Posted by Heart Hugger on Oct 18, 2017 2:32:00 PM
With medical technology these days, these procedures can be considered somewhat “minor”; however, recovery time is not overnight. So proper preparation is key to a successful recovery.
Steps to Prepare for Heart Surgery:
- Be sure to purchase/order a Heart Hugger before your surgery, so you can be sure to enjoy the comfort and recovery benefits immediately after your surgery.
- Compile a list of friends/family in advance who are willing to help. Assign one person to serve as coordinator of post-op visits/meals. Limit to no more than two visitors per day.
- Purchase/rent/borrow a comfortable recliner.
- Have extra pillows handy for when you can sleep in your bed again. This varies by patient, but I was in my bed the second night after I got home. For some, it’s weeks.
- If your primary caretaker works have a back-up available, especially early on when it may be too painful to do simple tasks such as pulling a shirt over your head or opening a water bottle.
- Suggest to friends that they bring/send you their favorite DVDs. This is also a great time to catch up on or watch a TV series.
- Get a massage or two in the week prior to surgery. This will help blood flow more freely and keep you relaxed.
- If possible, train on a pilates reformer for 1-3 months prior to surgery. I am almost convinced this is why I had minimal sternal pain post-op. A cheaper alternative would be floor pilates classes.
- Having books and magazines on hand is great but make sure they are light reads.
- Be prepared for disappointment and pleasant surprises. Some of the folks you think will be the biggest help will let you down and vice versa.
- Be prepared for frustration and aggravation—hospital bills, insurance issues (especially with heart defects), normal things you cannot do, cabin fever due to exhaustion and not being able to drive for 4-6 weeks. Cabin fever may be less of a factor if you live in a city or a small town. I, unfortunately, did not.
- Keep a blog, Facebook and/or Twitter page. These are a great alternative to replying to phone calls/emails when you’re exhausted. Facebook/Twitter is great for mini status updates and the blog for longer updates. I found my blog to be very therapeutic, too.
- Find a support network. I used the ACHA Discussion Forum religiously and even found a few new friends!
These are just a few examples of how to prepare for heart surgery. Everyone will have a different recovery period so be sure to design your preparation around your interests.