101-EN-11, The major operation

It’s actually incredible – that it’s possible
to cut the sternum and open the chest
and then sew another blood vessel to the heart
so that blood can flow without a calcified piece (pass by)
but it wasn’t – just a few decades ago

This operation is known as bypass surgery

This line drawing shows the principle clearly

The drawing is courtesy of:


When the human body was created
(about 5 million years ago)
it was naturally necessary to protect the vital parts
thus the heart and lungs especially
and these parts were therefore placed in a special box
namely the chest

Other parts of the body are also important
but not SO important

that is, apart from the brain,
which was protected with a thick skull

We showed up at Skejby Hospital on Tuesday at 08:00 am
in the cardiology department – just as requested

Tomiko quickly got into a bed
and then she just had to wait until she was picked up by a porter
which happened at just after 1:00 pm

I continued working on the computer
answering orders and inquiries

Finally at 16:30 pm, my phone rang
it was the doctor who had performed the surgery
an extremely kind and pleasant person

“It’s gone very well “- he said
“an operation by the book
and they are about to stitch her up now
then she’ll be taken to a ward to wake up
and in 4 hours she should be awake
so you can see her”

Great, great news to get

Thank you Skejby
which, by the way, is number 2 in the world
in terms of successful heart surgery

* * * * *

If the person survives the first month
i.e. the first month after bypass surgery
when there is some risk of an associated ailment

then the person “only” has the same risk of dying
as everyone else at the same age

* * * * *

8 years later – and especially 9-10 years later
the risk of death suddenly rises dramatically
and thus the number of dead patients
nearly doubles

The reason is simply stupidity

The person has discovered
that things are going so well – really well
and have slowly slipped back
into their previous bad habits

We’ll use the photo of a fat person here again

Many of the “banned” products taste great after all

Cholesterol blocked artery medical concept with a human blood vessel that is clogged by unhealthy food as hamburgers and fried foods as a health risk metaphor for dieting and nutrition problems as eating fat
Slowly the person has started to get clots in the blood vessels again
one day a piece may break away
and then you may be dead before your coffee break

Even after heart surgery
you have to continue with a healthy lifestyle

It is therefore highly recommended
to start a treatment with El
every first of March and September
then you can be reasonably sure
that you at least do not die of a blood clot


Now – back to Tomiko
who is now slowly waking up

Doctors have simply
sawn through the sternum
to make room to work

For such a major operation
you are “deeply anesthetized”
thus very “under” if one can use that expression
and therefore it lasts a whole 4 hours
before being “back” again – i.e. regaining consciousness

At 20:00 pm I found the “Awakening, East”

An angelic nurse shut me in
there were a good number of beds in there
but THERE lay my Tomiko – very pale – and with loads of tubes

After ½ an hour she started to come around
and after a little coughing – she opened her eyes
and was more alert

We talked for about 20 minutes
but Tomiko remembers nothing about it

Rather odd
as the last thing she said when I left was:
“remember to take the rye bread out of the freezer
when you get home”

Funny thing to think of
just after an operation


There was not much strength in my lovely little wife
when I visited her again on Thursday evening
But I could get a smile out of her
and 10 minutes later she went down to the rest room for a good hour

The blue closure at the side of her neck
connects directly to the heart
should it become necessary
to revive her here and now
but also painkillers are administered that way
and worked seconds later


Tomiko told me
that it had really hurt after I had gone home
it was the night of waking up

I drove home at 22:00 on Tuesday night
and at midnight 2 strong people came to help

Tomiko got out of bed and take 2-3 steps
while they supported her
then she had a peaceful sleep

Tomiko told me that:
“Never, never have I ever been in so much pain
and I hope I never have to go through it again
it was just SO awful”


Tomiko also showed me a silent whistle
that patients who have been deeply anesthetized
should use diligently the first few days
blowing very hard – and breathing out completely
to get the last remnants of the anesthetic removed from the lungs

A wonderfully simple device

Tomiko’s friend Kuniko (in Tokyo)
– whom she’s been friends with
from back from before university –
underwent major surgery in 2016
but she could not empty the poison out of her lungs
so it turned into pneumonia
and an extra 12 days in the hospital
instead of the estimated 28 days – it was 40

* * * * *

We talked on the phone every day 3-5 times
and on Friday came the surprise of the year:

Soon after breakfast, Tomiko had been x-rayed
and now a nurse had announced:

“Your X-rays look fine
so you will be taken back to your local hospital this afternoon”

When a person is fairly healthy after surgery in Skejby,
they are taken back to their own local hospital
so that other people can see the specialists in Skejby

A very sensible arrangement


The opening in the chest is kept open with this instrument
during the 3-4 hours of the operation

Tomiko does not speak perfect Danish
I haven’t taught her well enough
we used Esperanto most of the time in the 1990s
and she has never attended Danish language school
as she is not a refugee – just Japanese
so she would have had to pay every penny herself for tuition
so said Aars Municipality
after we were married on 1991.12.21

She therefore asked me to call Herning Hospital
to ensure she had understood correctly

Yes, that’s right – Skejby just called us”
explained a very friendly nurse
“your wife has recovered surprisingly quickly
according to the doctors in Skejby

The average for bypass patients is 10-12 days in total
of which 3-5 days are in Skejby

and the rest of the time with us
at the local Hospital
up to when the sternum and other things

have roughly grown back together
and the patient is otherwise well

But we have never experienced

SUCH a short healing period
not even half of normal

Tomorrow morning we will do another Xray for Skejby
and if it continues to progress so quickly
then there is no reason for her to stay here with us”

I called Tomiko back – she had understood correctly

“Would you please come and get me
2 hours in the back of the ambulance is such a drag
The Falck people are nice and friendly
but we don’t really have anything to talk about
and after 5 minutes they take out their cell phones”

I called Skejby and asked
but it was a flat refusal

At 20:00 Friday evening
she was therefore ambulanced back to Herning Hospital