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Any surgery and recovery advice?
Hello all, I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve and was diagnosed at age 2 with aortic stenosis. I am now 23 and am scheduled to have my first (and hopefully last) valve replacement surgery in February. I am having the ross procedure done.
I was wondering if anyone could give me some tips or advice for the hospital stay and recovery. Is there anything I need to bring to the hospital or have for afterwards that I may not think of? Anything I should expect that the hospital may not tell me? Thanks in advance!
JamesPL, January 24, 2019 8:20pm EST
Hi and welcome to the support network. I'm glad you asked this question and there are many of us here that have experienced open heart surgery and can share it with you. From my perspective, I can't think of anything specific for the hospital stay but you will more than likely have to sleep on your back so if there is anything you have that can make you more comfortable this way, I would bring that to the hospital. That said, you may have to sleep this way after you get home as well. I had stacked a number of pillows to simulate the hospital bed but it wasn't quite as comfortable as having a raised bed. You may be able to purchase a wedge pillow to help with that.
Regarding recovery, the number one piece of advice I would give is to listen to your doctor and be patient with it. You will feel very tired when you first come home but your strength will rapidly increase as you do your prescribed activity such as walking. The walking begins in the hospital before you come home. You should ask your doctor about enrolling in a cardiac rehab program. This will begin about 6 weeks after surgery so that you can heal first. Cardiac rehab is an excellent way to really gain your strength. The therapists will also guide you and monitor your activity. After it ends, continue to exercise to maintain good heart health.
Another recovery suggestion is have a seat to use in the shower. This helped me greatly. As I said earlier, you'll feel very tired. I found that when I first came home just standing for 15 minutes felt exhausting. The shower seat will really help.
These are all things that they will probably discuss with you. Take advantage of it whatever programs they make available to you such as counseling to combat any potential depression. Even if you don't experience it, the counselors will offer you helpful recovery tips.
I wish you well in your pending surgery and follow up recovery.
Lexirain515, January 25, 2019 2:12pm EST
Thank you so much for the extremely helpful information and advice! I have had a lot of anxiety about the unknown and it seems my condition is more rare than I previously thought so it is hard to find people who can relate and give me advice. I wish you all the best as well and will be sure to post updates.
DolphinWrite, February 2, 2019 3:05pm EST
After spending 8 days for stets and low ef, then a few days more a week later, I learned to bring some books, magaxines, writing paper for notes and letters, and a smart phone. That television is only so much. When I'be gone in to check concerns, I bring the backpack, and twice they sent me to the ER for a couple of days. Any toiletries you want can be in there. Consider it your multiple day pack. Can keep it in your car.