Recovering alone

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Paul

Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2007
Messages
23
Location
Canada
I have been reading through many of your posts and have found it very informative.
I tried to do a search in the post surgery forums to see if anyone had recovered on thier own but I didnt find much.

So I guess what im asking is .... Has any one recovered from aortic valve replacment on thier own?

It sounds like most people have others to tend to thier needs, im sure this isnt the case for all members.

Any info would be nice..

Thanks in advance.... Paul:rolleyes:
 

Bina

Premium Level User
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
12,699
Location
East Ontario, Canada
Hello Paul, and welcome to the group.
I have an older woman friend who lived alone and had OHS for bypasses. She went into a post surgery rehab facility for a couple of weeks and then was okay to go home with a home nurse visiting.
I don't know whereabouts you live, but even here on the farms in eastern Ontario I was able to have a home nurse come and help me with wound care 2-3 times a week. My husband was nervous of my incision cleaning when I had a small infection.
I think that with thoughtful planning and preparation it would be fine. You would not be able to take out garbage, open windows, house clean, do yard work for a few weeks. But everything is do-able with planning.
Obviously your first OHS was in a pediatric facility, where would you be going for your next surgery?
We have members across Canada, don't be shy....:)
 

Nancy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2001
Messages
9,896
Location
upstate New York
Quite a while back, we had a member Gillian from england who (I'm not sure I'm remembering this correctly) was caregiver for her disabled husband, and essentially would have to go through surgery alone. She made arrangements for a respite stay for her husband, and also made arrangements on a short term basis at a nursing type home for herself. It worked out fine for her, and she went back home after recovering enough to manage.

Most will find that they need care for at least the first week, and possibly the second. You cannot drive for several weeks afterwards either, and have severe lifting restrictions, and won't be able to do much in the line of cooking or laundry or things like that. Stairs may also be a problem, and sometimes sleeping in your own bed.

The surgery will leave you feeling very weak, and you will also be suffering from cognitive problems until the anesthesia and pain meds get gone from your system.

You will have some medical appts. to go to, and someone will have to get your new medication scripts at the pharmacy.

I think it is possible, but you will have to plan ahead for things, and possibly enlist the help of neighbors or church members, or even work colleagues. You might be able to arrange in-home care with Visiting Nurses or an organization like that.

I think a visit to your hospital's Social Worker will be most helpful. They know what resources there are in your community and can pave the way for you. I would do that well in advance of your surgery date.
 
M

Mary

Guest
Michaelka went through mitral valve replacement pretty much on his own. If you click on his name, you will find threads that he started. I remember being quite concerned about how he would fare, but he came through it well.

We also had a member named Spring, who was an elderly widow, who had no family to help her with her recovery. I believe that she spent extra days in the hospital recuperating, and then she had home health assistance. I admire her greatly.

Good luck, Paul.
 
G

geebee

Guest
Welcome, Paul.

I am a firm believer that nothing is impossible just that some situations are preferable.

Is there any opportunity to line up a few people you could call if you find something needed that you can't handle? That way you could set up everything ahead of time (food, pillows, comfort items, etc.) and still know the unforeseen will be covered.

I do like the idea of a couple weeks in a care facility if that is available considering coverage. Not sure how that works in Canada.

Hope all turns out easy for you.
 

sue943

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 6, 2006
Messages
1,556
Location
Jersey, Channel Islands (British Isles)
I had both aortic and mitral valve replacements and I live alone. As I had my surgery in the UK I had my surgery on the Thursday and was discharged on the Sunday of the following week. I wasn't permitted to return home as I would have had to fly alone as well as look after myself and the hospital said it wasn't an option so my daughter collected me and I was due to return to my own home a week later but events overtook me and I was in fact admitted to hospital on the Thursday with complete heart block and remained there for a further week. At that stage my daughter was on her honeymoon, having got married the day after my re-admission. The hospital arranged my transport to the airport then I flew home alone and then had to fend for myself, no family within hundreds of miles.

So I was alone from three weeks after my surgery onwards. I live in a normal house, my bedroom is upstairs. It was really just a case of getting myself organised, stopping to think before going downstairs so I didn't have to keep going up and down. As I couldn't carry anything heavy I used to put small quantities of clothing in a bag and threw it down the stairs when I needed to do the washing. With my bed, as I couldn't change my bedding, I placed a large towel on top of my sheet and slept on the towel, that could easily be changed without effort. A neighbour took me to the supermarket once a week and carried my shopping into the house for me.

I just took it easy, left the cleaning until later, no vacuuming. I managed.
 

tobagotwo

VR.org Supporter
Joined
Feb 10, 2004
Messages
5,228
Location
Central NJ
Paul,

I came home three days after surgery, immediately walked up the stairs to see if I could do it, and was self-sufficient from that point on. My wife went reluctantly and concernedly back to work on Monday, having not had to fend for her husband. I have a convenience store not far, and you can carry small things (no milk gallons). But that's not guaranteed for anyone. Many people, especially older people, come home and can't fend for themselves very well for several weeks. Not that I'm a spring chicken, mind you.

