Taking Care of Yourself
Instructions From Nurses and Doctors
Your nurses and doctors will give you detailed instructions about how to take care of yourself during your recovery. For example:
- You'll be asked not to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for 10 weeks and not to drive for about 4 weeks.
- You will be asked to record your body temperature and body weight each day and to bring this information with you to your follow-up appointments.
If you are working, ask your surgeon how much time off you should plan. Most people are out of work for one to two months following surgery.
You will also receive information about things you can do to ensure a "healthy lifestyle" after surgery - things that will help your heart stay as healthy as possible. This includes:
- Quitting smoking
- Getting into a regular routine of exercise that is right for you
- Eating right
During your recovery, there may be days when you feel tired or frustrated. You may feel like you should be getting better faster than you are.
Gauge your progress in terms of weeks, not days. That is, look week to week for signs of improvement.
Try to remember that the long-term outlook for most heart surgery patients is excellent. Pace yourself according to your own body's signals, and discuss any concerns you have with your doctor.