Posts Tagged With: recovering from heart surgery

Day 1393: In the driver’s seat

I have gotten the go-ahead from my cardiologists to drive again, now that I have recovered sufficiently from my open heart surgery of September 21.

Now that I’m back in the driver’s seat, I have many places to go today, including:

  1. Cardiac rehab at a nearby hospital, where I’ll sit and walk on different types of exercise equipment with my usual drive,
  2. My dentist’s office, for a 3-month teeth cleaning (driven by  my real risk of endocarditis),
  3. A Boston hospital, to surprise people who are used to being in the driver’s seat,
  4. A real estate property in a nearby town within easy driving distance, where perhaps I’ll soon be driving and parking my car.

Here‘s one of my favorite in-the-driver’s-seat tunes, performed by the amazing and driving Bonnie Raitt:

 

I love my life with me and the boys — my boyfriend Michael, my son Aaron, and our kitties Oscar and Harley.

Here are some photos I was able to take yesterday because I was in the driver’s seat:

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When I see a product like Chinese Szechuan Chicken-flavored potato chips, I wonder who’s in the driver’s seat over at Lay’s.

What helps you feel like you’re in the driver’s seat?

When I’m in the driver’s seat, gratitude is often sitting in the passenger’s seat beside me, so here’s a driving feeling I want to express to all those who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — no matter what seat you’re in right now:

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 1382: Add Sparkle to Your Life

Yesterday, as I continued to sparkle with life after my open heart surgery on September 21, I saw this sparkling and lively sign:

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What helps you add sparkle to your life? Personally, my life sparkles when I …

  • let go of fear,
  • see the love around me,
  • take good care of myself and those I cherish,
  • embrace all feelings,
  • am hopeful about the future,
  • am realistic about the past,
  • accept both the bruises and the sparkles of the present,
  • allow my mind and body to heal from past wounds, and
  • take new steps every day.

Do any of my other photos from yesterday add sparkle to your life?

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Here‘s some sparkling music from Earth Wind & Fire:

 

Please add sparkle to my life with a sparkling comment.

Gratitude adds even more sparkle to my life, so here’s a message to all those sparkling ones who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for whatever sparkle you bring,  here and now:

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Categories: heart surgery, personal growth, photojournalism, self-care | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 1381: Sweet

Many things are sweet this morning, my sweet readers, including the following:

  1. I am recovering  sweetly from my open heart surgery of September 21,
  2. I  don’t have to worry about how many sweets I eat right now (although I am watching my salt and my vitamin K intake),
  3. sweet people including my friend Jeanette in Philadelphia are sending me chocolates and other sweets,
  4. there are still sweet cookies left over from the bunch we bought yesterday at the sweet Lakota Bakery in Arlington,
  5. my boyfriend, Michael, talked to my sweet 18-year-old son, Aaron, on the phone yesterday, helping Aaron to cook more sweet food in his dorm kitchen in Edinburgh, Scotland,
  6. I am not fasting for Yom Kippur this year but rather eating all the sweet and non-sweet food I want today,
  7. I am sweetly unworried about the U.S. presidential election next month,
  8. my sweet college roommate Maria and I bought some sweet jewelry and socks at two sweet boutiques in Arlington, Massachusetts yesterday,
  9. I also showed Maria some other sweet sites in Arlington, and
  10. the first sweet photo I took yesterday — at the Arlington coffee house where I have twice sung sweetly at  Open Mic nights — features many products that are sweet:

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Would you like to see all my other sweet photos from yesterday?

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Which of those many sweet photos seem particularly sweet to you, my sweet reader?

As I am creating this sweet post,  I am listening to this sweet fairy tale ballet:

 

Finally, here’s a sweet way to thank all those who helped me create this sweet post and those who have been sweet enough to read it here and now:

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Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 1379: My boyfriend, Michael

My boyfriend, Michael, took over this daily blog three weeks ago when I underwent open heart surgery.

My boyfriend, Michael, DOUBLED my readership, temporarily, with the two posts he wrote on September 21 and September 22.

My boyfriend, Michael, made me laugh so hard  after I got my new heart valve at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota on September 21, that it HURT.

My boyfriend, Michael, is already sick of telling certain stories about our trip to Minnesota, so I guess I should start telling them, here and now:

Story #1:

Immediately after my open heart surgery on September 21, I woke up eager to communicate, but  I had a breathing tube down my throat preventing me from talking, so Michael and the ICU nurse, Gene, got me a pad and paper.  Gene and Michael had trouble reading what I was writing, which frustrated me.  The first thing I wrote was, “Am I okay?” Michael replied, “It went great!”  I wrote back, “Would you tell me if it didn’t?” Michael said, “I don’t know how to answer that question, baby.” Then, Gene took over trying to decipher what I was writing on the pad of paper. As  I laboriously wrote out “I dreamed  of Michael”, Gene said to Michael, “Hey!  Your name is Michael, right? I guess she dreamed of you!”  I disgustedly shook my head and completed the sentence: “I dreamed of Michael BRECKER” (the jazz saxophonist whose music my cardiac surgeon played during my heart valve replacement surgery).

