Heading home tips following open heart surgery

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters 

Open heart surgery.   Is there any medical procedure in history so surrounded by genuine awe and surreal mystique? Cracking open the sternum to reveal the beating heart beneath, and then somehow trusting a heart-lung machine to temporarily take over the jobs of both the human heart and lungs – now, that’s heroic! But when it comes to explaining just how that happens, few of us might guess that the most compelling and straightforward description comes not from the world of medicine, but from the venerable magazine, Popular Mechanics.
Continue reading “Heading home tips following open heart surgery”

The seven levels in the ‘Hierarchy of Heart Disease’

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

During my first evening at our “Heart to Heart” support group, the man sitting next to me leaned over and asked me: “What are you in for?”

I told him that I’d had what doctors call the “widowmaker” heart attack two weeks earlier, and that I now had a stainless steel stent implanted in a major coronary artery that had been 99% blocked.  He interrupted me with a cheery:

“Me too! But I have THREE stents!”

As he went on and on in exquisite detail about his cardiac event, I felt like my own was suddenly pretty puny by comparison. Three stents? How could I possibly compete with that? My previously-fascinating heart attack misdiagnosis story now seemed hardly even worth mentioning, really.

I came to observe during the  following weeks and months that heart patients, consciously or not, seem to slot themselves arbitrarily into what I call the unspoken Hierarchy of Heart DiseaseContinue reading “The seven levels in the ‘Hierarchy of Heart Disease’”