is Tom I am a survivor of (3) open heart surgeries. I was 41 (4) children 12, 5 and 3 year old twins, when  I had to have aortic valve replacement, 17 days later I was back in surgery having Mitral valve replacement, my hospital stay was 89 yes 89 days. I went  through all of the emotion that you are feeling now. Trust me you need to takes it one step at a time and you will continue to improve and feel better every month. I now have had a 3rd valve replacement and a "quad bypass" (8) years ago 49 day stay, a stent & a ICD installed since my original surgeries. Keep the faith my children are now 47,35 & the twins are33. I am now 71 years old still working full time, I have tried  retirement twice and it hasn't worked for me. I volunteer with Mended Hearts and continue to move forward. Stay positive, keep moving, and stay healthy and you too can get old and gray like me.


    Tom Seiter

    Mended Hearts # 126

  • 4.  RE: my first post

    Posted 07-18-2018 11:24
    ​Hi Tom,

    89 and 49 days!  Wow.  I was in the acute care hospital for 22 days and the rehab hospital for an additional 18 days for my CABGx5 surgery, pneumonia and c diff complications in a two week medically induced coma at age 67.  That was five months ago.  It is amazing what we can and do survive.

    Congratulations on being alive and continuing to live your life!  I know that I count my blessings every single day, and the stuff that used to bother me just rolls off my back now.


    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ

  • 5.  RE: my first post

    Posted 07-21-2018 17:58
    Chris, I have a kindred feeling towards you because I had a very similar  experience. I had a 5xCABG on May 24th after being told on two occasions after trips to the ER and one 24 hour stay in the Lake Nona VA that my heart was fine...The recovery process is  just that- a process. I have days that I feel good and positive about recovery. But I also have days of sadness and the surreal feeling of coming face to face with God. Just remember, take it slow. Rest when you need to and excercise as much as possible. The sadness/depression gets better. Godspeed in your recovery.

    Paul Benoit
    CABGx5 Guy
    Apopka Florida