Tips during hospital stay
From my experience having endured a bypass operation, how does what you do affect your stay in hospital and a speedy recovery? Great question, but these tips are only from my experience. It may not suit everyone but for me it worked very well.
During your Hospital Stay
1. From the very first moment of entering hospital, keep a positive mental attitude. Keep telling yourself that whatever happens, you are now in the hands of people who definitely know what they are doing. Keep asking questions about your procedure, keep asking questions on how you can help yourself recover quickly after surgery. Whatever you do, remain calm, be polite to the people that are looking after you and try to have a sense of humour. This goes a long way in remaining in the good books of nurses!
2. However awful the hospital food is (believe me, I have tasted and seen some truly awful stuff), ensure you eat it....... ensure you keep eating the meals and if you are given a menu to choose from, choose wisely. Think of food that they don't necessarily have to microwave or food that is mass produced. Classic example...... jacket potato. They generally can't go wrong cooking that and this was one of my favourite meals because I knew no matter how they cooked it, generally you could eat the inside of a jacket potato even if the skin had been ruined or not to your liking, and the topping is generally cheese. They can't make a mistake with cheese. Its filling too, so a good choice all round for lunch or dinner if you get that choice. Salad is always good too. I never had a bad salad and I always had a generous helping of salad and cheese on my plate.
3. Whatever the nurse says is true. Don't argue, don't try to reason with them, they know their stuff and what they are doing and you wouldn't want to cross paths with a nurse you have upset!!
4. Exercise after surgery. The sooner you get out of bed and start walking the better. You will feel great and your progress will be quicker. My first steps were wobbly so don't expect much different, however the 2nd walk you do is going to be less wobbly and speedier down the corridor, so as soon as you can, get out of bed, get on your feet and start walking. DO NOT do this by yourself, ALWAYS ask the nurse to go for a walk and he/she will hook you up to a portable heart monitor and away you both go down the corridor for some well earned exercise. This is REALLY important. Please start walking as soon as you can.
Recovering at Home after a Bypass Operation
At last your home and all you want to do is sleep and get some decent food. I don't blame you, but please think about these points as you start your recovery.
1. Check your medication that the hospital provided as you left. Get organised and ensure you know what you are taking and when.
2. Ensure you read the booklets, discharge summary and any handouts that were given to you by the hospital. These are vitally important to ensure your recovery is swift and safe.
3. Ensure you change your diet to what they suggest. This ensures your body gets the right fuel for recovery and more importantly, your heart has a better way to recover. Did you know that your heart is still suffering from the shock of surgery and therefore its important you do the very best you can for yourself and for your heart.
4. Exercise. Stick to what the booklets and handouts tell you, week by week. DO NOT overdo it, DO NOT try and be superman, there is a reason why you start off slow and small and slowly build up. Don't forget, your heart is still recovering from the shock of surgery.
5. Listen to your Cardiac Rehab Nurse. They have dealt with this many times before, so they know what they are talking about. They are trying to help you. Its a great opportunity to ask questions if you're not sure about how your progressing or if you feel like you want to do something, best to ask them first regarding exercise and healing of yourself.
6. DO NOT push yourself outside of your limits! You're going to be sore in the chest for weeks, so don't attempt to undo all the healing thats taking place by trying to lift things that you shouldn't. The booklets and handouts tell you not to push, pull or lift anything other than a mug of coffee especially for the 1st week. Don't forget, this is a long process of healing, you can't speed it up and if you do, then you have the potential to move bones in the chest area and an element of bones clicking as they are not healed yet. This can be disconcerting to hear and feel, so please don't do it. Just follow the advice and guidance and patience is a major factor here. Your body is going to take around 3 months to heal to the point where you can carry shopping. A rule of thumb, is if you lift something and it hurts, don't do it. Wait 2 weeks and try lifting the same thing again. If it hurts again, wait another 2 weeks! Patience.........
I am now at the 8 week point of recovery. I am recovering well and today I was thinking just how lucky I am to have survived my "widow maker" heart attack and get through the bypass operation. I am truly thankful to the surgeon and also my positive mental attitude for getting through the worst of it. I am still in the early days of recovery but I am really confident that I have many years ahead of me. Amen to the powers that be.
Additional Information whilst staying in Hospital