My name is Toakau Temau 54 years old sailor from an island in the Pacific called Kiribati near to Australia.
During my long stay working on my shipping company, At beginning of August 2020 I started with breathing problems in addition to severe swelling in my feet. I was evaluated by the doctor on board who told me that probably I had a heart problem. So I had to be rushed to Panama, a clinic in Colon City.
There I was treated by several doctors and a cardiologist, several studies were carried out and I was informed that I had a severe heart problem. So I had to be tranfered to Panama City (Hospital San Fernando).
Once I got to the hospital I was admitted to the intensive care unit for monitoring where I met intensivist. (Dr. Alfaro & Dr. Hurtado), they explained about my cardiac situation and the need of heart surgery as soon as possible.
The next day Dr. Manuel Ochoa (Cardiac surgeon) appeared and explained to me about my heart problem, I had 3 damaged heart valves and they needed to be replaced and one repaired, also my heart was very large with a high pressure problem from my lungs. He explained all the risks and also the benefits of the operation and the complexity of my recovery.
Dr Ochoa helped me make a videoconference call and explain to my wife about my heart problem and the surgery that I needed.
During the time they start to planning the time for me for operation.
After completed all the necessary test, They inform me about my surgery, during that time I filled so sad and worry because I did not know it can be fine or not; but I leave everything to Dr. Ochoa and the surgery team.
After my procedure, I was asleep since I needed to recover my heart, after the correction of three valves of my heart that were totally damaged. They replaced two valves with special prostheses and fix the third one. The next day I wake up and I knew that the surgery done well.
The intensivist doctors and nurses were taking care of me and helping me in my recovery in ICU
During the intensive time, several problems were resolved little by little with time, and so I was improving and feeling better every day. I could walk and sit out of bed.
Several doctors among intensivists, cardiologists and surgeons were always aware of my evolution and my care.
Once they controlled my heart with various medications, I could be transferred to the ward, where my recovery continues.
Studies continued to evaluate my heart function where I was informed that everything was working correctly.
The recovery was long, I started to gain weight and every day I felt better.
There was another problem; As we were in a pandemic, there was no way to fly back home. so I spent several weeks in the hospital. until the arrangements were made for my transfer, back to my family and with a new heart.
I am very grateful for all the people who were in charge of my improvement, I knew that my heart was quite sick and had a lot of risk of complications, but everything went very well and I feel very recovered. I will return to Kiribati with my family.
Grateful with the hospital care and Many thanks to Panama.