Day 1370: I’ve never seen you like this before

Now that my  heart valve-replacement surgery is behind me, people are saying, “I’ve never seen you like this before” for different reasons, including these:

  1. I have new scars,
  2. I am even more in love with my wonderful and care-taking boyfriend Michael,
  3. I’ve got a cool new heart robe I’m wearing,
  4. I’m dealing with new levels of pain,
  5. I’m crying at strange times,
  6. I’m less patient with people than usual,
  7. I’m taking new medications including Coumadin/Warfarin, and
  8. Something major like open heart surgery tends to change people, doesn’t it?

Yesterday, my long-time friend Eleanor — who has seen me in many ways over the years — said, “I’ve never seen you like this before” when I got  angry and upset with an abrupt hospital administrator whom I needed to get past in order to my blood tested for another INR level. I’ve decided I never want to see the administrator like that, again, so I probably won’t go back to that same location for future blood tests.

After I got my blood drawn by people I had never seen before, Eleanor and I went to see people I really like to see and who have been seen before on this blog (like here): the wonderful staff at Mount Auburn Hospital Cardiac Rehab.



That’s Kathy,  Danise, and Carla.  In a week or two, they’ll be seeing me like they’ve never seen me before, recovering slowly from  open heart surgery.

Here are some more photos you’ve never seen like this before:




I’ve never seen the amazing pianist Lyle Mays like this before:

Have you ever seen a blog like this before?

Thanks to all who helped me create today’s never-seen-before post and to you — of course! — no matter how you’ve been seen before.

Categories: heart condition, heart surgery, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 51 Comments

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51 thoughts on “Day 1370: I’ve never seen you like this before

  1. tender…sending you joy! and many smiles ❤

  2. I’ve never seen anyone as amazing as you, Ann. Let’s face it. There are some people in healthcare who should not be and I am truly sorry for how you were treated. I’ve had that kind of experience before as well and as a result have become very leery of medicine in general. SO happy for your sake you have the great care you do!!!! Sending *gentle fragile* (((HUGS))) Love, Amy ❤

  3. I agree with Any Rose. You are amazing.But you have been through a major trauma, and even amazing people are fragile after trauma. Losing your temper is part of recovering. I am glad that you are still receiving lots of smiles.

  4. I’ve never seen another blog like yours. Your blog is like you and you are like it, to paraphrase Daniel Pinkwater’s The Big Orange Splot.
    I wondered what we, your friends and readers, would see from you after your surgery. I thought I might be surprised so I tried not to guess. That’s the only way to prepare for the unexpected.
    You’ve been very honest and brave in sharing your feelings here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you talk about recent pain and frustration–although you have talked about having those feelings in the past.
    Courage and honesty I have seen from you before though and it was what I expected.

  5. You just passed through one of those invisible membranes in life where so much is different on the other side. If anyone else noticed that, good for them. The question is, what will they make of it?

    The fact is that if we treated every stranger and every good friend as if we’d never seen them like this before then we might be leading lives where we can provide more comfort and receive more wisdom than we currently do. I’m only speaking from my own ignorance and from the fact that I walk through these minor membranes constantly where I feel suddenly that nothing is as it seemed or that I in fact had no idea of the life I was leading or what or whom I was looking at with what I thought was understanding. People get easily stuck in the set-pieces of their lives, and they assume they have a right to their version of you. If you don’t behave the way you’re supposed to, it can shake folks up.

    My dad had a double-bypass-turned-into-surprise-quadruple-bypass about ten years ago and the coumadin/warfarin blood thinner stuff is a constant source of anxiety. Just realizing that you have to deal with that crap regularly is enough to make anyone ornery. Plus, as someone mentioned, health services aren’t exactly what they used to be. Advances in tech have lapped advances in humanity in this field.

    Echoing gentle hugs here. Being nonjudgmental doesn’t mean you don’t have to snarl now and then to make other people get things done!

    • It’s not like I’ve never seen you here before, Jeff, but it’s been a LONG time. I’ve never seen anyone like you before and I am very grateful you’re back.

  6. All those fringe — could it be the jazz inside you? Because jazz is not elevator music; it is a little wild.

    It is so nice to see Michael’s cooking again.


  7. you seem to be recovering very well and that’s pretty cool.

  8. Your observations open my heart to insight and compassion – a reminder that each of us has our own living story and that no one can tell that story except the person living it- and if we want to really be present for each other and with each other, we must listen. That means, putting aside the stories we have heard or lived, from others and ourselves, so that we have room to be with the person we are, right now, right here, with. Gotta go to work but hope that makes sense. Love you! Thank you!

  9. may your heart’s continuation
    fulfill it’s long
    deep aspirations
    with beauty & strength 🙂

  10. You are doing what you need to do to heal. Let the tiger out once in a while, feed it some catnip and put back in its den until you need to shake things up again. Breathe and give yourself a pat on the back.

  11. I’m so happy to hear that your surgery went well! Take care, Ann! Awesome post. 🙂

  12. Be as you are! Enjoy and smile every day!

  13. So glad you’re doing well. Recovering from surgery can be very emotionally exhausting as well as physically demanding–I can attest to that myself. So don’t feel too bad about going off on someone who is treating you badly–you’ve been through a lot. And as for things I’ve never seen, I’ve actually seen a cat like that before–we had a grey tabby who looked very much like the one featured in your post. He was a puker, but very sweet.

  14. I’ve never seen an open heart patient before (that I know of) so what do I know?

  15. Your body and psyche are fragile right now. People who work in Health Care ought to have helpful attitudes but I have seen so many who don’t. Anger is ok in some instances, I think. Your friend is in a really good position to experience some new and different aspects of the more current, better you. The human body is remarkable. My stepfather took Coumadin/warfarin, only because my mother made him take his medicine. He continued to drink and smoke and eat what he shouldn’t, for years (he was not a happy camper). Not suggesting you don’t follow doctors orders, what I am saying is your body and state of mind have proven to be strong and adaptable. You are one inspiring person. And I know I have never seen your cat before, but it sure looks like one I used to have.

  16. You have been through so much in such a short time Ann- I have heard heart surgery does make people’s emotions go haywire- not helped by a less than nice person to deal with! Such yummy food and glad it was all smiles at rehab!

  17. I’ve never seen you like this before … And I figure with a new heart valve, having faced death and uncertainty and dealing with a lot of pain … You can be any way you need to be right now. So glad you feel the love for Michael.
    I will send your love to Big Papi at the game tomorrow 😎

  18. “Fragile, Handle with Care” seems very appropriate given all that’s transpired. Following some much less major surgery I can remember feeling like everything was magnified and that included my emotional responses. I’m so glad you have excellent caregivers. What a difference they must make! Continued healing blessings, Ann.

  19. Don’t bunjee jump yet. Give it a couple of weeks!

  20. So leased for you Ann. Did you eat all that?

  21. Heart surgery definitely changed my diet, exercise routine and the view of my personal world. Best of luck with your changes!

  22. Pingback: Day 2634: Heartland | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  23. Pingback: Day 2767: Staring at the Sun | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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