the new mitral valve marks its second year

IMG_0038This was the unconcious me two years ago at Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) of the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City. I was still enjoying that deep sleep post open heart surgery.

The third sister took this photo. She was camped outside the SICU with all our things since 6am that morning, when I was taken in to the operating room. 

I remembered begging the sister for chicken joy and coke for dinner the night before. I wasn’t supposed to consume fast food. But then again, there was that possibility of it being my last dinner or at least one I could enjoy so the sister gave in to my request.

At 10pm the previous night, I was to start fasting in preparation for the operation scheduled at 6am on July 3, 2015.

We didn’t really get much sleep so at around 3am, the sister and I took turns in the communal CR. Might as well deal with the operation preparations and avoid the risk of the morning rush hour at the communal CR.

At 4am, a nurse arrived to prep me for operation and at 6am, I was in the operating room. All I can rememberwas thinking about how bright those operating lights were – and how crowded the operating room was. That was one thing the movies/dramas didn’t get right. Slept into unconsciousnes with the clinking and clattering of metal as the other nurses made preparation.

When I woke up at SICU, it was nearly midnight according to the nurse.  I immediately checked if I could move my toes and my fingers. I was so relieved that I had control. See, I had this abnormal vein from a stoke I had prior to the operation. The neurologist was on standby during the operation because there was that possiblity of complications in that abnormal vein. The worst case included possible blockage somewhere in the brain leading to paralysis. The mitral valve replacement itself had a high success rate at more than 90%. It was that abnormal vein in my brain (from a previous that stroke I didn’t even notice) that the doctors were worried about.

Fortunately, I survived the operation okay. It wasn’t really easy but I knew I was very lucky that I had a lot less to worry about – compared with our neighbors in the ward. I knew I really had it better. I only needed to focus on my recovery.

Two years later, my bones should have healed from the surgery. I’m off any medication but I do have regular checkup and tests to monitor how the bioprosthetic mitral valve is doing. So far, it’s doing well. I also need to get my flu and pneumococcal  vaccines for this year.

Tonight, I needed to go out and take a jog –  just to celebrate that fact that I could jog.

I remember how I envied the joggers at Freedom Park during my first three months after the operation – when the mother finally allowed me to go out of her house. I could only walk during that time and in all that time in the field, I had that irrational fear that the chest wound would open up or someone would accidentally bump into me and the wound.


So tonight, I did manage to complete a jog – under the rain. I had my oversized raincoat so it’s all good. I was just worried about how emo I might have looked for some people in the area. Then I remembered that I’m already 30 and I’m allowed to not care about what other people think 😀

I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed being under the rain. The only discomfort I guess was having soaked shoes but not even that could dampen tonight’s celebration of the new mitral valve’s second year.



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