Tag Archives: waiting room

Waiting Room Rules

“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.”― George Carlin

I have learned from my peers over at valvereplacement.org that the time (days, weeks, months, even years) leading up to one’s heart surgery is appropriately nicknamed ‘The Waiting Room’. I still have a month and a half to go, but I have learned quite a bit about coping during this difficult period. I decided to make a Waiting Room rule list. Perhaps this list can help some future valve recipient.

‘Waiting Room’ Rules

  1. It is okay to be nervous, but do not let it consume you. Stay busy.
  2. Stay busy.
  3. Bring your loved ones, and trust that they will stay with you.
  4. Trust that your loved ones will be there (and still love you) when you get out of surgery.
  5. Exercise while waiting. Define restrictions and limitations and stay as active as possible.
  6. Daily responsibilities may be forgotten due to stress. Create daily checklists.
  7. Reduce stress with any or all of the following strategies: Exercise, Yoga, meditation, reading, attending social gatherings, traveling, blogging, talking, hugging, starting new hobbies, laughing, breathing.
  8. No yelling.
  9. Crying is okay.
  10. Do your research. Become as knowledgeable about your condition/ surgery/ recovery as your doctor.
  11. Stay positive by following this procedure: If life seems bad, adjust perspective. Repeat if necessary.

*ADDITION: I polled the audience over at valvereplacement.org to get feedback about this list. Other ‘Valvers’ chimed in with additions and constructive criticisms to my list. See that thread here: http://www.valvereplacement.org/forums/showthread.php?42161-Waiting-Room-Rule-List

Fear or: The Waiting Room

Wherever I read about receiving heart surgery, the people who have gone through it always say the same thing; the hardest part is waiting, and life is better on the other side. Trusting these individuals can make things easier, however this is a hard thing to do. I’ve never met anyone in my situation outside of the Internet. They are correct though. The time leading up to surgery, nicknamed ‘The Waiting Room’, is a scary place. But what am I afraid of? The data is on my side. Science, technology, and the experience of my doctors and surgeons are behind me. So what is the fear? The fear is of the unknown. I am nervous about the pain of course, about being weak, and all that. But I am afraid most of what I don’t know. It is hard to feel out of control. I must place my life and my trust into the hands (LITERALLY) of another human being. He will be a pilot, and I will be a sleeping passenger…
HOOOKAY, that was dramatic. Glad I got that out of my system!
Good news to report: I’ve been cycling with my heart rate monitor on, and it is quite easy for me to ride as much as I want while keeping my BPM well under 140. I rode 25 miles the other day while averaging 122 BPM. I peaked at 140 exactly and was able to slow down and bring it immediately down while going up a big hill. When I get the hang of my workout app Digifit, I will post results.

P.S. since I created this blog, I have received many messages of support and love from my family, friends, and strangers. Thank you all so much. People like this matter: