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My time at the CCU

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In my last article, I’m Alive, I told you about my heart bypass surgery and my next step when I went to the recovery room.  The surgery was something that was no problem, I don’t remember a bit of it!  The recovery room was a bit tougher, and I remember bits and pieces of that experience.  Overall, though, it was not bad.

To be honest, I am not sure how long I remained in the recovery room, but I think it was a half day or so.

BizzzBuddy - The Business that works while you sleep

My next stop was the CCU.  That is the Cardiac Care Unit, though I have also heard it called the Coronary Care Unit.  The people here call it the “See-Coo” kind of sounding out the letters “CCU”.  Basically the CCU is an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for people with heart problems.  I spent about 2 days or so, I believe, in the CCU.  I say “I believe” because during that time you are high on drugs for the pain, you are in and out of sleep, etc, so it is hard to track time.  Also, in the CCU there are no windows.  You can see a clock, but you never really know if that time is AM or PM, so it is hard to keep track of time!

Great care

I would say that there are about 8 to 10 beds in the CCU.  Most of the time, though, they have only 1 to 3 patients there at a time. When I was in the CCU there were 2 of us there… myself and Princess my new little friend that I will be telling you about in a future article.

In the CCU, they have a really great nursing staff.  These nurses are some of the best around in my opinion.  The entire time I was there I always had a nurse assigned to just me, and there were also a couple of other “support” nurses there to help out.  Having that one special nurse assigned to you is a real comfort.  You can get to know her (or him) better than you would if you were just being served by a staff of nurses.

I became particularly close with one of my CCU nurses, Jan, whom I really found to be very nice, very knowledgeable, and somebody that really comforted me and took good care of me.  In fact, the day after I was transferred from the CCU to my regular hospital room, Jan came up and talked with Feyma and I for a couple of hours, something that was really nice of her.

Filipina Nurse

Filipina Nurse

Drugs

As I mentioned earlier, while you are in the CCU (and recovery as well, I think) you are given pain meds.  In my case, my pain meds were alternated between the following two drugs:

  1. Dilaudid – Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic.
  2. Morphine – Morphine is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Morphine is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Short-acting formulations are taken as needed for pain.

Between these two drugs, my pain was at a very low level.

I have never been addicted to any kind of drug before, but I have been addicted to other things. I feel that my personality type can easily lead to addiction, so it is something that I am careful about.  Because of that, after less than a day in the CCU, I requested that my pain meds be discontinued.  I didn’t feel that I needed them, and if the pain became unbearable, I could always ask for the meds to be restarted.

Fortunately, I never needed to re-start the pain meds, because I always felt that my pain was at a very manageable level.  From time to time I did take paracetamol, which is like Tylenol that you would get in the States.  That was all I needed for pain management after a day or so of using the serious stuff.

What I really wanted in the CCU

There were three things that i really wanted in the CCU:

  1. Water – my water was being limited because they wanted to keep my lungs clear and not filling up with water.  I was thirsty all of the time!
  2. Sit up – I could move my bed (feet or head) up or down at the touch of a button, but what I really wanted was to be able to sit up and put my legs over the side of the bed.
  3. Go upstairs – My regular room was upstairs, and I badly wanted to gout out of the critical care area and move to my regular hospital room where I would be more comfortable.

Of course, each of these things came with time.  Little by little, I got more water, so that made me happy.  After a day or so in the CCU, my doctor allowed me to sit up and put my feet off of the bed.  I found it so comfortable to be able to sit up like that, and I spent a lot of time sitting on the bed after that!  After just a couple days in the CCU I was sent up to my regular room, which in my mind was my first step toward freedom!

My CCU Experience

Overall, I have to say that my CCU experience was a good one!  Everybody there took very good care of me.  My doctors and nurses in the CCU were first rate.  Kind people, very knowledgeable, etc.  I simply could not ask for more. In addition to being well cared for, I also feel like I made some new friends there in the CCU.  They are good people..

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Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Gil Baco
4 years ago

Great post, Bob. Keep that recovery going.

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Gil Baco

I do that every day! 🙂

Bruce Cinader
4 years ago

Glad to hear that things worked out so well for you.

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Bruce Cinader

Thank you!

Wally Barr
4 years ago

Post a pic of your scar

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Wally Barr

Ja ha. I will do that. I also have pics and video of the doctors working inside me!

Tim Curtiss
4 years ago
Reply to  Wally Barr

Bob Martin No thanks, please don’t

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Wally Barr

I promise, nobody will force you to look. I have gotten a lot of requests…. 🙂

Violet VL
4 years ago
Reply to  Wally Barr

Please Bob- i want to know

Millet
Millet
4 years ago

Happy and thankful that all is well.

