I started posting the first segments of what became "The Open Heart Series" in my "Personal Blog" in the weeks before I went to CU-Denver Hospital to have my chest sawed open and have my aortic valve replaced. Writing was a way to process what I was going through, including the massive fear I faced. Somewhere along the way, I realized it would be a good idea to consolidate the stories as much as possible, so that others facing a similar experience might benefit from an outline of what I went through. In an effort to put all the scattered stories into one place, I have the hyperlinked titles listed below in chronological order. More related stories are still on the way, perhaps for a long time to come.

Facing the Future with an Open Heart

Clinging to the Moment with an Open Heart

An Aspiring Hardman

Don't Watch the Movies

Walking the Long, Red Hallway

Going Under in 3, 2, 1...

While I was Out

Waking Up to a Fresh Start

Still Waking Up

Pills, Pills, Pills, Rest, Rest, Rest

Eating What I Am

Back on the Rock

Muscles Are Weak Without the Mind

Continued, Spectacular Recovery

 

Posted
AuthorDerek Franz

My first memory of waking up after five and a half hours of open heart surgery is vague except for one powerful feeling: joy. I'd survived. And my family was there in the ICU with me. I wanted to talk to them – I was so excited to be through it – but I had a tube in my throat, and tubes coming out all over my body. Read more

Posted
AuthorDerek Franz

Hearing people talk about what happened while I was in surgery for five and a half hours is like hearing my parents' stories about the day I was born. I was there, but I wasn't. For this segment, I interviewed my fiancée, and my mom and dad to get an idea of what they went through in the waiting room during the operation, and afterward while I was recovering in the hospital for several days. I asked them in particular if they had any advice for people facing a similar waiting-room experience. Obviously it was a very emotional time for all involved. Emotions are tricky things to pin down objectively. That makes it hard to offer concrete advice, but I will try. ... Read more

Posted
AuthorDerek Franz

Six weeks after open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve, I finally got around to Googling videos of the procedure. If you are about to have open heart surgery, I would recommend not doing a Web search before you go in.

Posted
AuthorDerek Franz