Tag Archives: Bypass Surgery

It is what it is

Whew, it’s been a long time since my last post.

Last Christmas my husband, Marc had just come home from his open-heart surgery where he received 4 bypasses. He ran into a complication where fluid had collected in his lungs during surgery. Essentially, when he came out of surgery, he was drowning from the inside out.

And what do you do if you have fluid in your lungs? You cough.

And you cough, and cough, and cough.

Marc coughed so much that he couldn’t sleep for more than a few minutes at a time. This went on for two weeks. As anyone who is trying to recover from anything knows, if you can’t sleep, your body can’t heal.

On Christmas Eve, I called the hospital and let them know I was bringing him in. I honestly wasn’t sure if he was going to make it through the night at home. The guy was just so exhausted.

Instead of having him come in, they prescribed a hefty dose of a narcotic cough suppressant. Marc took it and for the first time since surgery was able to sleep and have some distance between coughing spells.

That’s when he finally started to heal.

During cardiac surgery they saw through your sternum vertically and when the surgery is done, they put it back together with wire ties. Marc’s coughs had been so violent that he broke two of the wires near the base of his sternum and shifted a third.

When we got that news, we weren’t really sure what it meant other than “boy, that sure was a bad cough, wasn’t it?”

Now, a year out, we know exactly what that meant. Marc’s sternum kept getting separated when he coughed and so it never knitted back together. He has what is called a non-union sternum. And he doesn’t even have functional wires ties that will hold it together in its two pieces.

This means that when he moves, he feels his sternum bone(s!) moving around. Often when they move, they catch and painfully pinch tissue. Rolling over in his sleep causes pain. Thank God he has a job where he sits at a desk because even too much walking is uncomfortable.

There are some surgeries that could be done to stabilize his sternum, but no one is doing them in the time of COVID. Corrective surgery could be months, if not years out. The last person you’d want in the hospital during a pandemic is a cardiac patient who doesn’t absolutely need to be there.

So we’ve adjusted to our new lives. It is what it is.

But in accepting what we have, don’t think for one minute that we aren’t also tremendously grateful that Marc is still here to even complain about his condition.

We are fully aware that things could have been so much worse.  



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