As many know by now, my aortic heart valve was replaced less than two weeks ago. When I think of what has been done to my body, there's plenty of freaky images to consider – for example, the surgeons sawing through my ribcage, stopping my heart and cutting it open while a machine pumped my blood for 90 minutes (sure glad my ticker started back up on command). There is another detail that is nagging me as the scars heal and the pain fades, though. My new aortic valve was harvested from a cow. Click here to read the rest of the story.
It's been eight days since I awoke in the cardiac intensive care unit at CU-Denver Hospital, yet it seems I'm just now rousing from the fog of that dream world. Simply learning to handle basic life functions on my own has been a draining task, filling up most of my days. It's an experience my body seems intent on forgetting as soon as possible. Already, those long hours of days and nights in the hospital bed, hooked up to machines with tubes coming out of me – including two horrifyingly large and sensitive "drain" tubes that came directly out of my belly below the ribcage – already those long hours of introspection are threatening to fade away in spite of my intentions. How can I tell this story? How can I describe the sense of change I have? I look almost the same, but my heart has been cut open and partially replaced in spite of my otherwise healthy 31-year-old body. Click here to read more.
I found out this past week that it's time to have my heart fixed. I have a condition where my aortic valve does not close all the way, which causes a handful of problems, and I am in a near-constant state of chest pain. My doctors first noticed the problem a little more than three years ago. They originally predicted I would need open-heart surgery to replace the aortic valve in about 10 to 20 years.