At the least, it would help to have a backup plan, in case you are not a rapid recovery, and certainly, you will need a supply source for fresh food.

This is an interesting thing to think about, and this is just the forum to come up with some ideas.

Best wishes,
 

Philip B

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
1,219
Location
Casa Grande, Arizona
Alone?

Alone?

Hi Paul,

Like Bob, I pretty much fended for myself when I returned home from AVR surgery. My wife wasn't too thrilled about going back to work and leaving me alone, but there was little point in having her at home fussing over me when I was able to manage without her. It was nice to have support available even though I did not need much.

This said, many members have had different experiences and can relate different perspectives. It is a good idea to have your fridge and pantry stocked. Food did not have much appeal for me when I returned home, but eating well is important to recovery.

I went back to work very quickly after surgery. I didn't really have to spend too much time at home alone.

-Philip
 

Adrienne

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 3, 2006
Messages
1,502
Location
Montreal, Canada
I remember having to fill in a form at the hospital saying that I had someone (my husband) to take care of me when I went home. If there is no one, the hospital sees to it that you are sent to a convalescent home for a couple of weeks.

Although my recovery went well, I must admit that I don't know how I could have been alone that first weeks.
 

Superbob

Steely Resolve!
Joined
Apr 21, 2005
Messages
8,223
Location
Coastal Carolina
Looks like you are a relatively young guy, presumably in pretty good shape. It might be that you could follow in the self-sufficient mold of some who have posted here. However, I would strongly advise you to have a backup plan -- some folks you can call on if necessary during the first few weeks. The success rate for these surgeries is very high, thank goodness, but we never know what bumps may arise in the road to recovery. I know I couldn't have done without my family to help me the first few weeks.
 

Freddie

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Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Messages
5,937
Location
Canada
WOW, another Canadian. At this rate we could have our own reunion....LOL

Welcome to the group Paul, if we knew where you lived we might be able to help you out even more. Please don't be shy.

As far as being alone after surgery, are they any neighbors or friends that you could count on if you needed help?

Rest, walking and eating well will all help with your recovery, but if you can't open that can of soup or lift the toaster one might say your screwed. I suggest to put items on the counter for easy access.

As Philip B said: "It is a good idea to have your fridge and pantry stocked"

Please keep us posted.
 

Paul

Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2007
Messages
23
Location
Canada
Thank you all for taking the time to respond to my question.

I am a very independent person who helps others rather than ask for help. Im sure I wont be without assistance but it worries me to be "completely" helpless.

Eight months ago my Cardiologist said he sees me getting a valve replacment within the next one or two years. I have spent the last thirty years oblivious to my condition and all the medical jargan and just asked him if I would make it another 5 years... each time the answer was yes. This time it was not and it hit me like a ton of bricks. On Friday I went in and did a Dip Tetro test... lay back and pedal with a camera taking pics of your radio active blood. All he told me was my heart compressions were very strong, and that was about it. I guess I will just have to wait for the results.

I have tons of questions but most were answered on previous posts.

My biggest concern is the life time of clicking I will have to listen too. Im sure everyone in this chat room has reached up and felt their neck pulse when your heart races for no reason... imagine listening to your clicker start clicking faster for no reason.....I dont think I could get used to it.

I guess my days of bluffing at poker are gone... imagine the racket my valve would make if I was holding a straight flush...lol :D

Thanks again for the quick responses to my post.
I guess its time for me to ask the doctor for specific numbers on leakage and get some understanding what they mean.

Take care.....Paul
 

Freddie

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Messages
5,937
Location
Canada
Hey Paul, not everyone hears their valve "click". Maybe occasionally, but not always.
So your poker games may not be over.:)
 

Philip B

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
1,219
Location
Casa Grande, Arizona
Clicking

Clicking

Paul,

Like many things associated with AVR surgery, experiences are different. How loud an artificial valve clicks varies; it has to do with individual body acoustics.

I can hear my valve click, but other people sitting close to me in the same room do not hear it at all. My new valve has been clicking since its installation in late March. In all honesty, the click still bugs me, but it bugs me less now than it did six months ago. I guess the short story here is that over time one gets used to stuff.

The other thing that is worth remembering is valve choice. One can always chose a tissue valve rather than a mechanical. Members who opted for tissue valves can probably give you their perspectives on valve noise issues.

-Philip
 

Debbie

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 13, 2007
Messages
572
Location
So. California area
Welcome

Welcome

Dear Paul, Welcome and I'm glad you joined our site, you'll get lots of info. here. When it gets closer to having surgery and you get a date and then you tell your friends, family you'll be surprised at how many people will want to help you and will be sympathetic to you. People will want to help you, I think you said you enjoy helping others, they'll want to return the favor! Good luck Debbie
 
M

MajorHart

Guest
Hello Paul

Hello Paul

Paul said:
I have been reading through many of your posts and have found it very informative.
I tried to do a search in the post surgery forums to see if anyone had recovered on thier own but I didnt find much.

