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Thread: Do'd and Dont's After Surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Union Grove, WI USA
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    Question Do'd and Dont's After Surgery

    I was never given a list of dos and don'ts before I left the hospital.
    My husband is now calling me lazy and will not help me.
    He says I need to stand and do things for myself.

    Does anyone know of where I can find this list?

  2. #2
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    Hi Shari and welcome to the insane asylum.

    End of March surgery huh? That's about 5 weeks.

    You'll find some info in this thread, but it would more helpful to know your current condition since surgery.

    http://valvereplacement.com/forums/s...802#post218802

  3. #3
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    This file may be helpful to you also.

    This link is even better:
    http://mercyweb.org/heartcenter/pati...d=1308&id=1168

  4. #4
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    I wasn't told about Do's and Don'ts except not to lift anything over 10 lbs. and no sitting in the front seat of a car if it had air bags. Its been two years, and I don't recall no one telling me I can drive or lift 10 lbs or more. I'm doing it all now, but you do have to listen to your body. It will tell you when you've had enough and need to rest.

    Oh, by the way, welcome to the forum
    Laughter is the Best Medicine

    MVR March 30/07 Carbomedics Valve - Said and done in 5 days - Shocked & Dumbfounded
    I've learned..That to ignore the facts does not change the facts

  5. #5
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    upstate New York
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    You need to describe how you are feeling at 5 weeks after surgery. Also it would be very helpful for all here to understand what transpired right before your surgery, i.e., what was the nature of the surgery? Was it just a valve replacement or did it also involve aneurysm repair or CABG problems or MAZE procedure? What type of valve was implanted? Do you have a pacemaker? What medications are you on post surgery? Have you yet been discharged by your surgeon? Have you had the first appt. with your cardiologist.

    How did you do during surgery. Was it uneventful, or were there problems while hospitalized?

    5 weeks is still in the early stages of recovery. Yes, you should be getting up and walking around as much as possible. But you still may have lifting restrictions. They didn't tell you at discharge that you shouldn't be lifting anything heavy? That is very, very important to proper healing of your sternum. You should not be lifting anything even as simple as a gallon of milk, and you should not be doing anything that involves twisting and lifting at the same time.

    Your sternum was split in two, and like other bones, it has to heal back together. If you cause it to open up, it may heal apart and that will cause you problems forever. Yes, the surgeon has wired you together so nothing will come apart easily, but things can still happen.

    You are probably feeling very tired still and might require naps during the day.

    You may not feel like your old self for 6 months or even longer.

    This is major, major surgery, and recovery is not the same as a simple surgery like an appendectomy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Waterdown, Ontario Canada
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    Welcome to VR. Glad you found us.

    Here a link to the book my hospital gave me when I was discharged. I hope it helps.

    http://www.uhn.ca/Patients_&_Visitor...ward_bound.asp

    Best wishes and good luck.
    Wayne
    02/28/06 Mitral Valve Repair & closure of atrial septal defect - Dr. Tirone David
    03/24/06 Pericardial Tamponade

  7. #7
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    Hello Shari, and welcome.
    At 5 weeks post op I was still moping around the house, needing help to bathe, etc.
    I think that the hospital vampires took so much blood, that I was half dead for weeks.
    BAV-Aortic Stenosis...AVR Oct 11, 2005 / St.Jude Regent mechanical 21mm
    INR Home testing since 2007 with Coaguchek XS...Self-Dosing

    "Caution: I may have been in contact with Nuts"

  8. #8
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    Hi Shari,
    Welcome. Happy you found us and hope each day you feel better.

    I agree with all the above posts. You've had serious surgery and each of us heals at different rate. What one person is able to do at 6 weeks may be very different for someone else.

    I had two OHS and I healed much faster my second than my first which was four years previously. One would think it would be the reverse but you need to listen to your body.

    On the other hand, movement is very important for healing and recovery. Each has different abilities and, of course, all motion needs to be tailored to each patient but I found the more I moved around, the better I felt.

    But, do not lift. That can't be emphasized too much. I was told no lifting of more than ten pounds for about the first month. I think my doctors may have raised it to 15 about two months.

    Hope you have a smooth recovery.

