Former Australia batsman and coach Darren Lehmann was fearful he would not wake up from a triple heart bypass earlier this year but the unfortunate episode has given him a “a second lease on life”.
Lehmann, who won two World Cups as a player and oversaw Australia’s 2015 triumph as well as their 5-0 Ashes whitewash the year before, was admitted to a Brisbane hospital with chest pains on February 4 – the day before his 50th birthday.
An angiogram highlighted three blockages in blood vessels in the heart and the next eight days proved life-changing for Lehmann.
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Thank you! Just wanted to give all my friends and family an update, and again to say thanks from me and my family for the continued support and messages over the past week. I came home from the hospital yesterday, a little earlier than expected. The operation was triple bypass surgery. I also wanted to thank some people who helped fix me and get me home. Firstly, all the amazing doctors, nurses and staff at the Gold Coast Private, absolute superstars for their quick diagnosis, referral and keeping me calm early on. Then I was transferred by a couple of brilliant paramedics on to the Prince Charles. What a brilliant hospital, we have some bloody great surgeons, doctors, nurses, physio’s, admin, catering, orderlies, ward volunteers, and many more carers and workers that make a hospital tick and I can’t thank everyone enough who helped me in big and small ways at the hospital. There simply isn’t enough praise I could give this dedicated team of people at the Prince Charles. A couple of big thank you’s, Peter Tesar (Head of Cardiology), who performed my surgery, best described by his piers as the Ricky Ponting of cardiac surgery, you are an amazing surgeon, and I loved having chats about both cricket and medicine. Thanks for extending my life, I’ll be forever grateful I got you and your expert team. Dr. Anil Prahbu, thanks for your part in my surgery, and your kindness to Andrea and I for always reassuring and calming us each day. I know there were lots of doctors, anaethetists and nurses in theatre, thank you all so very much. The CCU, ICU and surgical ward nurses, doctors and physio’s, thank you for helping me through the tough yards, for all the kindness and expert attention, what an amazing group you are. Thank-you! The operation went very well and now it is about recovery and rehab, so I will be taking some rest now, and then getting back to things in a couple of months. Thanks to the Brisbane Heat, Cricket Australia and Northern Super Chargers for their total support of me during this time. Finally, I am forever grateful to my family and friends for all the help getting through this and the on going support, God family is so important to everyon
He told www.cricket.com.au: “You’re fearful because you just don’t know what’s going to happen in the end. You get to the stage where you go ‘Am I going to wake up?’
“Not knowing what was wrong … it’s always the not knowing (that’s hardest); once you know, it’s OK – you start to get some answers, start to get some confidence from the surgeons and the nurses.”
After being successfully operated on, Lehmann, whose disregard for physical fitness and dietary regimes was well known in his playing days, has made some alterations to his lifestyle, including quitting smoking and cutting down on drinking.
He added: “I’ve had a lot of learnings from it. You move forward. I’m feeling better now, but still quite sore in the chest at times. You hope everything’s healing, and you have good days and really bad days, and you pick and choose how you deal with them.
“It’s been a second lease on life. I don’t get angry anymore, or frustrated. You just see things for what they are. There’s a lot of people out there in more unfortunate scenarios than me.”
It's been a second lease on life. I don't get angry anymore, or frustratedDarren Lehmann
Lehmann also revealed he has spoken to current Australia coach Justin Langer about the strain the job can have.
“It’s a life span – how long can you keep doing it before it does change you?” he added.
“I said to (Langer) the other day, that in a weird way, this is a really good enforced break for him right now… I think it will be good for his coaching and good for him as a person.
“It’s still fun; the playing and the coaching and the planning side of it is always fun.
“It’s everything else – dealing with the politics of the game … and the travel, and being away from your family – that’s what makes it tough.”