The time it takes to return to normal after heart surgery is different for each patient. You will slowly regain your strength over the course of a few weeks. Plan to spend your first day at home resting, and each day after that you will feel a little stronger. You will have good days and bad days, but remember to be patient. It is also normal to feel depressed, angry, or afraid after heart surgery, and talking to someone about these feelings can help.
Taking your medicine
Your doctor may prescribe you medicine after heart surgery. It's very important to take medicine as directed. Keeping a chart or putting your pills in a 7-day pill box may help you stay on track.
Your breastbone takes 4 to 6 weeks to heal properly, so move gently. Most movements will not slow healing or cause your breastbone any damage, but you may feel pain or hear a clicking sound. Some tips:
Moving around helps you to regain strength and keeps your spirits up, but take it slow. Doing too much will make you tire more easily. Relax between activities, and get plenty of rest. Slow down if you feel any of these symptoms:
Excersise is one of the best ways to regain your strength after heart surgery. You can start by walking for a few minutes several times a day. Increase your speed over 8 to 10 weeks, and slowly build up to walking 25 to 30 minutes a day. Riding a stationary bike is another good exercise to try. Set the resistance to a low level, and keep your upper body upright and relaxed as you pedal. Start by pedaling for 5 to 6 minutes a day. You may feel weak or stiff and tire easily at first, but go slowly. Build up your time and speed gradually.
For your own safety and the safety of others, do not drive until your doctor gives you permission. Your reaction time is slower until you regain your strength, and the medicines you may be taking can also slow your reaction time. You could become dizzy or pass out behind the wheel, and if you were in a car accident, you could damage your breastbone.