One of the most ‘heartening’ aspects of being a CABG patient is the realisation that the cardiac care team, working this complex process, apparently represent the entire world. With specialist nurses from Korea, Sudan, China, UK , India, Australia and elsewhere,
it was good to see they all shared the same level of professionalism and care. I became particularly aware of their laser-focus on monitoring, reporting and alarms. Highly trained, they all knew all aspects of the CABG process – and the importance of their role in it. They were also aware that my comfort (or otherwise) could effect the speed of my recovery, so they always enquired as to any pain I might have so that they could offer some pain relief. I had very little – and I’m generally regarded as a whimp but only needed it for the first three days after being transferred to the cardiac ward.
Another interesting and heartening aspect of my time in Adelaide’s Calvary ‘City’ hospital’s cardiac ward was the breadth of their client base. Whilst it’s my understanding that their staff may come from everywhere in the world the same would appear to be true of their patients. Either way, these two observations buoyed my emotions – the world is capable of looking after everyone – here was the proof.
One of the weirder aspects of being effectively ‘re-born’ when they restarted my heart on the 14th of April is that they may have made me into an Aries! Certainly my emotions have been disturbed (‘though those who know me would say “you’ve always been weird” ). Apparently the ‘Cardiac Blues’ is a known condition that effects many CABG recipients and I am now, thankfully, receiving treatment for it. As I’ve already said, I’m weird anyway, so perhaps I don’t have the Cardiac Blues!
Also, I’m not sure if there is a relationship between how fast I heal and how fast my cannulas or PICC line connectors ’tissue up’ but I certainly have difficulties keeping an ‘open’ port through which IV’s might be introduced. My mum always said “we’re fast healers” – as was evidenced when I found her 4 weeks after her own open heart surgery (repair to a possible Aortic Aneurysm) up a ladder cleaning the windows at home! I’m avoiding ladders at the moment as I’m trying to stick to the recovery guidelines now that I’m free of IVs and the like.
Fortunately for me one nurse working at the Calvary, Margaret, was acknowledged as the master of ‘freeing’ such ports without risk of pushing a potentially Stroke -inducing clot into my blood. Painless too! She would frequently remind me that I have to “tell the nurse to flush the line every 6 hours”. I guess that means she was getting tired of having to waste 5 or 10 minutes clearing my lines every day she was on duty (I suspect that she likely had to perform this same task for many of the other patients on the ward). Following CABG guidelines it could be that everyone heals fast!