British Heart Foundation
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What not to wear!

This might seem like a daft question but my AVR is 8th Oct and I’m trying to get organised - any tips on what to wear in hospital? Or things you couldn’t have done without (not just clothes, obviously!!)

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The most important things are a dressing gown and slippers. Almost anything else will be supplied by the hospital.

Also take things that make you feel good: your own nightwear, phone and charger (and a tablet, if you want! Many hospitals have WiFi), a nice scent, wet wipes, mouthwash?

My father was a very sociable person and was stuck in hospital for several weeks at one point. He got a stack of boiled sweets and kept a bowl of them by his bed. Any time anyone, nurse, cleaner, volunteer, whatever came anywhere near him, he'd offer them a sweet. Of course, people soon popped by just for a chat. If you fear you might get bored in hospital, it is a good technique. Of course, if you'd rather be left alone to recuperate, don't do it!

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Thanks beardy_chris! I’ll add the sweets, wet wipes and perfume to my list! I’d not have thought of them!

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Hi Alison

Lots of loose clothing Things like loose fitting T shirts I bought one size bigger than I would normally so it doesn’t pull on your wound and don’t forget your iPad if you’ve got one with headphones mine proved to be a godsend to be honest for a few days they keep you in there pjs as it gives them acces to your drains and things

October 8th will be here before you know it kiddo don’t forget to let me know how things go

Pete ❤️

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Thanks Pete!

How are you doing? Off home today?

You are so lucky you’re over the worst if it! I’m jealous!

How’s your friend Sam?

Take care

Alison x

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I’m half way home another couple of hours to go then I’ll be in my own house and my own bed which will be ace

Sam finally got home to her children and is doing ok

I hope you get one of the rooms with a view of the Houses of Parliament it’s ace

Pete ❤️

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Aww - I’ll bet you can’t wait to get home!!! It must be a totally different feeling to getting the train down to London a few weeks ago??!!

Yep - a room with a view would be great - but I’ll settle for any room as long as I get through the surgery!! (But preferably not sharing with anyone in handcuffs!)

All the best - keep in touch!

Alison xxx

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Thinking of you as always im there 24/7 if you need anything

Pete ❤️

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Great to hear that Pete! Happy travels. And glad you're well enough to be back home. Yes even though I never especially enjoyed my exercise tests at St Thomas', the fact the room had a big picture window overlooking the Thames and the Houses of Parliament almost made them worth it. And great news about Sam too; really pleased for her. Nic

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Remember to take a small amount of money. Although there was no trolley round where I was volunteers did come round. They would collect papers, sweets (naughty - I don't eat them) and even a scoffer for you. Ideally not too much but with top-ups coming in.

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Thanks Michael - good idea! I’d be so disappointed if I missed out on the sweeties!

Take care,

Alison

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I have a hospital bag packed - just in case. My favourite item in it is dry shampoo, hate my hair feeling yucky and it always perks me up to use it. Another good one is mouthwash

Good luck x

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Oh yes - never thought of the shampoo but I wash my hair every day and absolutely hate the thought of it being unwashed!!!

Thanks!

Alison

P.S isn’t this forum great??!!!

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On the shampoo issue. Prior to the surgery and afterwards was given chlorhexidine to use for shower and shampoo.

Wish I had moisturiser and lip balm.

Also took herbal tea bags to have instead of hospital tea

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Good idea - 2 things that weren’t on my list! (I had the lip balm.)

Thanks so much!! Just a question but do they tell you to wash your hair when you shower before surgery?

Thanks for all your help!

Alison

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Yes they do tell you to wash your hair with the chlorhexidene. It doesn't lather very well. I was also given a razor and told to shave my arms, legs and chest. I definitely Italy do not have a hairy chest!

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Hahahaha! Hmmmm - I’ve never had to shave my arms either!!! That’ll be a new experience!

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You need to be careful with the wash they give you as it stings like fury if it goes in your eyes and tastes foul! I was shaved as they said too many patients had cut themselves creating additional sites for infection!

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Thanks for the advice! Just out of interest, are we talking electric razors or razor blades?

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The nurse used an electric razor on me. It included down below in case angiogram was needed.