MindanaoBob
4 years ago
Reply to  Millet

Thank you so much!

UpawPhil
UpawPhil
4 years ago

Wow Bob, all in all you had one of the most pleasant drama free quadruple bypass operations that I’ve ever heard of! While being uncomfortable was the worst of it, it’s good that part was the worst of it. I think I can safely speak for all your readers that we can internally exhale with the knowledge you’re safe and sound =) I think Davao can expect more of Bob Martin walking around town now!

MindanaoBob
4 years ago
Reply to  UpawPhil

Hi Phil, going into it, I really expect it was going to be a major, major thing. However, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. Not too much pain, and overall I can’t complain at all.

Bob New York
Bob New York
4 years ago

Hi Bob, Thanks for the update and report on your hospital stay. From my own experience although nothing as serious as yours, I’d take a reputable PH Hospital over anything here in the USA. Your article indicates something I felt there also that things are just more personal and you are not being treated as just another numbered account. I can agree with you about wanting to get off those addictive opioid pain killers ASAP. A few months ago I had 2 teeth removed and was prescribed 2 kind of medications to pick up and start taking as soon as… Read more »

MindanaoBob
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob New York

Hi Barb, nice to hear from you. Yes, I agree about the experience of being in a Philippine Hospital compared to an American Hospital. I take a good Philippine Hospital any time. It sounds like your experience with painkillers and mine are the same, or very close. I just didn’t feel I needed it, and wanted to avoid any possible addiction. On the cost Side Of The Ledger, don’t worry, I have a whole series of Articles planned both about how I’m doing, to keep people informed, about how to do it here, for those who are interested in having… Read more »

Todd F
Todd F
4 years ago

My dad had all this done 20 years ago and he had a worse time of it than you (for the first few days, anyway). They were forcing him to cough all the time to keep the crap out of the lungs, and needless to say it was painful, both for him and for us to watch.

It sounds like they had a different strategy for you to handle the buildup.

MindanaoBob
4 years ago
Reply to  Todd F

Hi Todd – Oh, I had to do the coughing too! That is just something that has to be done to keep your chest clear. Coughing is indeed very painful, although it is getting to the point now where it is not as bad as it was, and there are things you can do to make it less painful (the best to to tightly hold a pillow to your chest while coughing). I think, though, that the technology for this type of surgery has improved drastically over the past 20 years or so, and that makes it a bit easier… Read more »

Steve A
Steve A
4 years ago

Good story Bob, glad you are doing better.

MindanaoBob
4 years ago
Reply to  Steve A

I am glad about that too, Steve! Thanks!

Rob Ashley
4 years ago

Bob..can you can you comment on how much your surgery and hospital stay cost? I am a person who self insures in Cebu and want to know if this would wipe out my medical savings fund. We do have Phil Health.

MindanaoBob
4 years ago
Reply to  Rob Ashley

Hi Rob, as I said in an earlier comment, that article about the cost will be coming soon. However, if you want a good sneak peek, go back a couple articles and one of the last articles I wrote was about the philhealth Z package. That article tells all about the costs of the various plans that you can get through philhealth. I hope this helps.

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Rob Ashley

Hi Rob. I mentioned in a previous comment on the site that the cost article will be coming I’m just not quite yet. If you want a sneak peek, go back and look for an article on my site a few weeks ago about the philhealth Z package, that has a lot of the cost information in it already.

Rob Ashley
4 years ago
Reply to  Rob Ashley

Hi Bob. I just read a news article about the Z package after hearing from you. Is it supplementary insurance? Something we sign up for and pay a premium for in advance? If so, how do you register for the Z Package coverage? Happy to wait f you are working on an article, but those are the questions I want to know? -Rob

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Rob Ashley

Hi Rob – I don’t know if you went and looked for that article that I recommended, but here is a link. All of the questions that you are currently asking are answered in this article: https://liveinthephilippines.com/almost-there/

Rob Ashley
4 years ago
Reply to  Rob Ashley

Bob. You are right. Your article, as usual, is informative and answers the questions. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you. -Rob

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Rob Ashley

Glad it was helpful.

PapaDuck
PapaDuck
4 years ago

Bob,
Glad all is going well with your recovery. I think the main reason the care is better at the top Filipino hospitals is because they are not controlled by the insurance companies. Continue to take it slow and you will be back to normal soon.

MindanaoBob
4 years ago
Reply to  PapaDuck

Hi PapaDuck – My recovery is indeed going really well. I had an appointment with my cardiologist last night, and he gave the thumbs up so far. It takes time, but I am willing to put in the time that is needed for a full recovery!

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