So I guess what im asking is .... Has any one recovered from aortic valve replacment on thier own?

It sounds like most people have others to tend to thier needs, im sure this isnt the case for all members.

Any info would be nice..

Thanks in advance.... Paul:rolleyes:
While my wife came and got me in the hospital - she works nights and couldn't take off - I did just fine by myself from day 1. I made myself food, walked 1/4 mile on the treadmill on my second day home and 1/2 the third. Now 3 weeks home I do 1 miles everyday.

I am semi retired - working my websites and I went right back to reading emails and communicating from the second day and waiting on my wife on the 3rd - I do the house cleaning, dishes, a lot of cooking, put on the coffee and work on the computers.

There's really no downtime unless an individual feels they need more rest and care - I didn't, and was eager to resume where I left off.

MajorHart
 
M

MajorHart

Guest
Thanks - I forgot to mention that my wife drives right now.

Thanks - I forgot to mention that my wife drives right now.

Nancy said:
Quite a while back, we had a member Gillian from england who (I'm not sure I'm remembering this correctly) was caregiver for her disabled husband, and essentially would have to go through surgery alone. She made arrangements for a respite stay for her husband, and also made arrangements on a short term basis at a nursing type home for herself. It worked out fine for her, and she went back home after recovering enough to manage.

Most will find that they need care for at least the first week, and possibly the second. You cannot drive for several weeks afterwards either, and have severe lifting restrictions, and won't be able to do much in the line of cooking or laundry or things like that. Stairs may also be a problem, and sometimes sleeping in your own bed.

The surgery will leave you feeling very weak, and you will also be suffering from cognitive problems until the anesthesia and pain meds get gone from your system.

You will have some medical appts. to go to, and someone will have to get your new medication scripts at the pharmacy.

I think it is possible, but you will have to plan ahead for things, and possibly enlist the help of neighbors or church members, or even work colleagues. You might be able to arrange in-home care with Visiting Nurses or an organization like that.

I think a visit to your hospital's Social Worker will be most helpful. They know what resources there are in your community and can pave the way for you. I would do that well in advance of your surgery date.
Thanks - I forgot to mention that my wife drives right now. She does all our outside stuff but I still take care of myself personally and most of the inside stuff for her. I never felt dopy or anything really from as soon as I got home to now. It was about 3 days to a week before I could do more on the internet - other that reading and answering mail.

I'm sure people differ a lot here.

MajorHart
 

Magic8Ball

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 26, 2006
Messages
562
Location
Perth, West Australia.
Paul said:
My biggest concern is the life time of clicking I will have to listen too. Im sure everyone in this chat room has reached up and felt their neck pulse when your heart races for no reason... imagine listening to your clicker start clicking faster for no reason.....I dont think I could get used to it.
You are reading the post of a guy who could hear an open window in another room and could not get to sleep until it was closed.....i still can't sleep with other noise such as my wife snoring or breathing heavily.....and i click like a good one...ive got a big st jude aortic and its clicking louder than the keys on my laptop as i type......

I have completely gotten used to it and only give it thought when its quiet but it never stops me getting to sleep.

As for the recovery alone...i had all the support a guy could hope for but i recon that had i stocked up the fridge/freezer before going in i could have coped ok....as long as i was using paper plates and had to do no cleaning.

Probably two weeks onwards was an acceptable quality of life...those first two were a little rough at times but when you have oodles of support its easy to be a little more pathetic than if you had to fend for yourself.

i perhaps milked it from time to time.
 

Cooker

Chillin, just chillin....
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
10,540
Location
South Carolina
Although my mother-in-law stayed close by:rolleyes: I did everything for myself. I did encounter a few bumps in the road in the first week or two and it was good to have her close by. She mainly provided taxi service back and forth to the cardio's and twice back to the hospital, I was really glad she was there then. I don't like people hovering over me when I am sick or convalescing but you never know what might pop up. I tell people that OHS/AVR/MVR is no huge deal as far as recovery but it ain't no cold either.

If you can round up even some stand by help it would be a good idea.
 

Bina

Premium Level User
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
12,699
Location
East Ontario, Canada
This is a good topic.
Freddie's post reminded me that there was NO way I could have opened a can of soup. I could not push down the handle on the toaster. I could not put on my winter boots, so for a few weeks I wore loose running shoes. Keep clothing simple, sweat pants are good with a loose T-shirt.
A button front cardigan is easiest to put on.
Maybe you can time your surgery according to what time of year is easiest for you...spring or fall is good.
I chose fall, but if I had to choose again, I would choose spring.
Whether you live in a house or apartment makes a big difference.
Pushing and pulling is very hard, think of windows, doors, etc. Care of pets may be difficult.
Don't worry, progress is good and steady. And I can still play poker....no loud ticking.:)
 
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