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Heart bypass surgery experiences

I am looking to hear about differnt peoples experiences with their heart bypass surgeries---I am having one on wednesday and am very scared about it....i am 40--if you have an experience to share include your approximate age--im looking for confidence here lol---im terrified! mostly about not waking up or being in a lot of tubes and pain when i do wake up--any info will be greatly appreciated!
Wed, 16 Dec 2009
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  User's Response
I'm 54, had surgery on January 13, 2006 (Friday). Mine was an emergency, not planned. I had them panicked from nearly total blockage across all three major arteries (99%, 99%, 80% in 4 sites) , so I was living on nearly 100% collateral circulation. Should definitely ask your doctor about the procedures, or they should have told you specifics already. I was under general anasthetic. A vein was removed from my leg, very unobtrusively. The old method was to cut the inside of the thigh from crotch to knee or ankle and extract the vein. For me, they made a 1/4 inch cut at the top inside of the thigh, and a one inch cut on the same side of the knee, and they simply pull the vein out. Knee incision is sutured an glued. I hardly had any limp to start, none after a few days. No scar at the hip end. Try to have it done this way if possible. Smaller incisions heal faster, less chance of infection. The chest gets opened, and tied shut on the inside. I have 7 wires ties that are visible on subsequent X-rays. So a 9-inch scar upper chest, and another small scar like a 2nd tiny belly button 3-inches below that, from a drain tube. They had me walk from cardiac ICU to the the cardiac recovery ward end of the 2nd day. I did not think I could, but did. You'll have a clutch pillow to hold in case you sneeze, laugh, cough, etc, so you keep your arms folded to try to keep any stress off the chest while it heals. Practice breathing from your belly, because you will have to afterwards. Chest expanding breaths will be impossible without a lot of pain while healing. I went home the following Friday. I got to miss the scary part, coming out of anasthetic. I have a very bad gag reflex, and I thrashed a lot with the breathing tube in my throat, sending up my heart rate and blood pressure. My wife calmed me down, talking me through and gave me feedback that I was doing the right things to calm down, so that my breathing and heart rate returned to normal so they could remove the tube. It took about 10 minutes. They had to kick my sister out of the room, as she was almost more aggravating than the tube. I found that pretty funny afterwards. I was physically in good shape, and returned to work in two months. Just be patient, and do what you can in rehab. As a former coach and athlete, I did my own rehab, plus two previous heart issues. Plan to do the rehab. Its long, its gradual, and at first its depressing since you can't do much. You'll recovery fully, if not even better. Be patient. I slept on the couch at home for 6-8 weeks, because I kept my shoulders up more easily, and had less pain. Propped on the bed, I slid down, or tried to roll. Both bad news. On the couch, for some reason I did not try to roll, and did not slip down, so I was more comfortable. I was at a hospital and with a surgical team that does about 300 similar surgeries a year, and another 1200 angiograms, so it was a routine procedure. My angina was so fierce, resting and waiting for surgery was a nice change the day after the angiogram . No apprehension on my part.
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