Dreadful Dreaming: Nightmare and Sleep Tips for Cardiac Patients

Dreadful Dreaming: Nightmare and Sleep Tips for Cardiac Patients

As any good doctor will warn you, nightmares are one of the most common side effects of open heart surgery. Anxiety over an upcoming operation, the fear that another might soon follow, bad memories surrounding the first — with so many possibilities, it would be a bit surprising if you didn’t have a disturbing dream or two. But with all the stress of reality, who needs the extra burden of stressful slumber as well?
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Conversations With Older Men: An Unexpected Side Effect of Heart Surgery

Conversations With Older Men: An Unexpected Side Effect of Heart Surgery

“Excuse me, I couldn’t help noticing your heart pillow.” It may not sound like much of a line, but for weeks after my open heart surgery man after man walked up to me with those words or similar on their lips, hoping to start a conversation. Continue reading

Test Anxiety

Test Anxiety

I’ve got my first post-surgery CT scan coming up soon and, honestly, I’m a bit nervous. Not because of the scan itself; it’s a quick and painless enough procedure, though the blood work is annoying. So far I haven’t had any serious complications, but I can’t help worrying: what if they find something?
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Me vs Mortality: Coping With Fear of Death

Me vs Mortality: Coping With Fear of Death

The greatest gifts my AVR experience gave me were an epiphany — put simply, I wanted to live — and a newfound determination to fight for what I wanted. But the flip side of wanting to live is not wanting to die. Since surgery I have discovered a certain terror of death which I never experienced before, and when it hits, it hits hard.
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Pillow Talk: Tips for Maintaining (Some) Physical Comfort After Heart Surgery

Pillow Talk: Tips for Maintaining (Some) Physical Comfort After Heart Surgery

Open heart surgery is the enemy of physical comfort. If you’re about to have surgery (or have just recently rolled off the operating table), welcome to the wonderful world of feeling like a train wreck 24/7. While there will be pain medications — many of them — to take care of the big stuff, they won’t fix everything. Some things will still hurt, some quite unexpectedly. Coughing. Sneezing. Lying flat. Lying on your side. Even hiccups, of all the stupid things in the world. Luckily, there is something you can do about it. Continue reading