I am 70 years old, had aortic valve and artery replacement 3 weeks ago. I know I can't use my arms to push myself out of chair, bed etc. When can I start to lift more than half kettle water, pull / push more, open jar tops that sort of thing. Want to get on and I am doing more but my shoulders and top of chest a little sore today and don't want to overdo things. Thanks Joan

20 Replies

  • Hi Madgranny, I was told two months before anything over 10lbs, rehab will also help and get you used to lifting again. One exercise you could try are arm curls (Google it) with a can of tomatoes or similar in each hand, will strengthen your upper arm and shoulders.

  • Hi skid112,

    How did the holiday go, does it feel like yonks ago already?

    Hope you stayed well & you all had the best of times.

    Welcome back J 😊

  • It's still going. Into the second week back home this weekend

  • Well make the most of it ☺

  • Yes take it slow, you don't want to mess up all that hard work now, do you.

    Try & find other things to detracted you while you are waiting for rehab. Just try not to push down on your wrist too much. Use the rest of you body to get up and down.

    You will improve by the day, really you will. But you wont notice this for a few weeks.

    You'll look back & think, blimey, it was just a few weeks ago, I couldn't do this?

    Relax why don't you, make the most of the rest. It will be all go again soon.

    Hugs Jo ☺😊

  • What a lovely reply x

  • I've recently been diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation and will probably need a repair or replacement before too long. Out of interest, how exactly do you get off a sofa afterwards if you can't use your arms? Should I invest in a rise and recline chair in preparation?

  • Hi Sue

    I was shown at a pre op talk, it takes a little strength to get out of bed sort of a shuffle then put legs over side and stand up. From chair it's easier shuffle forward to as near end chair as possible hands on knees, to stop you using them then use leg strength to stand up. Easy for young Physio to show me but as an arthritic 70 year old quite a sight for sore Eyes lol

  • Thanks. I'd better start some leg strengthening exercises!

  • I practiced before my op.

    Hope all goes well for you

  • I wasn't shown any of that. My sofa is second hand, it kind of sinks in the middle & it was very low down. So to shuffle to the front just wouldn't work.

    So my brother got the hospital to sort a charity out who sent a couple of aids. They changed the legs of the sofa. Lent me a chair & a back rest for the bed. I found the bed back rest just made it worse. They also lent me a seat for the toilet, as that was very low. We are in a rented house you see.

    But no instructions from cardiac team on how to move, nothing at all 😕

  • That's sad, advice I've found varies to where you live. I was lucky I hope you have recovered well

  • See I didn't evan give it a thought that it may be painfull or difficult to move on & off things.

    But yes, as you've got a bit of time. You should look up what aids you can borrow.

    Reaally the only ones tgat worked for me, was the sofa being adjusted, the chair they lent me & the toilet seat.

    I used a strong wooden box I had to stand on to get into the shower.

    Well done to you for thinking ahead 😊

  • Hi

    I'm recovering 8 weeks now and it's still a venturous journey.

    Don't lift anything heavy. Only 2-3 kg. No pushing or pulling. Keep it light for activities. Get assistance if possible where necessary from family etc.

    Walk everyday which I did slowly from 15-20 mins adding a minute. I've reach 45 minutes average daily walks now. Changing routes to make it interesting and challenging with hills, changing pace now and then.

    Already getting stronger feeling the benefits.

    Take it easy in/out of bed. Sleep upright which I had done for first few weeks. Purchased an orthopaedic pillow (triangle shaped for sitting up). Prop yourself with pillows or large ones meantime.

    Orthologics LARGE Bed Wedge Raised Pillow Acid Reflux GERD Memory Foam Back OL9

    This releaved the effort in/out of bed, not stressing my chest, not using arms. Eventually you'll get stronger. At first, learn to roll on your side turning then aid one arm to lift your body gently.

    Here's 2 helpful links regarding post op open heart surgery recovery.

    Soon you'll be lying flat after 4-5 weeks. It took me 5 weeks eventually to sleep flat. Still even flat, roll on your side to lesson strain on chest.

    I sleep on my back not side as you'll feel too much aches and pains. I still sleep on back until I'm fully 100% healed and comfortable.

    Lastly, I saw cardiologist Monday and everything is healing to plan.

    I also just started cardiac rehab yesterday and although active the initial induction program was enough to get started. Going through 10 circuit exercises was good. Relaxation afterwards for cool down. Looking forward to completing the 8 week program.

    My activities have progressed more and I'm driving my car only locally. Where all on a different journey, sometimes crossing paths with each other so take time getting to your destination. You'll get there eventually.

    Good luck!!

  • These are really good, I wished I'd seen them before my opp & in recovery......

  • Thanks very much great helpful advice. I feel much better knowing I was expecting too much and can relax, it's only 3 weeks so plenty time

  • Hi Joan, I'm so pleased that your operation is behind you and you are on the road to recovery. I'm still waiting and wondered if, following your experience, you have any tips for me whilst in hospital? Also, how long were you in? Any advice you can pass on would be appreciated not only by me. Best wishes Margaret (MKB 38)

  • I was in hospital a week Margaret.

    Although everyone is different I found best not to take much in and later just get visitors to bring what you need. Pyjamas with button tops are a must. Things like magazines, music with ear phones or tasty food might be a help although I wasn't interested in any of that until the day before I came home. At home a V shaped pillow to keep you more upright in bed and stretch pull on bras in a size bigger than usual. I got 3 and pull them over my feet, I didn't wear one for first two weeks but find them invaluable now.

    Some Simple shampoo and shower gel as it doesn't contain soap and is what he nurses advised. A small oblong cushion to hold to your chest when you cough or sneeze and to place over your chest under the seatbelt in the car.

    I hope it goes well please keep in touch and don't overdo it when you get home, take all the help you can get. Xx

  • Thanks Joan, that's very helpful. I had to smile about putting your bra on feet first! I'm quite flat chested so I may not need one at all, but did you buy them on line as a matter of interest?

    It would be nice to keep in touch with your progess too, as I've got it all ahead of me. I've not felt well for months now, I don't have breathlessness just incredibly tired and a bit disorientated if I overdo things.

    I'm really missing having the grandchildren (aged 2 and 4).

    Best wishes Margaret

  • I expect you do miss the grandchildren, ours are 17 and 14 now but what a tonic they are. No luckily you may not need a bra but I got them off eBay, but Amazon also have them. I did consider the front fastening one but it would have irritated the scar

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