Recovery is a full time job, and then some - just ask Karen.
So, what am I doing these days? Tomorrow marks the four week mark since my surgery
1. Anesthesia recovery: I’ve been drinking copious amounts of water to flush out of my system the double dose of anesthesia I required.
2. Cardiac rehab: M-W-F with clinic visits T and TH. (Karen’s car can almost drive itself to Gundersen).
3. Pain management: of the 12 holes in my body, the blood clot and the incision.
4. Incision care: I’m sure the surgeon took care to bisect me in a certain place for a certain length. I can at least do my part to make sure the scar will be clean and not susceptible to infection.
5. Daily recording my weight, blood pressure and pulse.
6. Lung capacity: breathing into a spirometer several times a day
7. Cardio: 3 weeks ago I could walk 5 minutes at a time (with an oxygen tank accompanying me). This week I’m walking for 50 minutes at a time. Our bodies can be amazing.
8. Medications: keeping track of changing doses, adjusting others, filling my pill box.
9. At least once a day I pause to ponder my brush with my mortality.
10. Nutrition & Digestion: eating lots of protein (and bugs – see the Prince of Peace facebook page for the video) to aid the healing process. Homemade soups, hot dishes and muffins have been good gifts to receive and are good medicine.
11. Sternal precautions: other hurts have come and gone. The sternum soreness will be with me for a few weeks more.
12. Care for my emotional self. The most common reaction after open heart surgery is a sort of depression. I am feeling more grateful than depressed but I do cry more easily as a result of the profound experience I am living through.
13. Sleeping well: I am still figuring this one out and sleep is much better than it was the first two weeks post-op.
14. As my energy returns I am able to give more attention to my social, spiritual and vocational health.