I was looking back at updates I provided to family and friends ¬†and I noticed that every time I left hospital I was convinced it was the last. Every operation has it’s dangers and there are risks of complications. A CABG is a bigger operation so carries greater risk, in the coming I am going to go through some of the complications.

A week after my second admission to hospital I completed the walk from my home to the ASDA store over a mile away. This walk is significant it is my test walk, and I completed it in under 30 minutes and I got through the incline without problems. I felt that this was going really well, my HEART was well. Before my operation I had reached the stage that I had to stop about five times up the final incline and I was totally exhausted.

A Test Walk – this is a walk that tests your heart and you do regularly, it needs to include an incline or inclines, my route has a couple of gentle inclines and one though it is not very high it goes on for more than 200 metres. The target pace is one that gets me there in about 20 minutes, and I know that I can complete the inclines without resting or loss of breath if all is well with my heart and lungs. I always kept a record of the time and performance on the test walk.

Obviously a two mile walk may be too easy for some and too hard for others, choose something you will do regularly all year round.

A week later I was having problems walking at all and I was in an agony of pain, again! Complication 1 – allergies or side effects to medication
Complication 2 – pleural effusion, fluid build up in the lungs,

Symptoms of Pleurisy

Pain in the chest
Pain in the muscles of the chest
Persistent cough
Fever & General malaise
Pain is worse on inhaling and exhaling deeply or coughing

I always thought pleurisy was a complication of tuberculosis and kills poets, novelists Catherine Medici, Benjamin Franklin in history, what was I doing with it in this present time? So I cannot breathe, cannot walk and I am doubled over in pain, hand me that paracetamol and tromadol NOW!

The Cure – if pleurisy is not severe just painful take diuretic tablets and painkillers. You cure it by deep breathing and coughing. So to cure yourself you have to cause yourself lots of pain every hour by taking six deep breaths and coughing up anything that will move out. Masochism, I went to see a physiotherapist who used to torture me, she made me breath properly! Stand straight! Walk fierce! She also said I did not breath correctly, it’s true. I also had massages sitting up, and used steam with olbas oil. I chose not to use diuretics, probably a mistake, but I was wary of medicines after my latest experience.

There are different types of breathing- to learn more read yoga books, watch videos, read self help improvement volumes and writings to get the technical words, this is my experience. Breathing correctly is an important skill that I had to learn and practice.

Breathing 1

To breath without pain, breath in the stomach.
The stomach goes out as you breath in and goes in as you breath out. How did I do it so wrong and not notice? This type of breathing was the only way to reduce the pain of pleura friction. I used to put hands on my stomach and watch them go up and down.

Breathing 2

To clear the lungs of the fluid and push it upwards, breath deeply fill every bit. First empty the lungs breath out, do the last hoo to,get the last bits. Now breath through the nose fill the stomach, get the lungs full,the rib cage should come out. Now the sternum ( The scar area) your breasts should be pointed, juste when you think no more. Do a last couple of sniffs to get more in. Now breath out through the mouth, regulate the flow let the air come out, keep going pull in the stomach as if you are going to get in to a pair of jeans that are too small. Empty the lungs pull in that rib cage, now just as it feels like it’s done do a couple more hoo, hoo, out for those last bits of air. Do not let the shoulders rise, they actually increase lung capacity, but it feels like it. Breathing in front of a mirror helps.

If you feel phlegm cough to get it out, look up, controlled coughing. Or take a deep breath and let out in a controlled huff sigh

Breathing 3
Inflate the lungs. For this exercise I am trying to open the lungs only. So I put my hand on each lung rib cage so I can feel it move. Breath out, pull the stomach in, now breath in through the nose, do not inflate the stomach just feel the burn as you open up the lungs, start at the bottom and then fill to the top. Sounds simple but when it hurts where the pleura ( lung lining) rubs and causes pain you only breath in The top of the lung.

I also walked regularly through the day, sometimes for only 5 minutes, other times much longer. Walking was the only way I could last waiting for the next dose of painkiller. Things seemed to be improving, the length and distance of walking was improving slowly. After a time it seemed like I would get periods without pain. Surely I was getting better now?

My appetite was severely reduced I wanted highly flavoured food, sweet, spicy or sour. So the recipe I liked was Tom Yum Soup – vegetarian or chicken not prawns.

Quick Tom Yum Soup

Bouillion soup powder or stock cube, litre of water
Add finely chopped:
ginger or galangal 1 inch
3-4 garlic cloves
1-2 stalks of lemongrass
2 chillies
4 kafir lime leaves
Many times I added frozen garlic and ginger and bottled lemongrass to make it quicker and as it was painful chopping.

Add to the liquid and set to boil for at least ten minutes.
Now add vegetables of your choice or what you have finely chopped: carrots, broccoli, pak choi, mushrooms, baby sweetcorn, mangetout, capsicum. Again I added chopped stir fry packs to spees things and I did not have energy

Let them cook for a couple of minutes.

Now add tofu or cooked chicken.
Now add flavours : juice of 2 limes, 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp soya sauce, 2 tbsp fish sauce
Taste and adjust to your personal taste.

Chopped: bunch of Basil leaves, coriander. Keep some for decoration.
Put in a bowl and enjoy.