May 20: First of all, I’m fine, having gotten out of the surgery and out of ICU in a day. Just might get released tomorrow.

Well, gang, I’ll do my best to give you an up close of open heart by-pass surgery. So I was awoke on Tuesday, May 17 at 5 AM, this so a guy could manscape me from chest to toes, for the actually open heart surgery all the way to all the potential vein and artery harvesting sits in the arms and legs. Dude said, “man you’re in good shape, what the hell?” I did ask the docs earlier, if at all possible not to harvest from the legs, as those could potentially have long lasting effects. What’s more, they were more interested in left radial artery of the arm, and the internal mammary arteries. Then they had me shower with this special antibacterial wash, and gargle with this antibacterial mouthwash. My nostrils were swabbed with some kind of gel the night before. No water or food in the system since midnight, and of course that continued through morning. Kim came in at 6 AM.  Got in my gown and in came the delivery guy to get me to the doors of the OR. Kim hugged me and off I went, down into this massive OR complex, where there were just room after OR room. 

I was met at the door by this really friendly guy was was in charge of my breathing. We talked a bit about mountain biking, and then he introduced me to his bud, Jason who was a cyclist/triathlete on Was Lab team, and who was involved as an anesthetist. Have to admit it was good that these guys could keep me engaged in talk rather than let me just lay there and stare at the ceiling and wonder……………. Then I met my lead anesthetist and they wheeled me into this amazing room. It was filled with giant flat screen monitors, tons and tons of machines and then these massive clusters of lights above my head. Inside were at least 12-15 people dressed in full scrubs who where hooking up machines, cleaning and sorting surgical equipment. It was humbling indeed. I was moved to the right onto the surgical bed, with each are palm arm move facing up and at about 45 degrees to my torso. No sometime in the interim I’d been fed whatever it was to really knock me out via a catheter  in my right arm. Don’t even remember feeling sleepy. It was like that’s all I remember. This was at 7 AM. 

Woke up in another room with this tube down my throat, and I felt as if I were gagging with that thing so far down my throat. I couldn’t talk at all obviously, but was motioning for someone, anyone to take that damn tube out. I think I was kind of pissed as I mentioned and motioned to get that freaking tube out. Someone told me I had to wait another 30 minutes to make sure I was coming fully off the anesthesia. God, seemed like forever before they pulled that tube. Kim was there and I found out the time was 6 PM. Turns out I was on the OR table for 7.5 hrs, and in ICU 3.5 hrs before waking. Never, ever felt that crushed before in my life. I mean I was just a ball of protoplasm. And as I slowly came more and more back to the world I found I had these three big tubs going into my chest, tubes going into my carotid artery on the right, a catheter in my privates, and EKG’s and hookups everywhere, and this giant pressure bandage on my whole left forearm. 

Just felt as though I’d been hit by a train - and lived! Kim told me all was successful and that I’d gotten 5 by-passes, 5!!! Not only that but I’d had little to no actual heart tissue damage from the MI I’d suffered on Wed. Had them turn on the Cavs game and watched that, then just lay there the rest of the night in this weird state of half awake/half groggy. Horrible night. 

Next day, Wednesday, May 18, they began to get me ready for a possible move into post-opp. First they removed those big monster tubes from my chest cavity - one at a time, and it was painful. Next up was the catheter, not as bad as I’d thought it would go, and finally the stuff in my right carotid artery. This was all done after I was encouraged to get up and sit on a chair, to further let all that gunk drain out of my body. Final move was for me to be able to pee in a cup to I could show the folks in the post-opp dept. that I did not need a catheter. Managed to conjure up enough of a “collection” to punch my move out of ICU. 

Judy and Vic, and Kim managed to get in to see me that day, and they told me how good I looked. But by and large, I was just a weak, tired mess, and wanted nothing more than to talk and try to carry on a meaning full conversation. Tried to eat, but it was more like nibbling. They had me doing this spirometer exercise for ten reps once per hour. Had a few more tests and did a walk around the post-opp floor. But really I just wanted to sleep, but couldn’t, because of all this goop building up in my throat and forcing me to cough, which when your sternum has been split in half, is really painful! Tried to sleep in either a chair or with the bed in the highest upright position possible, to no avail. No sleep on Wed either.