Posted by Heart Hugger on Mar 17, 2022 8:15:53 AM
After an invasive procedure like heart surgery, patients are hit with the reality that it’ll take some time before they feel normal again. The weeks, or even months ahead, can seem daunting as patients dread what kind of pain they might experience. However, with a little bit of planning, the good news is that your recovery doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are some tips for women to prepare for heart surgery and conquer those weeks in recovery!
What to Do Now To Be Prepared
It's never too early to start planning for your surgery and post-op recovery. Here's a look at what you can do now.
Start Exercising Early
Breathing exercises are a mandatory part of the recovery process, so it’s best to start preparing your body early so you’ll be ready when the time comes. Practice slow, deep breathing techniques to find your rhythm before the pain hits. By getting a jump start on breathing exercises, your risk of any lung complications is reduced.
AVOID ACRYLIC NAILS
Wearing nail polish or acrylic nails interferes with the pulse oximeter getting an accurate reading of your oxygen levels, so it’s best to hold off on nail appointments until after surgery.
BRING YOUR OWN PILLOW
An overnight stay in a hospital bed is quite the adjustment, especially when you’re used to your mattress and pillow. If you’re hoping to get some good sleep after heart surgery, make a point to bring that comfy pillow from home. Recovering at a hospital can feel isolating, so it’s nice to have those comforts that remind you of home!
It’s a shock to discover that simple tasks like washing your hair become complicated when any movement you make seems to irritate your wound (and irritate your mood in the process!) And with a chest incision, you may feel much more comfortable washing your hair forward instead of backward. Drying your hair can also pose a challenge. You won’t be able to lift your arms as easily for a while, so you may need someone else to assist you for the first few rounds of using a blow dryer.
Pack COMFORTABLE CLOTHING
Whenever you’re discharged, you’ll need to bring comfortable clothing for the drive home that won’t irritate your surgical site. The kind of undergarments you wear after surgery can either help or hurt depending on the support and materials—garments like a tank top or V-neck nightgown are an extremely comfortable choice.
However, you should consider wearing a sternum support harness, like Heart Hugger, to take significant strides in curbing pain as you journey home from the hospital.
Plan POST-OP RECOVERY
While the surgery procedure will be top of mind for most patients, it’s a good idea to plan how you’ll mitigate post-surgery pain. The cause of post-op pain will spike each time a patient’s movements irritate the incision area since the bone and tissue need time to heal. Because of this, any activity will aggravate the wound and frustrate the patient.
EASE PAIN, CONQUER RECOVERY
The best way to alleviate pain is by wearing a post-operative bra, making it much easier to sit, stand up, walk around, and manage soaring pain when the dreaded cough or sneeze strikes.
Any sudden movement can cause sharp pains after heart surgery as the sternotomy wound is “tugged” around. The front-fastening wrap on the Surgi Support Vest helps by immobilizing side and breast tissue, reducing this “tug” effect and preventing re-injury to the incision wound.
That’s why a post-operative bra can feel like a lifesaver when it gives you the confidence to get back on your feet and get back to your life.
CELEBRATE THE VICTORIES
Long days in recovery can take a toll on our mental health, so this final tip speaks to the mental challenges of undergoing heart surgery.
It can be frustrating to find that you can’t do the things you once did so quickly. Just remember, you will make progress! Things will get better. And as they do, celebrate those victories along the way. It’s a reminder that you’re making progress and that every step is getting you closer to the lifestyle you had before heart surgery.
You don’t need to worry about the pain after heart surgery. If you plan, take steps to get prepared, and dive into the benefits of wearing a support harness to minimize that post-op pain, you can look forward to getting the help your heart needs.
If you need heart surgery, a Surgi Support Vest will alleviate pain, making your recovery days more comfortable so you can quickly get back to enjoying life.