How soon will work & driving resume after AVR

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Oilman

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Just wanted to find out the average time, when people where able to resume driving and work, with doctors approval of course, so I can communicate this to my employer. I work in the oilfield, I am the wellsite supervisor, so it is not labour intense. I work in a little 26' office trailer on location. I mostly work with the computer at my desk, and conduct walk around inspections on site every couples hours. My job does require me to drive to the wellsite in the morning and return home after the shift. On average the driving is an hour each way on a paved secondary road, two hours per day.

Doug
 

Jkm7

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It varies for each of us but rule of thumb seems to be driving priviliges are often returned in the range of 6 - 8 weeks.
My first OHS, my cardio released me to drive at 8 weeks but I truly did not feel up to it and waited another week. I live in northeast, it was bitterly cold, very icy and snowy winter and I was being cautious. My second OHS, when my cardio learned I was off pain killers and was feeling good, he released me to drive at about 2 1/2 - 3 weeks. I felt up to it and did so safely. At first, I only drove for local errands but not for long.

You are apt to find driving two hours a day quite tiring soon after OHS. Again, it varies but I wouldn't think you should advise your boss you'll be driving that distance any sooner than 8 weeks. You can always delight him by informing him you're up to returning sooner but give yourself some 'wiggle room'.

Your 'walk around inspections' will actually be good exercise. We are encouraged to walk, walk, walk during our healing.
 

Fundy

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I was told not to drive for 6 weeks. In the passenger seat had the seat all the way back with pillow between sternum and seatbelt. BTW, sneezing while driving is real fun.

For work I was off for three months after surgery, for a factory labour job. I think I remember cardiologist saying two months probably would have been OK, but they figure an extra month to be sure.

It sounds like if your recovery goes OK, you should be able to work again soon after your OK'd to drive.
 

Jeff Edmonton

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Hey Doug, fellow Central Albertain. I waited 4 weeks before I was allowed to drive, although a fender bender would have probably put me back in the hospital. It takes a good 6 weeks to heal, I waited 3 months before I went back to work and even then I took it easy. After 6 months I was swinging around a Frac boat in the North Sea as a Instrument Tech. pulling cables and rigging up hoses to off shore platforms.
I self test and get myself checked regularly at the lab just to be sure.
It took me 3 months to get in for surgery, the waiting was hard. Once a surgeon was selected, it took about a month to get in.
I live just outside Red Deer, very close to your age and have been through this and I wish you all the best. It is scarey, just think of it as just another surgery and try to get your house in order.
I used lots of pillows to make a spot were I could lay back into, after about a week I was able to lay on my side.
My SJM valve goes TIC, I can hear it and sometimes others hear it. It does not bother me as much anymore and for me it was the right choice.
I had a tough time getting to sleep the first few nights, sleeping pills helped.
Again, good luck and God Speed.
Jeff
 

neil

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hi doug ,everbody is different you read sum on here who are up and about at work in no time, others are a bit slower, like jeff said 3 months sounds good to me,dont rush back, listen to your body and you will do just fine,
 

epstns

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Hi, Doug.

I'm probably a bit older than you are (I'm 64 - at least for another month or so), but when I had my surgery at age 63, I was able to drive after 4 weeks. My surgeon based his recommendations on how each patient was healing, and from his perspective, I was doing fine. I went back to work after 6 weeks, but "short" days of about 5 to 7 hours instead of my usual 10 hours. I work in an office environment, only about 15 minutes from home, so the commute was a non-issue. I just went in after the heavy traffic subsided (big city), and came home before it got bad in the afternoon. After about 10 weeks, my work schedule was back to normal.

As for physical healing and readiness for heaview work, I'd say that we continue to heal for a lot longer than it seems. I have been doing pretty well since about 12 weeks post-op, but even now at 20 months post-op, I continue to feel improvements.

Life is good. Yours will be, too.
 

AgilityDog

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It depends.
How sick are you now? How does surgery go? How does recovery go? My first round it took me 12 weeks to go back to work full time, although I worked from home starting about 8 weeks out. But I was VERY ILL, and recovery took 12 months.
Second round, I started work from home about 5 weeks, was driving about 7 weeks when I could turn my neck again without pain. Went back to work part time with commuting around 8 weeks, while I finished rehab. Full time once rehab was done. After 6 months I forgot I'd had surgery again.
 

pgammo

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I was able to return to work after 4 weeks, and able to begin driving at 5 weeks. I found myself getting VERY sore driving though, as the muscles were contracting and beginning to work again, so I kept my driving to a minimum.
 

Chuck C

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Just wanted to find out the average time, when people where able to resume driving and work, with doctors approval of course, so I can communicate this to my employer. I work in the oilfield, I am the wellsite supervisor, so it is not labour intense. I work in a little 26' office trailer on location. I mostly work with the computer at my desk, and conduct walk around inspections on site every couples hours. My job does require me to drive to the wellsite in the morning and return home after the shift. On average the driving is an hour each way on a paved secondary road, two hours per day.

Doug
Driving was 9 days for me. I had my surgery 9 days ago and started driving today, so that's 9. I work from home, but I was conducting business while in the hospital, even conducted some from the ICU- not much, but there was time for a few calls and emails. However, as far as going to a job, I think that most people should take 4-6 weeks off, but it really depends on how you feel and getting the green light from your surgeon.
 

pellicle

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Driving was 9 days for me. I had my surgery 9 days ago and started driving today, so that's 9.
I think that its important to mention (for others reading this both now and in the future) that you had a mini which still leaves part of the sternum uncut ... that's amazingly short and I expect that the rise of modern power steering cars helps that. Old school thinking was 8 weeks to be sure to be sure to be sure.

