3 Things To Expect After A Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Surgery
For many people with a coronary artery disease, the Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery, a heart surgery that removes blocked artery and replaces it with a healthy artery, serves as a much-needed lifeline.
Many patients experience improved quality of life after a CABG. The effectiveness of the surgery depends on a lot of factors, including post-surgery recovery. Patients are highly encouraged to be under the care of a dedicated caregiver in the weeks following the heart surgery.
What are things to expect after a CABG surgery? What should you do to have a smooth recovery after your heart surgery?
“Normal” Physical Conditions After A Heart Surgery
As it is with any major surgery, your life will be different after your heart surgery. There are a number of physical conditions which you can expect as part of post-heart surgery recovery. These include:
- Temporary loss of appetite. Sometimes, as an effect of your medications during the operation, you will experience loss of appetite. You may even feel nauseated at the mere sight of food. This is normal. Try to eat fruits and other wholesome healthy foods. Satisfy your taste buds with foods that are tasty and tangy, eating small but frequent meals, until you fully regain your appetite.
- Swollen arms or legs where the blood vessel was taken. Your leg or arm also needs to heal from the incision the surgeon made to be able to obtain the healthy blood vessel used to replace your blocked artery. Wearing support medical hose might help ease the pain. You may also try elevating your legs against the wall or propping them on a chair. If bleeding starts, call your doctor.
- Difficulty sleeping. Where there is pain or discomfort after a heart surgery, you can expect to not be able to sleep well. Ask your doctor if you can take pain medication. Try some relaxation techniques such as listening to soft music or reading under a soft light to help you feel sleepy.
- Itchy and red incision. These could be signs your incision is starting to heal. Avoid scratching or scraping the area of the incision. If bleeding occurs, call your doctor.
- Constipation. After a heart surgery, you will be asked to refrain from carrying out physically strenuous activities. Because of your physical inactivity, you may become constipated. Constipation may also result in the medications you will be asked to take as you recover from your heart surgery. Don’t let constipation bother you. Try eating fiber-rich foods. Ask your doctor if you can take natural laxatives to help you move bowels with ease.
Depression And Other Mental Stress After A Heart Surgery
In many cases, the emotional and mental aspects of post-surgery recovery weigh more heavily than the physical aspects. You should prepare yourself emotionally and mentally by getting your loved ones and family members to give you much-needed support after your heart surgery.
It is normal to feel depressed especially when you see others living a rather normal and healthy, active life. Be patient. Remember that you will get better soon.
Surround yourself with happy thoughts, read from good books, listen to uplifting music, and engage in uplifting conversations. All these will help you view your heart surgery recovery as a period to appreciate things which you were not able to do or neglect to do before when you were too busy moving about before.
After your heart surgery, continue to see your children or grandchildren. Have someone put them on your lap if your strength allows you to carry them.
Gently remind them of your chest incision so they, too, can be careful not to cause any injury. Affection from children works miracles. You don’t have to be alone. Surround yourself with loved ones who shower you with affection after your heart surgery.
If you feel overcome with depression after your heart surgery, and if any of the advice above doesn’t work, talk to your cardiologist. He may refer you to another doctor who will help you deal with your emotional and mental anxiety.
Remember, the sooner you detect depression after your heart surgery, the sooner you can get help.
Finally, Remember That You Will Eventually Recover
Recovery after your heart surgery is a phase. Your wound will eventually heal. Your body will regain its strength. You will find enjoyment in eating again.
Bear in mind that as you do your part in living healthily – eating healthy foods, quitting smoking and drinking, and engaging in healthy physical activities – your heart surgery will give you a brand new lease on life.