  9. #9
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    I'm 14 days post op, for me they told me no lifting over 10lbs, no pushing/pulling and not to use my arms to get out of bed, rather to roll or use my stomache muscles. I would recomend speaking with your doctor as I believe most discharge plans are unique to each individual. Hang in there and get well soon.

  10. #10
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    Green Bay, WI, Columbus, OH, and Chicago, IL.
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    Here are the guidelines from Northwestern Memorial Hospital. I also got some material from PT, but don't have a link to a pdf of it.

    http://www.nmh.org/nmh/pdf/pated/bcv...eartsurg07.pdf

  11. #11
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    Default Do's & Don't's

    Yes indeed, there's probably a very nice list of do's & don't's out there. While I would never encourage anyone to not pay much attention to that list, I kinda did whatever I felt like doing after my AVR surgery. Yes, there are probably folks out there who would accurately comment that I moved too fast, but I needed to and I did okay. I've always been one of those people who liked to do for myself and relying on someone else to do for me just didn't feel good.

    If you want an accurate list of what you can and can't do, you should probably visit with your cardiologist. He can assess where you are with recovery much more accurately than anyone here.

    -Philip

  12. #12
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    Jan 2002
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    Springfield Mo area
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    Do you have a history of laziness? I doubt it. Has your husband had his chest cracked open? You could always hope that he gets to have that experience himself; it might change his thinking.
    Celia, wife of Jerry (the patient)
    AVR 2/12/02, St Jude's Mechanical
    1 bypass
    Pericardial Window 4/22/02
    Cox Medical Center, Springfield MO

  13. #13
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    Welcome aboard, Shari, and sorry that your husband says you are lazy...he does not realize how major the OHS is or he is trying to push you to recovery. My advise is do not rush it and listen to your body.
    Eva

    Aortic & Mitral valves replaced with St. Jude Mechanical valves @ age 57 on 9/2/08

    INR home tester/Coagucheck

    Forum Rules: " .... medical opinions expressed in this forum are the personal opinions of individuals. No person should at any time
    act on the information contained herein without the express consent of your own physician."

  14. #14
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    Location
    California, USA
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    Default Do's and don'ts

    I think you need a new husband first. Until he gets cracked open like we have and understands how weak we can be for many weeks after OHS, he should be more considerate, and pitch in and help.

    Your body will tell you when you're on the border of doing too much. Like others have said the lifting is the thing to be careful of. Do as much walking as you like is what my surgeon told me, and that has worked fine. I am now 9 months post op and am finally feeling like myself again.

    The only lazy one here is the husband. As the 69 year old father of 3 adult daughters I have a special place in my heart for husbands that don't step up and help when the woman needs it the most.

  15. #15
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    May 2009
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    Union Grove, WI USA
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    I am at least 36 days since I have had surgery.

    I am having right knee joint pain when I move from a chair to my walker.

    My sternum hurts about all the time.

    Hubby is now realizing that I am not healing like he thought I should.

  16. #16
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    Shari, you hang in there.....and keep in touch with your doctor if you have anything that needs to be checked out.
    If your hubby needs some relief from being a caregiver, can you get a friend or family member for a day?
    My daughter would come over so that my hubby could go the store, bank, garage, or whatever without worrying about me.
    BAV-Aortic Stenosis...AVR Oct 11, 2005 / St.Jude Regent mechanical 21mm
    INR Home testing since 2007 with Coaguchek XS...Self-Dosing

    "Caution: I may have been in contact with Nuts"

  17. #17
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    Palm Beach County Florida
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    Don'ts for after surgery

    No matter how much you feel like doing it, ever dream of strangling the Progressive Insurance woman.

    The movie Apollo 13 isn't meant to be watched 13 times during your hospital stay.

    Tell food services that if you wanted raw tuna for lunch rather than a tuna salad sandwich, you would have told the wife to bring a can from home.

    Get angry at your ICU nurse if she bolts from the room to stop her other patient from discharging himself.

    Try talking to the Philippine born nurses in waray. First because, 95% of the time they won't be from Samar or Leyte, secondly because your understanding of that Philippine dialect isn't very good even when not under heavy medication.

    Do's(This should be taken seriously)

    Get out walking even for short bits as soon as you come home.

    Keep your heart pillow nearby for the first two months.

