After Bypass Surgery
Instructions for After Bypass Surgery
Many people who have made, or are trying to make the decision as to whether or not to have heart bypass surgery, wonder what happens after the surgery is over. I will not go into great technical detail in this article, but I can give you, in layman's terms, more or less what to expect after bypass surgery.
As soon as your surgery is over, you will be taken to intensive care where they will carefully monitor all your major body functions for at least a couple of days. The intensive care unit medical staff are trained to look for complications, so you will be in good hands.
When you wake up from your surgery you will find you have a tube running through your nose into your stomach. This tube is used to drain off excess fluids that may form in your stomach which could cause complications. You will also have a tube running into your bladder to drain your urine and measure its output. Both of these tubes will give you a little discomfort, but nothing serious. If all goes well they will be out in a couple of days.
Most patients leave the hospital in somewhere around a week after bypass surgery. Before leaving, you are given numerous instructions, advice and prescriptions. You do not have to worry about remembering them because they will give you written copies before you leave.
Bypass surgery is a major operation and will take months to totally recover from, and four to six weeks to just start feeling better. Every patient will respond differently, but here is a number things you may experience once you get home. Some of them seem worrisome, but they will all get better in time.
1 – Pain – Pain is to be expected after you body has been through such an ordeal as bypass surgery. Because of the pain, many people have problems sleeping and wake up numerous times during the night. Some people don't like to take pain medication, but in this case it may be a good idea to take a pain pill before going to bed. Your body has been through a major trauma, and you need to get as much rest as possible.
2 – Loss of Appetite – It is not usual after a major operation for an individual to not only lose their appetite, but at times even hate the look and smell of food. Do not worry. This gradually gets better and one day you can't eat enough.
3 – Depression – Many times patients feel depressed after bypass surgery. This is normal. You have been laying in bed for weeks and can enjoy very few things at this point. As your body gets better, so will your mind. Once you are up and around, regain your appetite, and able to do a few things you enjoy, your state of mind will start to get positive again.
4 – Swelling – The leg from which a vein was taken will probably swell for quiet a few weeks. Usually sitting or laying down and elevation your legs will help. If your doctor prescribed elastic stockings, be sure and wear them during the day. This will help keep the surgery down when you are walking or doing the exercises your doctor suggested. The swelling problem usually resolves itself in six or seven weeks.
5 – No Energy – Your body has gone through a major trauma and is healing. During this time it is using everything at its disposal to heal both external and internal wounds. This will make you tired and run down, but as your body heals itself, your energy will slowly return.
6 – Constipation – It is not uncommon to be constipated for at least the first few weeks. This is due to a number of factors including inactivity, medications and the trauma your body has just been through. You will be given a diet of foods to eat to help you through this problem.
As I said earlier, before leaving the hospital, the doctor or the medical staff will present you with a list of instructions of various things you should do to make your recover as quick and painless as possible. These instructions should be followed to the letter. You have just gotten out of the hospital from heart bypass surgery. Following these instructions could very well keep you from making a return visit.
The primary part of your body you are going to have to be careful with is your breastbone. It usually takes two to three months to heal and you should do nothing that could cause an injury to it. Lift nothing over ten pounds, and not even that if it is straining you. No lifting, pulling or pushing anything heavy for at least a couple of months. Do not drive a vehicle for a minimum of a month. A small fender bender could put you back in the hospital.
I know it is hard for someone who has had the habit for years, but don't smoke. It will be especially hard at this time. You are possibly depressed and worried about the future and whether or not your operation was a success. Well, whether it is a success or not is largely up to you. You know smoking is probably the reason you even needed a heart bypass, so why do it. Your doctor, had to be polite to you. I don't. Smoking after bypass surgery is stupid, stupid, stupid.
Your future well being could very well depend on lifestyle changes. Take all medications you are given when and how they are prescribed. Start eating a low fat diet and especially avoid saturated fats. Get plenty of exercise. Instructions for diet and exercise will both be given to you before you leave to go home. Follow these instructions. They have been suggested by experts who know what is best for you and your heart. Even when you start feeling better, go for regular checkups and continue any medications your doctor feel is of benefit. It is your responsibility to care for your body. Do it.
This article has hopefully given you an idea of what goes on after bypass surgery. There are more in depth articles you can probably find, but they will more or less give you the same information. What really matters is following your physicians advice. If you are willing to trust him enough to operate on your heart, it should be easy to follow his post bypass surgery instructions.