I thought I was having a vision. The room I was in was made of glass and the light was bright. The lady looking over me was beautiful, Egyptian looking, and she was dressed in white.
Her voice was soft when she said, “Mr. Reynolds we are going to take your ventilator tube out now, and I do not want to alarm you but, sometimes we break teeth when we do this.”
Being highly sedated, I couldn’t object even if I wanted to. But, once the tube was removed, I felt like a weight was lifted off of me.
I was placed in another glass room where I could be viewed from any angle.
Bags and drainage tubes hung from me like I was some sort of an astronaut. Considering that I have a low tolerance to pain it really wasn’t that bad. Of course the morphine was a great pain killer. However I was only allowed to push the button every fifteen minutes.
I remember telling the nurse that the button wasn’t working and she said, “Oh yes it is. Remember every fifteen minutes. No more, no less.”
The thing I remember most about my open heart surgery is that each day I felt a 100% better than I did the day before. As an example; I was operated on Monday and released to go home on Friday.
My favorite event was when the head nurse came in and said, “Mr. Reynolds, we are going to remove all of your drainage tubes today and I must inform you that if you scream you could collapse you lungs. Are you ready?”
“No, I am not ready. Can’t we practice?”
As it turned out, it was another great sensation. “Take a deep breath and hold it.” The nurse said. Snap, pop, bam and as fast as you can say those three words all of my drainage tubes were out and I felt wonderful.
Once at home, I felt helpless. My wife had to wait on me hand and foot because I did not have the strength to do for myself and having been a 3 pack a day smoker, I told my wife, “I sure hope I remember how bad this felt because I sure don’t want to go through this again.
That was October 20, 1996 and I haven’t had a cigarette since.