    Rest when tired

    Don't lift anything beyond what the doctor allows you to. A laptop PC I use all the time was too heavy for me when I first came home.
    AVR and repair of a heart aneuyrism 8-13-08 by [URL="http://jfk.floridaheartandvascular.com/jfkphysicians.htm"]Dr. Lester[/URL], JFK Hospital.

    "I haven't had so much fun since the nurse re-inserted the catheter."

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shari View Post
    I am at least 36 days since I have had surgery.

    I am having right knee joint pain when I move from a chair to my walker.

    My sternum hurts about all the time.

    Hubby is now realizing that I am not healing like he thought I should.
    It takes a good 6 to 8 weeks for your sternum to heal and it's not going to stop hurting for about 4 months. This husband of yours needs to go through the experience himself. This was not a tonsillectomy, this was open heart surgery! Ask him how he'd think he'd feel if someone took a Sawzall and split his sternum in two.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD, USA
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    Default Knee problem? Please hang in there!

    Well I have 3 ex-husbands and I was very glad none of them were around when I had OHS.

    My hospital gave me a big heart-shaped pillow which I was to hold (or belt) in front of me during car trips in that early healing time. I also used that pillow (or others) until it did not hurt when I rolled over in bed. (At 4 plus months, I still push on my sternum when I get up in the morning, because my chest hurts when I get up, for some reason.

    I was told to get raised toilet seats, which I am still using. (Not good to push up with your arms.) They tell you to rock until you have momentum to get up from toilet, chair, etc. I used a cane for weeks because it kept me balanced and provided a thing to lean on when I had to wait in line. (Is that why you are using a walker?)

    Which brings me to the knee. Was there something wrong with your knee before your OHS? Having a bum knee is not part of the usual OHS healing process. Certainly having a bum knee will slow down your OHS recovery! How can you regain your ability to get up or stand in lines, etc., if you are fighting knee pain?

    Maryka

    Aortic Root replacement, Dec. 23, 2008, Johns Hopkins, Dr. Duke Cameron
    St. Jude mechanical valve with dacron tube for aneurysm.

  20. #20
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    May 2009
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    Union Grove, WI USA
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    I have a powerchair to get around.
    My walking abitlity that PT and OT discovered is non existant.
    To walk around the house is with a walker.
    I have never had knee problems until this surgery.

  21. #21
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    Have they explained how you suffered knee injury during the surgery, Shari? How awful to not only have chest pain from the surgery but knee as well. Who would have expected that?

  22. #22
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    May 2009
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    Union Grove, WI USA
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    No one explained anything to me.
    I had a heart catheterization on the 24th of March and OHS on the 27th of March. I was then rushed back into surgery for a tracheotonmy. I was very drugged up and on a ventilaor.

    I even have sleep apnea. I gues I am one sorry mess.

  23. #23
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    Jan 2009
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
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    Hey Shari. Healing is different for everyone. You certainly don't strike me as a "sorry mess", hang in there, use your breathing dealy bob and walk if you can. It will get easier and we are all rooting for you.
    Phil
    Aortic Valve (Edwards 23 cm 3000TFX) and Aortic Root Replacement 4.21.09, St. Mary's Hospital, Reno, NV. Surgeon: Dr. Roumanas

  24. #24
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    North Alabama
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    Shari,

    You SHOULD have received a page of Written Instructions from your Surgeon as your Discharge Papers.

    #1 - CALL your Surgeon's Office and ask for a copy of his Discharge instructions, and especially what weight limits he specifies for Pushing / Pulling / Lifting and a Time Table for increasing those limits. Also a time when he thinks you might be able to drive (alone).

    The issue with your WALKER may be a BIG ONE as I'm guessing you are putting more than the usual 5 or 10 lbs limit on your arms / walker. You need to discuss this issue with your Surgeon and Physical Therapist.

    Your Sternum Pain could Very Well be a result of putting too much weight on your arms and continually disrupting the healing of your sternum. If this is the case, it is a BIG DEAL and needs to be addressed.

    Note that the 'usual' time for the Sternum to reach 85% of it's strength is typically 6 weeks with NO excessive forces applied, and 12 weeks to reach 100%.

    Bottom Line: Call your Surgeon TODAY.
    You need a Clear and Appropriate PLAN for Recovery.

    'AL Capshaw'

  25. #25
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    What are they doing for your sleep apnea? Several people on this site have that and some use a C-Pap machine at night which helps a lot.

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