I returned to stay at my house after a week at my mom’s and it’s great to be home! My mother in law stayed a few more days with us to make sure I was settled. I’m getting into a routine each day and it’s fun to be able to go with Riley (our son) to school and check him in each day. It would be better if I could drive, but baby steps for that. Last week a friend and coworker, Melissa, drove me to the VA to visit with my staff and drop off treats to staff in the IICU, MSICU, cath lab, cardiac surgery, and nuclear medicine…basically all of the departments that were involved in the coordination of my care. It was awesome seeing everyone and showing off that I was doing pretty good…but, also exhausting to even walk from the car to the unit…it’s clear I still have a ways to go! I spend my days either helping get my son to school or going out to lunch with friends. I’m determined to enjoy life to the fullest!
At almost the 3rd week post-op, I noticed that the top scap of my sternal incision fell off in the shower…the problem is the incision isn’t closed underneath! Eeek! My husband looks at it and there is a hole in my chest, small, but still there. We call my surgeon and he asks me to come in to have it checked the next day. Back to the VA we go! The appointment goes well and he has to remove a suture as he thinks it’s an allergic reaction and not an infection, thank goodness. I’m put on antibiotics and told to keep it dry.
That afternoon I start feeling like the low grade fevers are coming on again, but this time more severe. I check my temp and it shot up to 100.2 in a short period of time. My husband has to call in sick and off to Kaiser we go. The fact that my incision was manipulated and now I have a fever is not a good sign. I spend an entire evening in the ER at Kaiser enduring multiple IV sticks, lab draws, blood cultures, and a CT scan with contrast. The Kaiser heart surgeon (who, ironically, used to work with my surgeons at the VA) even stops by the ER to check on me. Talk about wonderful care! I’m released with good news, there are no signs of a sternal infection but it does look like I have a bad sore throat, thus the source of the fever.
It seems that I never go through anything without some challenges and this is no different. It can get depressing at times but I’m determined to make the most of my second chance and try not to dwell on things. I’m following my medication regimen carefully and making it a priority to walk daily and improve my diet. Baby steps!