Wednesday, October 08, 2008

For You* Who Wanted To See The Scar


See, it's not so bad, in fact you can hardly see it.... it goes lower but you can't see it because this is a family blog. Yours will be even prettier if you are good and remember to wear sunscreen all the time. You'll be fine. I promise.

Here's how it goes... you show up early. Like the crack of dawn, but that's ok because you won't have slept the night before... you'll have taken a shower with the special soap you've been given so you are sterile and shiny. Take the opportunity to do a bang up job on the shaving because it's going to be awhile before you can defuzz.

So, you are there, checking in and you are in a little bit of a daze, because hello. Open heart surgery. And all of the administration people are just sort of blase and you might want to scream at them, "Hello! I am having open heart surgery here!" but don't, because they are jaded, but basically kind.

You sign a gazillion forms, which you didn't think would be necessary because yesterday, at your pre-op, you signed a gazillion forms and can't imagine there is any paper even left in the hospital. You slip on a thin hospital gown and sit on a bed making weird small talk with your husband.

There will be a few moments while they are bustling about when your husband will be asked to "step over here for just a moment" only "over here" will actually be outside and since he will have your glasses, you will suddenly find yourself alone, and not really able to see and it might be the loneliest moment of your life.

And you might cry. And just when you start to cry your husband will come banging back through the doors and say "Somebody needs to give my wife something" and thankfully, nurses are very nice and they will give you something and you will suck it up and smile and wave like a prom queen so that your husband laughs as you are wheeled down to the O.R..

At this point you will be in the coldest room known to man. Seriously, it's friggin' freezing in there and these very nice Jr. type surgeons and nurses will chat and tell you the Plan and then they will probably compliment you on your pedicure.

In one minute you will be asleep for the next 8 hours.

When you start to come to you will think 3 minutes have passed... you will think, "Damn, it's not even over!" at the same time you realize that you are in recovery.

And that you made it.

You'll be ok.

You really will be.

And next Tuesday, we'll all be thinking of you.

*edit - next Tuesday one of my readers is having a surgery very similar to the one I had back in '03... she is in her early forties, a wife a mother and a teacher... and she's scared.
Here is an excerpt on the email she sent me:

"... just knowing what you experienced could help. I need some idea of what to expect, because currently all I expect is the worst..."

26 comments:

Amy Y said...

Wow ~ I'm confused... did YOU have open heart surgery??

Kristin said...

Amy - I did, back in 2003... I clarified in my post what this is about... I have a reader facing a similar situation and she asked me via email if I would blog about my experience... sometimes, its the not knowing that is the scariest!

furiousBall said...

well best wishes to your reader. my father had a quadruple bypass and i was amazed at medical science that day and how quickly he was up on his feet and went home.

Kristin said...

Amy - I meant to say I went back in an clarified... sorry if I sounded snotty.

Van - I know! I was home in like 4 days or something... it was the wondering that scared me the most.

Anonymous said...

That scar is nothing! Looks great!

- Sarah :-) said...

Wow - my mother had bypass surgery on year ago from last Saturday. We actually went up to the hospital on the "anniversary" and showed her off and thanked everyone. She had a "CABG 5" for 6 blocked vessels. It was crazy how they were able to do everything in like 7 hours of surgery, and then she was home within a few days.

How was the recovery for you?

Amy Y said...

You didn't sound snotty ~ I appreciate the clarification!
Holy crap ~ you're right though, not knowing is the worst. I'm sure your reader appreciates your honest account of your experience!! Thank you for sharing that.

Shelley said...

Your scar looks great. And what a great account for your reader. I'm sure she'll be greatly comforted.

I was blown away at how quickly Rich was up and walking after his quad bypass. The advances in the science, techcnology, and surgical techniques for cardio patients are truly amazing.

Best of luck to her.

Joe said...

Obviously, I had no idea. It was sweet of you to share your experience with that reader - and to do it so honestly and yet in such a supportive fashion. Well done.

Ninotchka said...

Hugs to you and to your reader. I will say a little prayer.

Your scar is HAWT. Wait, can I say that on a family blog?

I love you, Kristin. Really and truly, I do. :)

mimi's mommy said...

Kristen, Tell your friend I wish her well. I think I told you my daughter has your scar(zipper, TOF), she's three and thinks it's lovely and everyone should have one! My husband and I kiss it every night.Carol

jenontheedge said...

The unknown is scary. Having someone talk you through is helpful!

mimi's mommy said...

P.S. I like your shirt/top/dress?Carol

dgm said...

Oh, reader, it'll be okay. That's sweet of you to share, Kristin.

I've heard that chicks dig scars. :-)

Los said...

In a word ... powerful! I applaud you for sharing!

I had knee surgery years ago, and YES the operating room is freezing, and YES when they put you under, it feels like you only slept a few minutes. Weird!

Jason said...

Frightening. What an experience! Is everything all better now?

Kristin said...

All better, thanks! It's funny, but it took me a minute to sort out just when the surgery had been... I had kind of forgotten!

Kayce said...

Your reader is in my prayers. Thanks for posting this Kristin, I'm so glad you're here today to share this with us.

Catholic Runner said...

I will keep your friend in my thoughts and prayers.

Also, thank you for commenting on my blog. I wasn't being rude and not responding. I just didn't realize anyone was reading me. Slowly but surely, figuring out this blog stuff.

Wendy said...

Sending thoughts and healing vibes to your reader.

That was a touching telling of your experience.

Tori said...

I remember this day so well. I remember popping in to see you in that ante room...
You had got Valentine's Day bags for the kids and you wanted to make sure they got them.
I also remember getting the pedicure with you the day before. Hell you might have been on the slab, but dammit if you weren't going to have great toes!
I remember waiting and waiting, having lunch with distant cousins, and waiting...
Then I saw you...looking beautiful and you said...
"Shit - it feels like they slit my throat"
I had tears rolling down coz I was so glad to see you there...all hooked up and beeping.
My brave, beautiful friend who NEVER EVER complained...
I love that fucking scar! I am sorry! I love it!
(Can everyone tell I am hormonally challenged?)

Joannah said...

You are good to share this with her and us.

Every Day Goddess said...

This was a beautiful post! Brought tears to my eyes. I will be thinking of your reader and keeping them in my prayers. Very nice of you to share such deep feelings with everyone.

Mel said...

Can I tell you how awesome your husband is? He is AWESOME.


Also, I'll be thinking of you, Reader. I hope knowing we're out here thinking of you, wishing you strength, helps you get through this.

carrie said...

Oh Kristin, I know your words will help her . . .you are an amazing, strong person.

Thank you.

Stephanie said...

Best wishes for your reader. Maybe she will be able to reciprocate in the future when she knows someone about to go through this surgery too.