30/06/2009 By dadmin Off

Heart surgery at Papworth Hospital

We just came back from a different kind of trip: on 16 June my father had a heart surgery to replace his aortic valve. The operation was done at Papworth Hospital by Mr. Frank Wells. As a parenthesis, I find it quite weird that in UK surgeons are called Mr. As explained here, it seems to be a historical thing, but still weird…
The operation usually lasts around 4-5 hours, including all the preparation as well as the final details.
However, the actual time of the open heart surgery is more around 1 hour. My father was taken from the ward around 11am and he was brought to ICU around 2:30pm. It was quite stressful to sit and wait for the news. I have never been in such situation and I had no idea how it feels to go through it. I felt somehow better thinking that Papworth is one of the best heart surgery hospitals in UK and in the world and Mr. Wells is one of its best surgeons. That gave me quite some reassurance and I decided to put all my trust in him. We were also lucky that Papworth has such a nice lake and we spend the whole time outside, which helped a lot. Here are some photos from the lake.
Most annoying was that we barely had any signal on mobiles (crappy Vodafone coverage!) and we had to try to find a bench where we had 1-2 bars. Dirk seemed to be a good antena, so he had to stay put with the mobile phone on him 🙂
The call came around 2:45pm. The nurse from ICU said that all went perfect and that we can see him. We went first there for a few minutes, then, in a couple of hours, we went up to be there when he wakes up. It took some hours for that to happen, as the sleep medication slightly went away. At around 8:45pm they finally removed the oxygen tube and we could finally go home and rest. The following days were mixed: some days better some worse. Nothing major happened, but I never knew what to expect. My father was very chatty and positive one day and very gloomy another day. Considering the type of operation, I was impressed that he was able to start moving around 2-3 days after it. Though they say that the hospital stay is usually 5-7 days after operation, we could not go home because some blood values went too high and we had to wait till they came down. Which was not entirely bad, as my father gained more strength and confidence in the meantime. He was finally discharged on 26 June. He is now doing quite well and getting better everyday.