Heart Pillow

Heart Pillow

On the Sunday after we returned from three weeks exploring the western slopes of Colorado, I went to the emergency room of the local hospital with 8 of 12 heart attack symptoms outlined by the Mayo Clinic. During the next eight days I underwent cardiac catheterization and echocardiogram procedures to diagnose my heart valve disease. Five weeks ago, I had a Mitral valve replacement at the Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s James Family Heart Center. My surgeon attempted to repair the valve, but in the end replaced it. The longer surgery time required me to remain on a ventilator longer. Like other cardiac patients, I was awarded a heart shaped pillow which holds the incision firmly in place when coughing. After several days in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, a space opened in the Transitional Care Unit. From there, I was released for home care with services from a Home Health Care nurse, a physical therapist, and a speech therapist. My wife has been essential to my recovery by overseeing my pills and appointments and preparing tasty food. The first weeks at home were rough. We had an EMT home visit to check me out and a couple of days later I spent five hours in the emergency room for a more thorough review of my vitals. I was generally weak and needed help with everything. I learned how to sleep on my back. I had a setback with a nasal hemorrhage which required another emergency room visit and three days with a tube hanging out of my nose. Beginning the fifth week, I’m feeling stronger, mastered climbing the stairs and started showering myself. I’m told that I should expect to keep improving over the next couple of months, especially by using Cardiac Rehabilitation services. I appreciate the opportunity to continue living life fully.