That Time My Heart Broke. Literally. – Part 31 (The Time in the Hospital After Open-Heart Surgery Chapter)

November 7, 2012

Aurora De Lucia immediately after having open-heart surgery
I had the presence of mind to think “you may want one picture of this in the future to remember it.” If only I’d known I’d be writing a freaking novel, I’d have thought to take more! (Sorry.) Here’s the one I’ve got!

It’s Wednesday night , so the story continues.

Picking up from last week

Eventually, they took me off of my morphine drip. This was pretty much the saddest thing ever. But, i guess eventually you have to start becoming a fully functioning human again.

Speaking of becoming human, they started taking tubes and wires out throughout the week. I don’t know exactly what everything did, but you balloon up a good number of pounds afterward ’cause your body has extra – I don’t even know – in it. Whatever it is, it all gets drained out.

Once the drains and IVs and temporary pacemaker wires were no longer needed, we got rid of them. What I’m saying it, I’m no longer part machine. Wah wah.

I got to start breathing into this little… it almost seemed like a toy, but it was a little blue thing you got to blow into to raise a little ball thing. It would measure how well your lungs were doing.

You had to do three things before you were allowed to leave the hospital – walk up a flight of stairs, take a poo, and… I forget the third thing! I think it may have been to sit completely upright? I don’t remember. Maybe you do if you have open heart surgery.

But how funny is it to look back on that time and remember that week’s goals? When was the last time people cheered you on for walking and taking a poo? We’re like little toddlers in there.

I think I was pushed a little harder than some ’cause I was “young” (which is a relative term – we’re all old to someone and young to someone else). Some of the nurses seemed to want me to get up and start walking around very soon after surgery.

I know you all are on my side and looking out for me, but cut a girl a break! My sternum hurts. I appreciated the “tough love” nurses during the day. But there was a nurse at night who was very patient and sweet (and even gave little back massages!).

I remember when the night nurse took me to the stairs to make sure I could climb a flight. I went up slowly at first, thinking a “flight” meant all the way to the next floor. I want to run, but thought I’d ease in, seeing what I was capable of. I wanted to run for it once I got to the landing!

(Photo credit:
(Photo credit:

Turns out the landing was as far as I had to go. And she didn’t want to let me run up stairs. Boring. (She said she had enough adventure in her life as is.)

Nurses got me moving more and more each day. Walking was measured in how many times you could walk around the floor (a pretty small floor) – odd for someone who used to measure her distance in miles.

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While we’re speaking of the hospital, let me jump back for a second to previous visits. I forgot to mention this when I was in the hospital for my blood clots and such. One of my great friends from high school who was living in Boston at the time asked if I wanted to hang out. I was all, “yeah, but I’m kind of trapped in the hospital.”

There was some weird little window where I was healthy enough to be allowed to go to the cafeteria on my own and drink some milk with my friend, but not healthy enough to be discharged. It was also a weird window in that I was all “sure, bring me a visitor!” when oftentimes I didn’t want them. (It helps that I went to high school with her. I have an extremely tight knit bond with my high school buds. We’d walk through fire for each other.)

It was actually super fun to see my friend and to have a little in-hospital adventure. It felt like I was some kind of explorer/adventurer to get to go off my floor and into the uncharted territory of… the lobby!

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Back to open-heart surgery week – well, we’ll pick up here next week.

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