BTW, was that your own call or were you cleared for that?

Also Zombie Thread alert because the one above yours was 2012
1617242328067.png
 

Chuck C

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I think that its important to mention (for others reading this both now and in the future) that you had a mini which still leaves part of the sternum uncut ... that's amazingly short and I expect that the rise of modern power steering cars helps that. Old school thinking was 8 weeks to be sure to be sure to be sure.

BTW, was that your own call or were you cleared for that?

Also Zombie Thread alert because the one above yours was 2012
View attachment 887678
Yes, glad that you mentioned that. I have a 3.5 inch mini-sternotomy, which is certainly a factor in how I feel well enough to do this. It was my call. I had a prescription that had to get picked up. Not a far drive, and with power steering, no stress beyond one pound in arm pulling the steering wheel. I was extremely cautious.
 

pellicle

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I was extremely cautious.
excellent ... now, have you ever seen stitches rip? That's through skin. Now how long ago was it that a piece of material was stitched into soft tissue which is also holding down a high pressure hose?

I'd not like any car accident at that time, if the still yet endothelialised valve got a significant jolt (like you had a mild car accident it could rip off and you'd have the same situation as a aortic dissection.

(I'm not making this up: Endothelialization of cardiovascular devices)

next I recommend looking up paravalvular leaks ....

up to you really
 
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John K

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I had my surgery last year and was approved to drive by my doctors at four weeks. That is also when I was approved to resume office work, it was 3 months before I was approved to resume field work. One of the precautions I was told to take was to not expose my chest to a airbag for at least four weeks as I had the full sternotomy. There are also a number of other restrictions that your doctor will advise you to take to include lifting and movement.

Talk to your surgeon and ask what restrictions they are going to advise detailing both normal and worst day activities.

John K
 

bizinsider

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San Diego, CA
You're like Superman. By contrast, with a full sternotomy I was encouraged by CC to wait 8 weeks to drive and was forced by my wife to sit in the back seat with the heart pillow strapped between the seat belt and my chest. I felt foolish but I treated it as having a "driver." Old school is old school. 🥴 But I was sitting at my desk writing on Day 11 (got home Day 10 from Cleveland) and while my brain was definitely not fully up to speed, I never felt a need to sit and do nothing. That would've driven me crazy. I did try to avoid highly stressful situations for the "recovery" period. Apparently you can overdo it, even if it doesn't feel like you are. The only thing really slow was my walking those first few weeks - DEFINITELY at an old person's pace. But I can still remember the moment that changed. It was quite exhilarating.
 

Woodcutter

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Oct 25, 2020
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I was ok'd to drive at 3 weeks. Something my surgeon said that I had not considered was "just make certain you do not have an air bag deployment into your sternum". I did drive without incident. Well, I did make one mistake at a gas station. It was on the way for an errand so I filled up a couple of jugs with diesel. Out of habit, I lifted the two of them in to the trunk. I did this without thinking whatsoever . . . . until I felt some movement. I was very fortunate in that nothing ever came of it but when I finally did think it registered what a stupid move that was. It was 12 gal of diesel and it was probably good I did them together to keep the torso 'balanced'. A lesson for me was that as I was healing and feeling better, I really needed to remind myself that I was not fully recovered and needed to pay more attention. (I did not need any reminders when sneezing.)
 

Eva

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... I was extremely cautious.
when I was anxious to drive sooner than 8 weeks, I told my doctor that I’m a very careful driver! His answer was “I’m not worried about your driving, I’m worried about someone hitting you, which you have no control over”!
stay safe and healthy.
 

tom in MO

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I had a full hack and was told I could drive when I stopped taking narcotic pain pills and felt up to it.

You'll get hit with an airbag in the passenger seat too.
 

MdaPA

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After my wife was discharged from her last surgery, I had to drive her back home (7hr drive without stops). All the nurses and doctors reminded us for her to sit in the back seat for a few weeks due to the airbag. We get in the car and she sat in the front passenger seat as we both felt safe and there was no chance of getting into an accident (she also didn't want to sit in the back the entire ride).

Needless to say, and this is NO lie, we were not even a few miles down the road from the hospital when a 12-wheel tractor trailer came into our lane and side-swiped our economy sized car. We both were not going fast and I was able to stop without going off the road. The truck driver heard my horn so the truck didn't crush our car but it did rip off my drivers outside mirror and dented/scratched up the side and fender pretty good.

We were so lucky that none of the air bags deployed and neither of us were hurt! After the police left and we determined the car was still driveable, she was buckled into the back seat for the remainder of the way.

Then after driving 5-6 hours doing about 70 MPH, a deer darts onto the highway narrowly missing the front of our car. If we hit it, it could have killed us both!

I drove 5 MPH the rest of the way.

Remember, air bags have been known to deploy after driving over speed bumps in parking lots!
 
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pellicle

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just to underscore this

. A lesson for me was that as I was healing and feeling better, I really needed to remind myself that I was not fully recovered and needed to pay more attention. (I did not need any reminders when sneezing.)
its probably the most dangerous time when you feel better but stuff still isn't strong.
 
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