The first few weeks after a heart surgery are usually eventful and difficult. As time passes, life becomes easier with lesser discomfort, if postoperative precautions are followed stringently. The most important thing that a patient should realize is that he himself is responsible for quick healing. It might take around six to eight weeks for the initial recovery. Remember to follow the instructions given from the hospital to have an easier recovery. These recommendations are given to improve both physical and mental health of the patient.
First, is the care of incisions made during surgery. Rinse the incisions with mild soap and pat it dry. This will help in keeping the incision clean and dry. Avoid using creams, powders or lotions in the incisions. If there are any signs of infections it should be brought to the notice of the doctor.
The warning signs include:
- White or yellowish fluid oozing from the incisions
- Swelling and redness around the area of incision
- High grade fever
Having a healthy diet will also aid in easy healing of the incisions. The area of incision may have some amount of swelling and tightness around it for few days. The pain experienced during the initial days of surgery may reduce over a period of time. Pain medication recommended before leaving the hospital will help in relieving the pain. One may also resort to walking and other mild activities to avoid stiffness and pain in the legs.
Mild to moderate activity can be included in the daily routine for the first few weeks. The intensity and duration of activity should be gradually increased. Avoid standing for more than 15 minutes at any time. Remember not to lift heavy objects for the first few weeks. Moreover, pushing or pulling heavy things is also not recommended. Discuss with the doctor for taking up walking as a physical activity.
Along with activities, medication and care for incision, a healthy diet is equally important. Do remember to follow the diet restrictions suggested by the doctor. During the initial days small, frequent meals may be advised. It is common to have troubles in sleeping after the heart surgery and it will become normal within a few months. Taking the recommended pain medication before bedtime would help in having a more peaceful sleep. Avoiding caffeine and engaging in reading or music will also aid in sleeping.
- An individual who has had heart surgery should remain inactive for at least a few weeks for proper recovery.