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I need to have an aorta valve and aorta replacement sugery soon. Due to COVID, scheduling is limited and I was just not ready to have it done in 2 weeks. I am hoping for mid July. I am very curious as to what type of activities/care takes place after surgery when released from ICU. I get bored easily and I was told that I could be in the hospital up to 7 days. The thought of being in bed most of the time is driving me crazy especially I was told not to bring anything other than a phone because things get lost in the hospital. Thanks and looking forward to reading your experiences.
HerbG, June 10, 2020 3:29pm EST
Bring earplugs or noise-cancelling, earplugs, eyeshade (for the ICU)... But unless you are in terrible shape, don't think you'll be sitting in bed. Unless going into this you are in terrible physical shape, you will be out of bed within a day and encouraged to walk multiple times a day. You won't be an invalid. I had my aortic valve, root and ascending aneurysm plus one bypass a little over 3 months ago. This was in Cleveland. The beds were terribly uncomfortable, so I spent more time in the recliner in the room than the bed - and was NEVER in the bed during the day. After the first few days the recovery will kick in.
BasinBoy25, June 10, 2020 7:12pm EST
I had my aortic valev and aorta replaced back in January. I was in ICU for only the first night--probably only 18 hours. That first 12 hours was kind of a fog--just getting the anethesia out of your system take a bit of time. The ICU nurse and reperatory therapists were there pretty much the whole time. I was getting ice chips, sprite, and even a ******* or two for dinner the night of surgery. The next morning it was someone's bright idea to have me walk from ICU to my regular room--gotta get up and abou they said. Geesh, I just had OHS! The first day in regualr care there was physical therapy, respiratory therapy, blood draws, medications to take, x-rays to be done, snack and meals, showering, dieticians, occupational therapy, surgeon visits, and the list goes on. Honestly, there wasn't time to get bored or say in bed either. (The water pills are another factor that make staying bed not an option--if they give you a choice take a walk to the bathroom and bypass the bedpan.) And it all repeats day two, day three, etc.
I too didn't find the bed confortable at all and spent most of the time in a recliner, the little sofa in the room, or out in the waiting areas on the floor. I am not really blaming the bed--your back will probably ache a little after the surgery due to the position they place you in during surgery (I didn't hear about that little fact until after surgery.) A good backrub from the CNA will work wonders and better than any pain meds.
I spent a week in the hospital and boredom never really kicked in. Once my drains were removed (day 2), it became much easier to be mobile For me, it wasn't like I was locked in a room. You shoudl be able to walk around your floor the day after surgery a few times. I got to walk outside the building and go down to the cafeteria to have meals with family by day 4 or 5.
If you've got your phone with you and get bored, you could always post here and compare war stories of bad hospital food or blood suckers who couldn't find a vein with fellow survivors.
Best wishes, take care, and hope to hear you braggin' soon about your success!
HerbG, June 10, 2020 7:18pm EST
That was a good synopsyis, BB. My back really ached but a holistic nurse at the Cleveland Clinic did some reflexology on me when it was at its worse and somehow I felt a lot better. I think everybody's back hurts after heart surgery since they're pushing stuff aside. Pain went way for me before Day 10. The only boredom I had was when I couldn't sleep and would get out of bed at 1 or 2 or 3 and turn on the TV. Guess what - there's NOTHING I wanted to watch at that time other than old news repeating itself on the news channels! Beyond that, I also was NEVER bored. And by the way, speak up. Don't be afraid. I did not like the first nurse I had in the step-down unit. ICU was high energy, great personalities all around. This guy was a downer. I mentioned it to the surgeon's nurse practitioner and – presto! – case closed and had great nurses for the duration, which for me was 8 days. (A small infection in my prostate caused the delayed exist on day 5-6.)
PK203, June 11, 2020 1:42pm EST
Thanks for your stories. This great stuff.
AHAASAKatie, June 12, 2020 9:03am EST
Good morning, I can share the information we have on HV Surgery & next steps and Post Surgery Milestones: Managing Your Mood, Expectations and Goals HerbG has great advice as well. I had a rough go with a nurse&CNA pair and did not speak up and should have. I learned my lesson the hard way and ever since then know to ask to speak with the charge nurse or my Surgeons PA for help. Please know that we are here to help as needed. Best Katie
AmbassadorC, June 13, 2020 11:36am EST
Good morning PK203 and welcome to the support network. You are among a community of heart warriors that will be your strength for the journey ahead. I am greatful that you reached out in advance of your scheduled surgery date. I say that because I prepared a packing list of items that may assist you in your planning. If you have not read my journey, I invite you to do so below. What I can speak from my own experience (incidentally 7 years ago today) is that walking is going to be your goal. They don't encourage you to "sit" around much as the goal is to keep the blood moving so to speak. If you are having open heart surgery, as I did, you will have a spirometer. That will become your best friend and your "ticket" to building up your lungs and breathing. While you may have been encouraged to bring minimal belongings, especially in light of CV-19 changing much of the past, I would encourage you to have some music. I'll be straight up honest when I say, sleep is going to be hard to come by. Between the machines beeping and floors being noisey, some calming relaxing music can in fact help block out that background noise. If I may make a suggestion and you are able, look into Marconi Union, Weightless, it's a great ambient soundtrack.
Please feel free to reach out with any additional questions or concerns as you prepare for your surgery. Heartfelt wishes for a successful surgery and please keep in touch to let us know how things went. We welcome you with heart!
1 Story of Survival
PK203, June 13, 2020 3:19pm EST
Thank you AmbassadorC. I have read your journey articles before. It's been almost 2 years since diagnosed with aorta stenosis. Now, time has come to have the valve and aorta replaced. Due to COVID, family and friends are not allow to visit. In fact, only I can enter the hospital. It's so sad. Thanks again to everyone.
AmbassadorC, June 13, 2020 4:13pm EST
You are most welcome. What I may suggest if you have not done so already, try downloading the zoom app, or perhaps even create a Skype account or Facebook with your loved ones in advance of your hospital stay. I know it’s goimg to be hard without visitors but at the very least, if you can do a few test calls out and see what app works the easiest for you, they can at least visit you virtually. Just a thought.
PK203, July 3, 2020 3:30pm EST
Surgery is scheduled for July 8th. I'm having the aorta valve and aorta replaced. Going with tissue valve. I feel ready given that I read so many good advice on this site the last 18 months. Thank you everyone.
AmbassadorC, July 4, 2020 7:07am EST
Our very best wishes to you for a successful surgery and strong comeback. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Remember to take it one heartbeat at a time during recovery. Celebrate those small victories. Know that you have the support of many heart warriors here that you can reach out to.