That Time My Heart Broke. Literally. – Part 30 (The Open-Heart Surgery Chapter)

October 31, 2012

An idea of what I was like after open heart surgery - half woman, half machine.
An idea of what I was like after open heart surgery – half woman, half machine.

It’s Wednesday night , so the story continues.

Picking up from last week

I changed into a hospital gown, and gave all my stuff to hospital personnel.

I think I had to sign yet another “you may die from this form.” Yep. You might die from anything. We’re good here.

I don’t have anything to say from when I was put under and when I woke up.

Waking up after surgery is weird, right? It’s weird when you wake up and have all these wires and drains sticking out of you. After open-heart surgery, I feel like you’re part-machine, part-human for a bit.

That was something that stood out to me in this little pre-surgery pamphlet they give you – the list of all the millions of things coming out of your body – tubes, wires. (Stiffens hands and arms and starts doing robot moves for you.)

So, I woke up as a bionic woman. I slept a lot in the first day.

Then, I got hooked up to my own morphine machine. I got to control how much medicine I got. I kept that sucker at the max all the time.


(dum dum dum – scary chords) Wednesday.

Before Wednesday, I was almost lying completely flat in the bed. I don’t know what it was about my stomach – if one of my many new contraptions was coming out of it or what, but it hurt like heck to sit up. That was no doubt the most painful part. I wanted to constantly be flat. Alas, the nurses would not allow that to continue forever.

This is the third and final time I cried in the hospital – the only time I cried from physical pain at Mass Gen. The nurse making me sit up didn’t seem to be too empathetic. “You have a morphine drip.” There is not enough morphine in the world! Though I did just keep pressing the morphine button until I fell asleep.

Speaking of pain, my sternum, baby. My sternum. Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch.

I never realized how much sternums are used until mine was cracked open. When you sneeze, you sort of, a little, are pretty sure you’re gonna die.

Don’t let anyone tell you anything funny while you’re recovering. Laughter hurts just as much.

I didn’t have any visitors, and I was extremely grateful for that. I would’ve been the most uninteresting person in the world. I slept a lot, and that was pretty much the extent of it.

Even though I didn’t have anyone physically there, I of course checked in with my dad by phone. (I really, really appreciated he restraint on respecting what I wanted and not coming to Boston. I love him to pieces, but he can’t put his life on hold for his adult daughter. (Plus, I was oh so tired. I don’t know how I could’ve had the energy to be around more people.))

(I, of course, talked to my high school theater teacher. She’s kind of my rock…)

And I Skyped with Stephen. He was in Greece at the time, which is, I’m sure, why he wasn’t busting in the hospital room, trying to show me how I needed visitors after all. Though, I will say, when he was there in person (in previous hospital stays) – he came bearing gifts of delicious, amazing food.

I so appreciated the McDonald’s and Ben and Jerry’s he had brought in the past. Yum. Of course, I wasn’t super hungry most of the time after open-heart surgery anyway. This time around, I wasn’t missing much.

So, I spent about a week in the hospital. I’ll talk a little more about that, the scar, and more in future posts (including next week‘s).

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