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    Patient Tools  /  Frequently Asked Questions

    Frequently Asked Questions

    I don't have any appetite, what's wrong?

    A poor appetite is very common after heart surgery. We encourage you to snack on anything that sounds good, whenever it sounds good. Small frequent snacks will get you through the recovery process. Our diabetic patients still need to be mindful of carbohydrates and how they impact blood sugars. This usually resolves within 4 weeks of surgery. Please avoid snacking on salty snacks. During your recovery phase, salt intake can cause you to retain fluid. Extra fluid makes your heart work harder and makes breathing more difficult.

    I can't sleep at night, what's wrong?

    It is normal to have difficulty sleeping for the first several weeks after surgery. Night sweats, bad dreams, shortness of breath when lying down are all very normal. Many patients can fall asleep but then wake up in 2-3 hours wide awake. We do not usually prescribe a sleep aid unless you were on one before surgery. To get a few more hours of sleep, you can try taking a pain pill before you go to bed, or Benadryl.

    PLEASE DO NOT TAKE BOTH!!!!!

    How long do I need to wear my stockings?

    These stockings need to be worn all day, and taken off every night, until you see the surgeon. Once you see him in the office you will not need to wear them any longer. Please remember that these stockings need to be placed on and off by someone other than the patient. Some swelling

    How long does this tape stay on my chest and leg incisions?

    Please have the tape off within 7 days of discharge. If at 7 days the tape is still stuck tightly, get in a warm shower, soap them up and remove the tape while it is wet.

    The little holes under the incision are draining, what should I do?

    It is normal for some spotting to occur on the bandaids for a week or two. Please clean these sights every day, after showering, with hydrogen peroxide and cover them with a clean bandaid. Once the holes scab over and quit draining, you do not need to cover them with a bandaid.

    When can I drive?

    When you are seen by your surgeon, he will release you to drive.

    Q:How long do I have to have someone stay with me 24 hours a day?

    The general rule is that for 2 weeks we want an adult with you for 24 hours a day. If after two weeks, your recovery is on course and you have had no complications, short periods of being left alone will be acceptable. Your surgeon will release you from this restriction when he sees you in the office.

    What is a normal blood pressure and heart rate?

    Normal is different for each individual. A general rule of thumb is to take your medicine on a daily basis as instructed by your physician. If your heart rate is less than 60, or the top number of your blood pressure is less than 90, please call the nurses station at 718-6100. We will have a copy of your medication list and can give you directions based on your individual needs.

    When can I have sex?

    Sexual relations will not hurt your heart. The biggest concern is protecting the chest (sternum) from any type of pressure or resistance.