I had my pre-surgery blood testing and checkup today. As part of the process, a nurse practitioner came in to review the procedure with me and to see if I had any questions. During the review, she described the procedure, and showed on a little drawing where they were going to cut into my chest to perform the operation.
There was only one problem with that – the doctor and I had already agreed that the procedure wasn’t going to go through the center of of my chest, but was instead going to go through my side since – in the doctor’s own words – “nobody opens up the chest for a repair any more”. Going through the chest involves cutting the sternum, and spreading ribs, and literally wiring things back together. It’s a longer recovery, and then there’s the little detail of leaving extra metal in my chest for the rest of my life. I’m already going to have a plastic ring sewn to the outside of my heart to keep my valve snug; I’m trying to minimize foreign objects inside me.
After having a talk with the NP, who then in turn called my doctor’s assistant to confirm what was going on, it was left up to me which procedure was being done. I opted for the “minimally invasive” option of going through the side, and my day continued.
Before I left, I texted my wife to let her know what was going on, and she told me to make sure I was getting the non-invasive surgery. I replied with one of my better texts:
“It’s all going to be invasive. It’s just that one leaves me held together with chicken wire and the other doesn’t. I’m a farm boy at heart, but not that close to my heart :D”
She thanked me for the laugh.