This is part 2 of "The Emotional Roller Coaster We Go Through" blog post series that a Twitter follower of mine asked me to cover.Surgeries, procedures and hospital stays seldom happen in an emergency. Most often, there are scenarios where family and patients know that in the future, there will be a surgery or some sort of hospital stay. And while in theory, having time to cope and deal with the inedible is a good thing, it doesn't always feel like it is for many.
Knowing that in an X number of days you or someone you love will be put under for a risky procedure or surgery tends to be a double edge sword. Yes it gives people time to prepare and cope with the idea of what is going to happen, but it also gives them a time limit. I am well aware as I'm sure many patients who are old enough to be aware, and their families are that the day of surgery or a risky procedure could very well be their last. Some people say that they'd like to know how long they have left to live... I don't. I've had 4 open heart surgeries, 2 surgeries for my pacemaker/defibulator and over 20 heart caths. Due to complications in the past, even in "routine" procedures such as heart caths, I am aware well aware that I may not live through them. That I may not be able to come off the ventilator. Or that there could be complications. I have in some way been told how long I might have left to live and it does not empower me. It does not make me feel free or liberated. It terrifies me. And I'm sure it's the same for many patients and families of loved ones who are in the similar situation.
I think the difference between my possible time limit and others who are given a time limit due to an illness that is too far long is that, my (and others like me) situation has hope. Those who are given an X number of months or years left to live are typically given those because there is no hope for a cure or treatment working. But me and many others with CHD, our time limit comes with hope. The reason we may die is for the same reason we may live. Open heart surgery. We know that without it, we would die eventually. But with it, we could either live for longer or die because of it as well. So while there is an excitement and hope that our lives will improve due to this surgery, there is that fear and knowing that we could very well possibly die from it as well. And even though you don't want to do it, you know deep down, you have to.
Would you want to know how much time you had left?
How do you cope with the idea of another procedure or surgery?
Hope and Love,
Next week I will cover the Preparing part of "The Emotional Roller Coaster We Go Through".