I assume you haven't had surgery yet.
You should be given a lot of info before/after your surgery, he's a basic rundown of what to expect:
Your recovery will take many weeks. This is due to your reduced fitness level and bone healing. It is important that you are free from pain. Regular pain medication will be necessary for the first few weeks. The use of the left internal mammary artery (LIMA) for a graft is very common.
Unfortunately it may cause you discomfort on the left side of your sternal wound.
¶ During your recovery you are likely to experience good days and bad days. Tears, irritability, sleep difficulties, problems with concentration and memory, tiredness and mood changes are common.
Your sternal and leg incisions should gradually improve. The development of any swelling, redness, or increased tenderness should be reported to your local doctor as soon as possible.
You may notice that your incisions are numb for a period as they heal. Stockings should be worn for two weeks after discharge.
Smoking is not recommended, in order to prevent recurrent heart problems or additional health problems.
Here in Australia it's a rule that you cannot drive for 4 weeks after heart surgery.
Returning To Your Daily Activities.
1 Plan your day.
Balance work and leisure activities with rest. This allows you to do everything you would like to without over doing it, causing fatigue or discomfort.
2. Everyone is an individual.
Do not compare your recovery to that of other patients.
3. To help prevent fatigue or conserve energy:
* Keep up to your walking program to increase your cardiovascular fitness BUT avoid exercise for one hour after meals or alcohol, and in the extreme temperatures of the day.
* Simplify activities into smaller steps and rest after each step.
* Sit down instead of standing to complete tasks, especially in the shower. Try and keep tasks at waist height to avoid bending, stooping, lifting or reaching.
* Change positions regularly (sitting, standing and lying).
* Avoid prolonged use of your arms and activities that require your arms to be above your shoulders.
* Avoid heavy activities (e.g., vacuuming, walking the dog, mowing, sweeping, washing the car, making the bed) for six to eight weeks.
* Remember pushing is less strenuous than pulling. Always be aware of your posture and use both arms evenly. Avoid lifting heavy objects for six to eight weeks. If you are carrying objects hold the load close to your body. Bend your knees, not your back.
* Remember to STOP and REST if you feel tired or any discomfort.
* Ask for help.
4. You may resume sexual activity when you & your partner feel ready.
However at first avoid intercourse after a heavy meal, excessive alcohol, exercise or if you are very tired.
* Frequent rests
* Light activities eg making cups of tea/coffee and light snacks
* Avoid wide arm movement, stooping/bending
* Restrict visitors to family members
* Sedentary interests — reading, music, TV, cards, chess, painting pictures etc
* Do not lift anything heavier than 2kg
* Short walks around house and garden or further if you feel up to it (10 minutes twice a day) Week Two
* Light chores eg cooking a light meal, folding washing.
* Putting the washing in the machine NOT hanging it out.
* Water garden with hose, tending indoor plants
* Washing dishes
* Stooping and bending occasionally
* Short drives as a passenger (must wear seat belt).
* Do not lift anything heavier than 2kgs
* Take 2-3 walks outside on level ground, at an unhurried pace(15 minutes x twice daily) Week Three
* Continue adequate rest and sleep
* Half day outings /visit friends
* Shopping — short periods only. Avoid rush hours. Do not carry parcels or push trolleys.
* Attend church, quiet dinners, small gatherings
* Light activities in the garden eg watering with a small light watering can
* Light carpentry, golf pulling practice, light hand washing.
* Do not lift more than 3 kgs
* Increase walking time ( 20 minutes x twice daily) on level ground or gentle slopes at a leisurely pace Week Four
* Household activities — light ironing, hanging out washing (have someone help with sheets and towels), making beds (have help to change the linen), light sweeping.
* Driving a car, locally to start with and in non — peak traffic.
* Light weeding (use seat) , light wood work, billiards’.
* Fishing from a pier, bank or bridge only.
* Indoor bowls, film shows or spectator sports.
* Increase walking (30 minutes x twice daily) continuing at a leisurely pace. You may attempt slopes as tolerated. Week Five
* Gradually increase time spent walking and begin to increase speed.
