If you need to undergo heart surgery, you may be worried about the recovery period afterward. The length of it will likely depend on the specific type of operation you are having, as well as the condition it is treating. You should listen to your doctor when it comes to getting ready for the healing period, but he or she might not tell you a few details that could help as you recover.
You will likely need a caregiver for at least the first few weeks after heart surgery. This is because you can expect to need to rest or even sleep a lot. Plus, you may be on pain medications that make you drowsy and barely able to function normally as your body heals itself. This is why you should get a friend or relative to help you throughout the day. He or she would ideally stay with you at all times, but if that is not possible, he or she should check on you frequently as you recover. You can also hire a professional caregiver temporarily, which your insurance may help pay for.
Rest is not the only important aspect of the recovery period for heart surgery. If you want to heal properly, you will need to eat a healthy diet. Since it can be hard to cook for yourself while you recover, you should have your caregiver prepare meals or at least plan easy meals for you to cook. Many patients also find it a good idea to tell their loved ones about the operation ahead of time so people can bring them meals as they recover. There are even entire websites people can use to sign up to bring recovering patients dinner every night of the week so they do not have to cook for weeks.
You will be advised to limit your activity as you heal. You will likely be told by your doctor not to lift items that weigh more than ten pounds, nor should you push or pull anything heavy. Even driving and standing in one spot for more than 15 minutes is often not recommended. However, you can usually ride in a car when someone else drives, which is good since you will have some follow-up doctor appointments after heart surgery.
You can ask your surgeon for specific instructions after the operation. But some doctors forget to advise patients on a few particular details, which is why paying attention to tips can help. If you are ever in doubt about whether you can do something after heart surgery, you should call your doctor.