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BIGUN

Open Heart Surgery

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While I was in the Army, I was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve. I later learned from my friend and family doctor that I may some day need a valve replacement. Well, that day is here. I began experiencing problems back in August while exercising or over-exerting myself and it taking two-three times longer than the period of exertion to get my wind back. In December, I asked my Doctor to schedule me for an echocardiogram as "I was behind schedule" due to the life I lead... you know; socially-disconnected misfit, adrenaline junkie, workaholic who by nature has been generally irritating folks for sport since 1957. The result of the echo was; I have critical aortic stenosis and need an aortic valve replacement - which is a full open-heart invasion.

The prognosis is good and there's a 99% chance that it won't be long before I'm back to being a socially-disconnected misfit, adrenaline junkie, workaholic who by nature will be a new and improved "pain in the ass" and hopefully irritating folks at a new level. He tells me that I'll feel as good and be able to exercise, etc. like I was 25 years old again. And, how soon before I can go back to jumping outta planes, Sir?" I'm taking that as tacit approval with a time-line. :)

Of course, as with any open-heart surgery, there are risks and the risk discussion. Please know this: If God were to take me tomorrow, the only thing I could say is "Thank you." I have had a most wonderful life. I've got to love and be loved. Been to so many countries that most people can only dream about or see on the Discovery channel. It's been filled with great adventures, the ability to serve my country both with the 2nd Armored Division and 10 years in Special Forces where I not only had wonderful opportunities to test myself, but came away with the special kind of friends from the military brotherhood.

I have been on virtually every natural and sometimes man-made disaster since 2005 and know that my disaster response brotherhood - we made a difference.

And, my skydiving family has participated with me in some of the most wonderful times of my life. How many people can say they've seen an upside rainbow, seen a rainbow around their body shadow as they punch into a cloud, 4-way dived with the Golden Knights, been on an 8-way nekkid skydive, jumped from 24,000', seen a rainy stormy day at WFFC turn into an all-girls mud-wrestling contest, to going anywhere in the country and having dinner and wine with so many people I'd yet to meet, but known for years.

You'll understand that I'll be offline for the next few weeks. Doc ~C will keep you posted.

Keith
Nobody has time to listen; because they're desperately chasing the need of being heard.

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Best of luck to you.
You'll find it's quite an adventure you're about to undertake - remember "your pillow is your friend!'

Faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, more money.

Why do they call it "Tourist Season" if we can't shoot them?

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Best of luck to you.
You'll find it's quite an adventure you're about to undertake - remember "your pillow is your friend!'



+1. My mom had a similar surgery about four years ago. The pillow helped a lot. I think most hospitals have volunteers that come around and give them to you within a few days of surgery, but if not, get one.

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my brother (30 yrs old) just had open heart last monday. they did a double bypass. He is healing up nicely *other than small infection on the incision that is going to have to be adreesed tomorrow)

When you come out of surgery, and you wake up, don't freak out when they have your hands and legs tied down to the bed, with a breathing tube in.

good luck to you!
CLICK HERE! new blog posted 9/21/08
CSA #720

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Your ride isn't over yet, Bigun. From what you wrote. You caught it early enough. I'm glad you're in such a good space going into this. You're still relatively young & strong. If your Doc said you'll feel like you're 25 again while exercising. You don't have significant LVH (left ventricular hypertrophy). So, you should rebound beautifully from this. Older, sedentary patients are the ones to hedge your bets w/post-op. Most hospitals discharge you after five days, barring complications. Like a couple of other people here already said. Don't be a stranger to your heart pillow. Some guys don't like to be seen w/them, but they work. I'll tell you this because some surgeons don't. It's low on their priority list. Some younger patients have a hard time adjusting to mechanical valves. You can hear them working in your chest. Elderly patients shrug it off. Younger guys tend to get freaked out by it. Best of Luck to you. Speedy recovery & rehab.

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FWIW, my mom had a "valve job" done over 30 years ago (Dec 80) and she is still going strong.

It isn't a walk in the park, but it is a procedure that is done often.

Listen to the docs, don't flirt too much with the nurses, watch out for the food:P

Good luck.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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Please know this: If God were to take me tomorrow, the only thing I could say is "Thank you." I have had a most wonderful life. I've got to love and be loved. Been to so many countries that most people can only dream about or see on the Discovery channel. It's been filled with great adventures, the ability to serve my country both with the 2nd Armored Division and 10 years in Special Forces where I not only had wonderful opportunities to test myself, but came away with the special kind of friends from the military brotherhood.

I have been on virtually every natural and sometimes man-made disaster since 2005 and know that my disaster response brotherhood - we made a difference.

And, my skydiving family has participated with me in some of the most wonderful times of my life. How many people can say they've seen an upside rainbow, seen a rainbow around their body shadow as they punch into a cloud, 4-way dived with the Golden Knights, been on an 8-way nekkid skydive, jumped from 24,000', seen a rainy stormy day at WFFC turn into an all-girls mud-wrestling contest, to going anywhere in the country and having dinner and wine with so many people I'd yet to meet, but known for years.

You'll understand that I'll be offline for the next few weeks. Doc ~C will keep you posted.

Keith




Gotta love your attitude.

Sounds like you're upbeat about the whole thing and very thankful for your life.

You'll be fine.

I'm still saying a prayer for you though...;)
“The only fool bigger than the person who knows it all is the person who argues with him.

Stanislaw Jerzy Lec quotes (Polish writer, poet and satirist 1906-1966)

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Good luck with it, Keith. You gotta come out of that one on the other side - you still owe me a skydive or five. B|
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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let me start off by saying , best of luck and speedy recovery. Secondly, that was probably one of the greatest things ive ever read! i firmly believe every word you said and i have to admit im a tad jealous of your outlook of the past and your future. Blue Skies!!
Wait , I pull what first?

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Good luck to you, and may your surgery team be good enough not to need any.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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Good Luck man and may the Skygods be with you for a speedy recovery. Personally all the eventual health problems we all face as we age scares me more than anything else including jumping out of planes, scuba diving, rockclimbing or setting off demo charges.(EOD) I had some real minor health issues 3 years ago and it was really mentally taxing. Sounds like you will need a restful recovery and a bunch of jumps to fully recover. !

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That's a big chest and a big heart they're going to have to get after. Special Bigun tools? Like a giant surgically sterile logging saw?:P

Good luck, God's speed, I know you'll do great!
--"When I die, may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline."

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Hi Bigun,
Good luck, best wishes and etc...except for the grace of fortune go I in your shoes. The law of diminishing returns will catch up to me eventualy also. But for now, get thru this and I'll keep you in in my prayers. Big Blue Skyz to ya' buddy.
SCR-2034, SCS-680

III%,
Deli-out

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