Life changer – “T” minus 4


Only 4 more nights until the op. I should probably call it ‘a procedure’ as it sounds more professional. At least, that’s what they call this kind of thing on TV. I suppose calling it a procedure kind of leads you to think that this is routine. Of course, it is routine by the very nature that these experts do the same stuff everyday but that no way detracts from the complexity of the work this surgeon and his team will have to perform.

A family day yesterday for my father-in-laws 80th birthday. One of K***’s uncles was there and he has been through the very same thing. It was interesting to hear first hand from someone who has had the ‘procedure’.

What is strange, and I’m not sure how to take it, is the number of people that have wished me ‘good luck’. I hope I don’t have to rely on luck!! They also say things like ‘I’m sure it will be fine’ and ‘hope everything goes okay’. It must be difficult to find something to say that doesn’t sound like I need a four leafed clover at my bedside. I almost kind of liked what my GP said, after he had diagnosed my Pulmonary Congestion. His comment as he shook my hand was “See you on the flip-side!”

Saw my mother on Thursday. She seems to be getting a little confused I think, as she asked me if I had had my operation. I explained when it was and what was going to happen, but she is either blanking it out or she genuinely does not get it. As for the rest of my side of the family, not heard a peep from any of them since the message I posted to them all. It is a sad state of affairs when people outside your direct family are more interested than they are. But I’m not going to fret over it. I’ve enough to worry about (excluding this) at work and at home. The situation at work seems to change on a daily basis and I can see our new boss, G***** getting a little annoyed about it all. This is about our latest office move, of which I may blog about in another post . Then there is the worry about R***. How will he take it when he realises that I’m not there for a whole week which has never happened before, and that his recite has increased. He does not take kindly to change and it has been made slightly more difficult with S**** moving out. Just glad that K*** has not told the community nurse that S**** is not at home. Heaven knows what she would have said/done if she knew. With all this going on around me, the small matter of heart surgery pales a little into insignificance somewhat.

This is probably going to be the last post on the subject until the deed has been done. So in the words of my GP …..”See you on the flip-side….”

Life changer + 22 …. feeling a lot (little) easier


Well today went better than I expected. After a 1 hour wait, I saw the surgeon (or at least his registrar.) We had a very relaxed meeting/consultancy and quite a lot of things were discussed. It would seem now that, after all my doctor/consultant said, it may be possible to repair rather than replace the dodgy valve. A repair would be very much more preferable to a replacement, or so they say. It all depends on the day of the operation on which way they go.

Was told, that I should hear in the next two weeks or so, about the actual date of the ‘procedure’ which should be in three to four months. I now have more time to plan things out both in my head and at work/home. That makes me a lot happier!! I’m no longer thinking that this is a ‘life or death’ situation that the urgency of the past three weeks has hinted at. So I’m more relaxed about the whole thing. This ‘worst case scenario’ can often be more of a hindrance than a help.

So stay tuned, but it could be a few more weeks before Life changer + XX gets another outing.

Life changer + 21 … aka … bloody hell that was quick!


I did not mention it, but at the end of the angiogram procedure, the consultant told me that my arteries were ok. He also said that I would be contacted by the surgeon, and I thought he said within 3 to 5 weeks. The appointment letter came today, and the appointment is tomorrow!!! As I say ‘… bloody hell that was quick’. I’m now thinking that what he meant was that I would be contacted by the surgeon AND in 3 to 5 weeks I would have the operation.

It came as a massive shock, and I still have not got my head around it. It has still only been 3 weeks (that number keeps cropping up) since the ball started to really roll. I’m beginning to think that it’s a plan to get me in and get the job done, before I have too much time to think about it!

So now what’s happening is the well intentioned but less informed messages of support. Comments like “… they may keep you in and do it straight away, if they have a cancellation…” which seems to be the favourite of my manager. I don’t think it happens like that these days. Might get ‘bumped up’ a day once I’m in, but the way the NHS is at the moment, there’s just not the staff/time/money to do things like that now.

K*** is taking it very well, at least on the surface. I know from some the emails she has sent to R***’s support nurse that she is very worried. There are two counts for her worry. On one hand she is worried how I will cope with R***, given his sometime violent nature. But on the other hand, she is equally worried how R*** will cope with me being ill. It could be a bad time for all. However, we may all be getting this wrong and R*** will be fine and understanding. It’s something you cannot tell with R***, but I don’t intend to worry about that.