Story #2:

Because Michael is so charming and engaging, he connected and chatted with all my ICU nurses, which I enjoyed,  but it also annoyed me when I wanted their attention. Also, some of the topics Michael and my ICU nurses were discussing bothered me, because I was feeling so vulnerable.  For example,  my third ICU nurse, named Jason, was a beekeeper, so  Jason and Michael had a discussion about bees. I eventually interrupted them and  said, “Hey! It’s upsetting me to hear you talk about bees.  Don’t you know that the bees are DYING?”  In the meantime, a doctor had come in to examine me and  discuss my progress, and she concluded,  in a thick Slavic accent: “Okay.   We will continue monitoring her hemoglobin,  give her more medication for her nausea, start Coumadin through her IV, and don’t talk about the bees.”

My boyfriend, Michael, tells those two stories much better than I do.

My boyfriend, Michael, who is an excellent cook, used his phone yesterday to communicate with my 18-year-old son, Aaron, to teach him how to make his first quesadillas at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

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My boyfriend, Michael, was happy to get back from Minnesota, two weeks ago, to see our two cats, Oscar and Harley.

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My boyfriend, Michael, really likes the group Joy Division, who never sound particularly joyful to me.

 

My boyfriend, Michael, isn’t going to express his gratitude to all those who helped his girlfriend create this post and to all those who are reading it, but I will!

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Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 97 Comments

Day 1376: What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have ____?

What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have my readers and my blog to write every day?

What do you have to look forward to if I don’t have a good enough explanation for the inspiration behind today’s post title?

When I was a little girl, there was nothing I looked forward to more than my mother finally saying “yes” to my repeated requests that we get a cat. One thing I did NOT look forward to, back then,  were all the hospitalizations I needed because of my congenital heart condition. After my first major heart surgery, when I was 10 years old, I woke up from the anesthesia and said to my mother:

What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have a cat?

After I fell back asleep, I woke up again and said to my mother:

What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have a cat?

My mother looked forward and told me I could look forward to getting a cat after I came home from the hospital.

What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have a photo of me and my first cat Tuffy to share with you all?

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What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have my iPhone to capture images I find interesting, while I am recovering from recent heart valve replacement surgery?

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What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have music to enjoy, like “Morph the Cat” by Donald Fagen?

What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have comments about this post?

What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have gratitude for all those who helped me create this post and for you — of course! — no matter what you have to look forward to, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, staying healthy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Day 1371: No shame in feeling pain

I have no shame in letting my readers know that because of many painful hospital experiences I had when I was a child, I automatically feel shame when I experience physical pain.

And I’m feeling some physical pain now, as I recover from my recent open heart surgery. Pain is bad enough, but shame on top of that pain is really too much.

Today, before I starting writing this no-shame-in-feeling-pain post, I spent some time actively  letting go of a particularly traumatic experience of being shamed when I was in pain after my first heart surgery at age 10.

Without shame, I mentally sent a message out into the universe towards a Dr. Hyatt who, 53 years ago, reacted to my excruciating post-surgical pain by calling me a liar and a spoiled brat, accusing me of putting other children in danger because of my selfishness, and then leaving me alone in my hospital room, in pain and shame.

Here was the message I just sent, in my mind, to Dr. Hyatt:

Hello, Dr Hyatt.  It’s Ann Koplow, whom you met at Children’s Hospital in Boston 53 years ago. I had just had heart surgery and was trying to let you know that I was in a lot of pain.  You were impatient and dismissive with me, told me I was lying about my pain, was a spoiled brat, and that I was putting other children in danger by distracting you from their more important needs.  Instead of validating and ministering to my pain, you left me alone in my hospital room.

You were wrong.  You did the exact opposite of what a doctor or any healer should do.  Since you did that so long ago in November 1963, I have felt shame whenever I feel pain. Also, I resist reaching out to others who might be able to help ease my pain, for fear that they will react the way you did.

I’m not sure why you did what you did that day.  Maybe you were overworked, overwhelmed by the Kennedy assassination, inexperienced, scared, angry, and/or becoming aware that this was not the work for you. It doesn’t matter why you did it.  I need to tell you that you did a lot of damage to me that day, which has continued to haunt me ever since.

Until tonight.

Tonight, I am giving notice that your influence in my life is over.  You have hurt me enough.  I will never feel shame about pain again. There is no shame in feeling pain.

And, my pain and my shame both went away.

I wonder if any of my photos from yesterday will fit the no pain/no shame theme of this post?

 

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It pains me to see that only one of those photos seems to relate to the content of this blog post:

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However, I feel absolutely no shame about that pain.

It is no pain, here and now, to share  a selection from my CD of 100 best classics:

Happy autumn, everybody!  I wish us all a season of no pain AND no shame.

Thanks to all who helped me create this shameless, painless post and to you — of course! — for reading it.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 57 Comments

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