* Household activities — most routine chores ( except those requiring prolonged bending and stooping). Clean bathroom and sweep floors, light ironing.
* Walking 45 minutes daily at a pace you can tolerate Week Six
* Continue walking regularly over the next few weeks, if you feel fit enough quicken your pace according to your tolerance ( walking one hour a day )
* All household activities as normal unless very heavy lifting. Week Seven/Eight
* Walking one hour per day at a reasonable pace.
Here are some important nutrition hints that will assist recovery from your recent surgery. In the next six weeks, the main focus should be for you to stay nourished and hydrated. This will be beneficial for wound healing, muscle regeneration, energy levels and general well being. Eat a Variety of Food
A variety of foods from each food group should be eaten each day to ensure optimal intake of minerals and vitamins. Try to eat foods from the following food groups daily.
* Breads and cereals
* Meat & meat products
* Milk &milk products Small, frequent meals
This will help if your appetite is decreased after surgery. Eating 5-6 times a day will mean you eat smaller amounts of food more often. Eat nutrient dense foods and make each meal count!
* Tub of Yoghurt
* Milk drinks
* Half a sandwich/Soups
* Fruit Ways to Stimulate your Appetite
Appetite can often be decreased after surgery. These suggestions may help
* Make meals time enjoyable
* Avoid being in the kitchen food is prepared
* Use large plates
* Relaxation techniques may reduce stress/ anxiety/ depression If you feel Nauseous
* Eat small amounts
* Eat and drink slowly
* Sip dry ginger ale/ginger beer
* Avoid fatty/greasy foods
* Cold foods can be more appealing Drink Plenty of Water
* Water in the body carries nutrients and waste products. A good water intake is important for keeping minerals (sodium and potassium) balance in the body and to prevent dehydration. Sip water throughout the day. Aim for 6-8 glasses or 1.5Iitres per day. A good hint is to have a bottle of water wherever you go.
Eating Healthy Avoid Too Much Salt
* Salt (Sodium) in large amounts may contribute to poorly controlled blood pressure. Too much salt can also unbalance minerals in your body causing water to be drawn into your veins, increasing the workload on your heart. Be aware of how much salt you are using and experiment with herbs and spices. A good place to start is by not adding salt to food at the table or in cooking.
* What about salt substitutes? Its best to avoid these products for two reasons. 1st these substitutes are often potassium salts. Too much potassium can upset the rhythm of the heart.
2nd you are not really modifying the salt-shaking behaviour. Keep a Healthy Weight
* Do not embark on a vigorous weight loss campaign just yet! However by decreasing your fat intake and eating more fruit, vegetables, breads and cereal (the key to keeping your heart healthy) you may find you lose weight. Eating Healthy
* Social life often revolves around eating. It gives us pleasure.
* Don’t be too hard on yourself — allow for treats.
* Weight loss — aim small — 0.5kg per week.
* Changing habits is a gradual process. With each change decrease the risks of further cardiac disease.
* Eating out is OK. You don’t need to feel restricted. Choose healthy choices.
* Make changes slowly and you will be more likely to it.
* Often when you fell well old habits and old behaviours come back. Exercise
* As time goes by it becomes difficult to motivate and harder to keep at it. Exercising with friends/partners help to motivate and keeps you committed.
* Keep to a moderate level. It doesn’t have to be hard.
* No restricted to walking, swimming, bike riding/golf.
* You can miss a day — God didn’t work on Sunday.
* People who exercise spend less time in hospital.
* Keeping fit allows you to do things you do without effort.
* Being able to do things with ease means your heart doesn’t have to work so hard. Sexual Relations
* No Restrictions.
* Take a passive role/try different positions.
* Don’t wait too long as anxiety can increase.
* If you can walk up a flight of stairs without fatigue you will cope with sex.
* Intercourse may be strenuous to begin with, there is nothing wrong with just a cuddle.
Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs
You should get info for these programs on your discharge - I recommend attending them, it will boost your confidence.