Mending Hearts- making it all anew!
The process of healing begins immediately- according to my surgeon, Dr. William Martinez, “Howard your heart was healed as soon as I added in the new arteries- now let your body heal- and that will take time”.
I wobble, I sway, I teeter- clumsily I make my way from bed to chair. Within the first 24 hours they have me out of the bed. I clutch the red heart pillow that I was delivered with to offset the pain of my breastbone being divided in half to expose my heart. Sudden movements, coughing jags to bring up sputum, a sneeze, but it’s laughter that hurts the most as it rattles and agitates the chest cavity. Yet, I have to move this body. A day later, with an aide de camp, oxygen at tow, I make my first debut to the wooden hallway that borders my current 8th floor room here at St Francis- yes small baby steps.
A frightening moment alone. Truly, I am now dependent on the need of others – Nurses, aides, friends. Finally unleashed from the urinary catheter,
I have not urinated in several days. I await for other bodily functions to also return. I am provided medications to step up the process- but this also equates that I need someone to assist me in and out of the “toilet” where I am not that “free flowing” and it takes a bit of time for things to run freely downstream.
The time about 4:45pm – I call an aide to assist with my urination. The pee is shy in flowing – the aide adorned with an “Autumn Leaf” on her forearm, I can see is annoyed that I have wasted “her time” and hastily returns me to my bedroom chair and with a backward turn states, “I will be right back”. I still have to pee and pressure is mounting. Five, ten, 15 minutes pass- no return of “Autumn Leaf”. I then look for the “Call Button”-
It is way out of my reach- Autumn having buried it on the other side of the bed. I am now truly alone. “Help, Help”- I am truly screaming at those I hear out side my door- HELP! PLEASE HELP ME- PLEASE HELP ME ! Twenty, Twenty Five minutes pass- all of a sudden a Fire Drill goes off- someone slams my door shut- YOU BASTARDS!
Finally, at over 30 minutes, a savior arrives in the form of a Hospital Food Service Worker, delivering my dinner. In quick succession, she locates and PRESSES for the nurse- and they come a running including a visit by my surgeon – and tailing them – Miss “Autumn Leaf”. You know it- the old Howard flares up as I stare down this woman- “YOU LEFT ME VULNERABLE – AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW IT!!! Yep, I get out more of my indignation and the danger I was put upon me- but for those 30 minutes or so I was truly afraid! I want to leave….
I am truly blessed- and thank you are in order, first to God, o lord thank you for my life and guiding the surgeons hand, Dr. William Martinez-Cardiac & Thoracic Surgeon, Dr. Patrick Corcoran, Interventional Cardiologist, my most fantastic brother Harvey Leon Frydman, Wayne Hypolite, this man came to my Hospital bed for several days at my lowest – and literally fed me!! Forcing me to eat – Wow! Dear Barbara Williams, son, Khalid, Meredith Johnson and her friend Tim, Donna and Victor- the whole “Christmas” Family” were at my bed side- at the very start of this journey. Good friend Sydney Schulman is writing me heart Health email advice and how that he had three bypasses as well- thank you for the lovely floral arrangement Syd and Alba. Of course my colleagues at the Bloomfield Board of Ed, thank you Don Harris for your healing prayers, and the Bloomfield Board of Education for the lovely floral arrangement. Many thanks to The Bloomfield Democratic Town Committee members and Chairman David Baram for the healthy Fruit Basket. Get well emails abound including a nice “holy crap” from singing sensation Nat Brown and love your Hospital “gownie” from famed actress Johanna Morrison.
On Friday, late in the evening, I was finally released from Saint Francis Hospital and journeyed to the beautiful hamlet of Bloomfield, CT- my first and only choice for rehab- Duncaster, specifically Caleb Hitchcock. I have often visited Duncaster over the years, as a guest or video taping a special event, anniversary parades to political programs, and have always marveled at the extraordinary care, respect and dignity provided. I am now a patient. My room, grand, beautiful, clean and bright, the cuisine extraordinary- The staff knowledgeable and friendly. I feel safe here!!
I am finally off the bottles of “Ensure” that I subsisted on at Saint Francis. I am walking, currently look like “Grizzly” Adams in my new Ralph Lauren PJs, and desperately need a beard trim, and a good haircut – but that’s what hats are for right?
Today is Wednesday- March 1st. I am still residing at Duncaster. It has been 13 days since I started this journey with you.
You made it through the operation, you’re now off to rehab-the second leg of your recuperation. Yet I fear being forgotten.
I must state it is your family and friends that are your most important key to a truly continued successful healing process. For the majority of your healing, as I am in a rehabilitation, I admit I am alone. I do feel abandoned. Yes, I know there are nurses and aides and PT folks around but it’s not the same. A sense of being alone and forgotten does creep in to ones mind – “Where’s a call from this friend, does she know?” How come “so in so” didn’t send a card – do they know? She lives right down the road from Duncaster- why not visit?
So I kindly ask – please send me cards, emails, please visit me! Make me smile – but refrain from making me laugh- “oh the pain!”