On-X Aortic Heart Valves: Safer with Less Warfarin

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  • How long did you need help?

    After open heart surgery, when do you think it's reasonable to expect to be able to get kids off to school and fix meals, clean the house a little, etc. If you worked in an office, when did you go back? My mother-in-law is coming to help out, which is lovely. But in the interest of keeping the peace, I want to make sure she doesn't plan to stay longer than she needs to. She also has a job to get back to. It's hard to plan when people aren't local! Thanks for your advice.

  • #2
    To be honest I was home from work for 3 months. I admit I could maybe have gone back sooner, but its not even so much the overcoming of surgical pain and getting up and around... youll feel very tired after doing only a little bit of activity. Sleep is good, you heal while sleeping. But if your committed to getting up and walking regularly, which will be greatly encouraged to go for walks and graduate to longer and longer walks. Youll be tired and want to just nap and do nothing. Plus theres some emotional healing that needs to take place too. I dont think you will need a long term care taker but just dont rush the early recovery process.
    Mini-sternotomy at 44 for bicuspid aortic valve, On-X replacement on 8/11/15 at Lee Memorial Health Park Medical Center in Fort Myers, Florida by Dr. Paul DiGiorgi

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    • #3
      I did not return to work for 8 weeks, partly because the 3 weeks I walked around with pleural effusion slowed down my progress. However, my daughter stayed home with me full time for only 2 weeks, after which I felt well enough to shower by myself, fix myself coffee and light meals, etc. Hope that helps.
      BAV, severe aortic stenosis replaced and single bypass done 9/30/15 by Dr. Joseph Coselli, CHI St. Luke's Hospital, Houston. Clinical trial Edwards Rapid Deployment Intuity (tissue) Valve. Cardiologist is Dr. Jose Diez, Baylor Clinic.
      Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
      Dalai Lama

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      • #4
        I was in so much pain for 8 weeks,my mom had to dress and bathe me.She had to help lift me from the bed and couch.They got a second microwave so I don't have to lift a heavy plate.

        I can dress and bathe myself now,still can't vacuum yet or lift our 20 lb cat...he's so heavy!

        I returned to work 3 months later.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Trinalovescats View Post
          I was in so much pain for 8 weeks,my mom had to dress and bathe me.She had to help lift me from the bed and couch.They got a second microwave so I don't have to lift a heavy plate.

          I can dress and bathe myself now,still can't vacuum yet or lift our 20 lb cat...he's so heavy!

          I returned to work 3 months later.
          Age makes a big difference. I had a lot of pain for several weeks. As expected, my surgeon told me it would feel like I was hit by a truck, pretty accurate actually. My surgeon said his young strong patients experience the most pain. Unlike his elderly patients who experience who remark of very little if any pain at all. It's a matter of muscle mass and active nerve endings.
          Mini-sternotomy at 44 for bicuspid aortic valve, On-X replacement on 8/11/15 at Lee Memorial Health Park Medical Center in Fort Myers, Florida by Dr. Paul DiGiorgi

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          • #6
            I was kidnapped by my parents and forced to stay at their house for two weeks. By the time I got there I realised how good an idea this was and my resent at having no control over my wishes had given way to gratitude for their assistance and home-cooked meals!

            Once I started to regain some strength and emotional stability, I had my parents take me home. My housemate is also my best friend, but he spends half the week away and the other half working and when I got home he was off overseas for three weeks so I was pretty much on my own. By then I was mobile but of course it's the little things. Not being able to drive rendered grocery shopping nigh impossible, and I only put the bins out if I fluked having a visitor at the right time. I paid to get my hair washed (wild mane, once a week) a few times at a salon on my street.

            My fierce independence as a single 30-something was possibly to my own detriment but also a motivation to push myself that little bit that I needed to. My sister insisted on having me stay at her place a couple of times a week (sometimes more) which meant food and transport - what a treat!

            I returned to work after 5 weeks to half days on reception. Working 30-40 hours a week again now (job is casual). I was holding off on returning to my weekend hospitality job but might see if I can get away with some smaller shifts in the coming weeks for financial reasons. My boss there is really understanding so I won't be made to do any heavy lifting.

