Heart patients are like all other patients in one major way: we have important quality-of-life questions for our doctors, like: “How long will it take after my _______ (insert name of medical procedure) before I’m feeling well enough to _______ (insert whatever it is you want to get back to doing: drive, fly, golf, have sex, return to work, etc.)?”
Each surgical scar on my body tells a story. The big long one that tracks across my lower right abdomen tells of an appendix that ruptured on my 16th birthday – and the subsequent month I spent in hospital seriously ill with peritonitis and creepy drainage tubes. Two scars on my right knee tell of surgery after an unfortunate slide down a big pile of gravel. Another meandering zig zag tells of a nasty piece of broken glass once embedded into my left palm, its evidence exquisitely masked by the skilled plastic surgeon who sewed my hand back up.
Women who have survived open heart surgery sometimes have traumatic stories to tell about their very noticeable chest scars, and mixed emotions about whether “to hide or not to hide” this evidence of their cardiac history, particularly in the early weeks and months post-op. Continue reading “Learning to love your open heart surgery scar”→