D Minus 3 – The Nitty Gritty

So today is the nitty gritty of the procedure, the Mazankowski, the hospital I will be in, has an amazing resource on what to expect before, during and the all important after. This post will not be for the squeamish, expect some pictures and detailed explanation of what they will be doing to this body of mine.

So first off I am not actually sure how many bypasses I will be getting, I think the least is a triple so that means a vein from my leg, and I have always been told I have great legs, well I guess I will have a war wound now!!


Although there are many slightly different slants on the surgery, in general they follow the same process.

Once in the OR the anesthesiologist will put me to sleep and slip and breathing tube down my throat so a machine will take over my breathing. For me this is probably the thing I am really worried about, I worry about coming around and feeling like I am choking, I have even told Jenn that she is to try and get them to take that out as soon as possible.

Once I am out they will start to harvest a vein, probably from my leg, called the saphenous vein, but it could be from my arm. The reason they need this vein is due to me needing more than a double bypass, they do this first so as to not have my chest open for to long.


After everything is ready my chest will be opened and my sternum cut with a special saw, well I hope it is special and not a Mastercraft special from Canadian Tire!!


The next part, I have read, is surgeon dependent and relates to being put on a heart bypass machine or not, often referred to on or off pump, some surgeons will choose to do the surgery with the heart still beating, while others not, hence the need for a machine. Right now I don’t know how mine will be done, I will let you know later.

A little more about the Saphenous vein, this vein is a vein and although it is the best one to use it still runs the risk of getting blocked down the road, this is where the healthy diet, exercise, statins and overall looking after oneself comes in to lower this risk.

The other bypass parts can come from within the chest cavity, the left internal mammary artery (LIMA) also the right internal mammary artery (RIMA) may also be used as a graft.


So all this can take up anywhere from 3 to to 6 hours depending on how complicated it is as well as the number of bypasses.


Once the bypass grafts have been completed it is time to reassemble by chest start with the sternum.

Now I have read on the Mazankowski they they are use a serious of wires to hold the sternum together while it grafts itself together, but just this morning I read that some surgeons have started to used plates and screws as they are more stable, it will be for sure question for my surgeon as to what he uses. I hope he is a good stitcher, kinda like my mom who was amazing at knitting things.









The one on the right would be my preference as it seems more stable, but I have to trust what my surgeon says is best for me.

Once they have stitched the rest of me up and I will be moved to the ICU for a day or two, here I will have a full time nurse watching over me and giving me pain med as required, They say on the pain scale of 1-10 once it reaches 4 ask for medication as it is easier to treat pain as it is building than when it reaches its peak.

In ICU I will be hooked up to all the cool expensive monitors as well as have some chest tubes in and maybe still the breathing tube. I am not sure what they look for when the are looking at moving you out of ICU guess at least breathing on my own.

Once out of ICU I will probably still have my drainage tubes for a day but once they are out it is all about keeping moving and more and more each day.

I am determined to walk hard when I am in the hospital, following all the directions of the professionals who will be looking after me, yes even the physio. This is the best way for me to get out of there as fast as the goal is getting out of hospital get home, they say it can be anywhere from 4 to 8 days from surgery, I suspect not 4 and I hope not 8, so we shall see.

So there we have it, the process, obviously a little more than what I have posted, but it gives you and idea of what I will be going through starting on Wednesday.

Tomorrow the last day of work.



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