            It is also challenging still taking it easy once you get your bounce back. I feel good enough to do certain things but need to remember that doesn't mean that I should. For example, I bent down and picked up my two year old nephew the other day without thinking at all. Oops.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by almost_hectic View Post

              Age makes a big difference. I had a lot of pain for several weeks. As expected, my surgeon told me it would feel like I was hit by a truck, pretty accurate actually. My surgeon said his young strong patients experience the most pain. Unlike his elderly patients who experience who remark of very little if any pain at all. It's a matter of muscle mass and active nerve endings.
              This is really interesting and thank you for posting. In my initial stages of healing I felt as though I was behind the eight ball, that I wasn't making the progress I should have. In hospital, the elderly were being sent home before me and I couldn't get my head around it! Everyone had been saying; "you're young and fit, you'll bounce back". I didn't feel very bouncy for some time. It was way harder than I anticipated and some of that was because I was under the pretense that my youth and fitness would have me recovering faster.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Mellyouttaphase View Post
                Everyone had been saying; "you're young and fit, you'll bounce back". I didn't feel very bouncy for some time. It was way harder than I anticipated and some of that was because I was under the pretense that my youth and fitness would have me recovering faster.
                Bouncing back does more mean that you have a capacity to return to previous levels of fitness. For the elderly there is the distinct possibility that they will recover but to a lower level of strength and activity. More chances of bones not healing. The surgeons each get to see the progress of a lot more patients than post here.

                Pain is personal, we each experience it diifferently, in my surgery at 28 I recall no real pain, but bouncing back was actually like climbing back up a long hard wall that I'd fallen down on the years before surgery.



                PS: and I think that I don't like the term "bouncing back" as it implies "passive" ... I felt like I had to work at it, however I did feel inclined to do it and as I did more I felt more inclined ... so maybe it does fit when you take a step back from it all.

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                • #9
                  After surgery I was off work for 6 weeks. After being discharged I started my 'rehab' - 3 X 5 minute walks a day plus some basic exercises to do 3 times a day also. The walks increased in duration by 5-10 minutes each week. After 2 weeks I would walk my son to daycare which is 5 minutes down the road.

                  I started doing basic household chores like washing the dishes at around 4 weeks. I DIDN'T do things like vacuum, sweeping etc until after 6-8 weeks and didn't carry heavy loads of washing or take out the garbage until closer to 10-12 weeks. Even then I would 'test' the weight first.

                  I didn't 'pick up' my kids (1 & 4 yrs old) until 12 weeks+ due to weight restrictions imposed. I also limited doing things like getting them dressed and changing nappies until around 8 weeks. I remember I tried to change a nappy at around 5 weeks and I was too weak to even keep my daughter from wriggling everywhere. It actually really hurt me trying to change her due to her resistance (she's a tough little thing).

                  Back at work at 6 weeks (5 weeks and 3 days to be precise doing an office job).

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                  • #10
                    I was pretty lucky, in that I recovered fairly quickly. I'm relatively young at 34 so that helped. At the two week mark after OHS (full sternotomy) I felt well enough to start going back to work in an office job. I took the bus, wasn't cleared to drive yet. Mind you, I wasn't at 100% - I still got winded more quickly than usual when going up the stairs, etc. and still had some aches here and there - but felt well enough to fend for myself in daily life. My main issue was the lack of good sleep due to the pain and valve clicking, so I would usually leave earlier than I was otherwise.

                    I should add that my mom visited for two weeks, and she was helpful to have around, specifically the first few days after release (4 days in the hospital). I was too sore to do any cooking or cleaning, so she helped there. I would've managed without her but I would've just ordered pizza to eat and lived in filth ;). By the second week we were just going around town so she didn't get bored .

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                    • #11
                      I was 42 with two young children and a husband that travels. He stayed home with me for a week, and then went into the office for the following week. I needed that - I could not have done the morning and afternoon school routine without him (and couldn't drive). My kids are 8 and 10. I would have your MIL stay two weeks, more if you don't have evening or morning help of a spouse. I was fine by myself when he went to work but could not have made meals etc. I couldn't even open the refrigerator of dishwasher (or door, actually). I returned to work at 8 weeks but worked from home, as I couldn't dress myself in a suit or professional dress yet and would tire easily. I returned to the office at 11 weeks.

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                      • #12
                        A key factor for you might be when you are allowed to drive, which is typically 6 weeks.
                        At age 51 diagnosed with Bicuspid Aortic Valve and Aortic Aneurysm (root 5.0cm, ascending 5.1cm)
                        Valve sparing surgery performed May 2013, Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, AZ

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                        • #13
                          My parents bought a second microwave and set up a on a counter,so I won't have to lift.They set all the plates and cups to counter level.

                          Still can't pick up my 20 lb cat!

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