Work is being very good about all this. They have done me a favour last week with my time off, and I’m very grateful. So tomorrow, I’m working from home in the morning (will set up after this) then taking flexi time in the afternoon. Can’t beat a bit of give and take.

Get ready for tomorrows update, if they let me home!!

Life changing day . . . .


    As the title says, today was life changing. I may have mentioned it before, but I have what is called an Abnormal Heart Murmur or a Regurgitation or more commonly, a Leaky Valve. I’ve probably had it since I was born, but it was only noticed about 8 years ago. Since then, I have been regularly monitored at hospital. There has always been the view, by the doctor, that one day, the valve would need replacing. It has always been, in the doctors words “…. a conversation for the future…” That future arrived today. I had my regular ultrasound appointment closely followed by an appointment with my doctor. I had the strange sense that something was different during the scan. It normally take 20 – 25 at the most, but on the doctors’ instruction, the radiologist took a lot more readings, and in the end, it was nearly 50 minutes before the job was done. It was now time to see my doctor, Dr Mc****y.

    The results of the scan, were a bit late in coming from the radiology department, so I had a bit of a wait before I was allowed into see Dr M. When I say ‘… a bit of a wait…’ it was about 45 minutes, which I don’t consider long at all. You should have heard the moans and groans from the patients that were there. Everyone was complaining about how long it was taking and how long they were delayed. For f**k sake, it’s not the end of the world if you have to wait 30 – 40 minutes to see your doctor. It is usually because some earlier patient was late or had been given some bad news. Just get over yourself, you’re not the only important person in the place !!!!! I apologise for the mini rant, but it does get me so cross.

But I digress. So my notes are delivered and after another 5 minutes, my turn comes. Dr M asked how I was and asked the usual questions eg do I get out of breath, can I still do everything I used to etc etc. I usually say I’m fine, but recently, I have been getting a little out of breath doing things like climbing stairs. That was it! He was like a cougar, jumping into action. He examined me for about 10 minutes and then hit me with the bombshell …… “I think I need to talk to the surgeon at the next meeting.” I just sat there nodding and saying shit like “fine” and “okay” and “I understand”. What he was basically saying, and he did not mince his words, was that I need my mitral valve replacing, and it needed doing soon.

I shall leave this as a bit of a cliff hanger …… to be continued!

Improving times


It’s just over three weeks since the operation, and it’s been a bit of a rough time for Mrs H. The main wound seems to have been okay, apart from leakage the first week, and a slight infection at the bottom end. That is right on the  crux of her elbow, so any movement would have delayed any healing there. No, the main problem has been her underarm. As part of the procedure, the surgeon performed, what I understand to be called a ‘Nodal Survey’. This, I believe is to check whether the Melanoma had spread to her ‘nodes’, which is not a very good thing to happen. Well, this has been where the main problem has been. Last Thursday, she could feel that there was more tenderness in her underarm that there had been the week before. Also there seemed to be a ‘bit of a lump’. By Saturday, this had turned into a very painful swelling, and did not seem to be getting any better. A very very disturbed night followed, and on Sunday morning she rang the ‘out of hours’ doctor. She was told to go straight to the emergency department at the hospital, as it sounded like a cyst. The only problem with that, was that R***’s support worker could not take him out that day, so he would have to come with us. So with a fully medicated son in tow we sped off. We were only in the place for about an hour, before we were on our way home with a packet of antibiotics. Job done. R*** had coped extremely well, and I think they may have pushed her up the queue a little, because of him. The infection is starting to improve a lot now, but the ‘Jubilee Holiday’ has been a bit of a damp squib, and not just because of the weather.

Work has been brilliant !!! Firstly, letting have the time off the week Mrs H had the operation, and now they have allowed me to take leave this week. Mrs H really could not have coped on her own, with R***. He can be difficult with all of, when there are no other problems. So a big thanks to them. Seems different, having a management team, that are willing to put themselves out for an individual. It’s not really happened with the last ‘team’. I’ll be glad to get back and start to become a real part of the team.