February 1, 2023 – I just had surgery to replace my heart’s aortic valve. I’d known for a couple of years it had aortic stenosis (inability to pass enough flow) caused by a combination of a birth defect and aging, but only recently did the condition suddenly jump into the “severe” category and require surgery right away. Everything else that’s been checked–arteries, lungs, other heart valves, blood work–has been fine; the aortic valve seems to be the only one that didn’t get the memo about being good. They sent me home after five days in the hospital, and I’m currently in the slow recovery period, with limitations on activity but not too much pain in general.
For the curious who might be up on valve replacement, I went with a mechanical valve rather than one made from pig tissue, another popular choice. (No pigs were harmed in the remaking of this author.) This choice means I have to deal with the anticoagulant (blood thinner) warfarin for life, a nuisance but a manageable one. But the mechanical valves are famous for lasting a very long time, and I’m planning to last a very long time too!