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Oooh 😳😳😳

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Hi Alison, I had an AVR seven weeks ago. Bra's that do up in the front are handy as you have to wear them 24hrs a day for a few weeks. I bought two from the marisota website as else where were expensive. They did the job perfectly and can now go to the back of the bra drawer. I also bought three button up the front nighties in pretty patterns on line. They cover up the bra and made me feel acceptable for visitors.

I had to shower and wash my hair the night before surgery and in the morning with an antimicrobial lotion that they gave me. I had my hair cut shorter than normal so that I could just brush it back and tuck it behind my ears.

Take every day as it comes with a positive attitude. It's baby steps to begin with but every day they get bigger.

Take Care. Xx

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Thank you so much for replying. I’ll take heed of all of your good advice - it’s really helpful.

How are you getting on? Feeling much better yet?

Alison x

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I started the cardiac rehab last Tuesday and was a bit apprehensive but we all had a heart monitor on which was checked regularly. Today I felt a lot better and quite enjoyed myself thanks.

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Great! All these positive comments make it so much easier for those of us about to take the plunge!!!

X

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Didn't wear a bra at all until I got home.

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Also don't know how Italy appeared in my response

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You’re lucky. I wouldn’t get away with that!! (I’ve already been given the brochure for the cardiotheracic support bra. Very fetching - not.)

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Thanks for doing this thread Alison. This is really useful stuff - as my wife and I were talking about this just the other day! Nic

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Hi Nic

I’m just trying to get organised so that I can do some fun things with the family next week! I’ve also booked a nice Christmas Carol evening with champagne and mince pies on 22nd Dec at a lovely venue. Fingers crossed......xxxxx

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Books, Sometimes you feel like being alone but ward watching only goes so far. I got through 3 during my week in. I took ones I knew and thoroughly enjoyed rereading them.

Choccie biccys are also essential.

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Perfect! If I feel don’t feel too bad I might even enjoy my time if I have a good book and biscuit!

Thanks !

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Hi, I would suggest some sucky sweets to ease your throat as this might be a bit sore after the operation. Hope all goes OK 👍🏻

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Thanks Alan. I’ll add them to my shopping list!

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Something I noticed was that if you had your headphone wires crossing directly on top of and over the heart monitor wires the monitor gave misreadings, only minor but may help to know that.

Remember that your body will go through a bit so you won't feel your usual self all the time, this is normal, but does mean that you should be kind to yourself. Do things but don't push it, have 'comfort' things eg food you like books/puzzles you enjoy, basically relax don't stress. Remember to get up and move around, don't stay bed bound.

Good luck, enjoy the relative peace as much as you can.

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Thanks! It sounds a bit like going on a long haul flight but with some pain thrown in for good measure - confined area, walk up and down, headphones, films, books, puzzles and food on a tray . Shame I won’t be having any cocktails - and I won’t be needing my bikini any time soon😳. Bit it will all be worth it!😁

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take a cushion just regular size of ur sofa 2 hold against ur chest after surgery as when u cough sneeze it feels like you have been shot.goodluck

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Thanks - will make sure I pack one.

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Your feet are likely to be swollen post op, velcro opening slippers was advice I got from this site and it was much appreciated.

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Sounds very sensible - thanks!

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I had AVR and 3xCABG 8 weeks ago. I was encouraged to dress in my own clothes during the day after the drains were removed. So wore front buttoning blouses and loose fitting trousers. Drains came out on 2nd day after surgery and on 3rd day nursing assistant helped me shower and washed and dried my hair. I took a hairdryer. I never read a book but wrote lots of e mails. I found them a useful record of events afterwards.

best wishes Margah

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Thanks Margah - that’s really helpful. Gosh - that was a big op! How are you feeling now?

Best wishes,

Alison

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I could not have done without my little hand held battery operated fan, Vaseline for my lips, wet wipes and I also had a lightweight cotton dressing gown rather than a big fluffy heavier one. Also slippers your feet can just slide into.

I did not wear a bra in hospital or for 2 weeks after. But bought a bigger size front fastening ones so if you normally a 36b try 38b. I would do this now not when you are discharged. Look at how you going to sleep when you come home. Get your pillows, cushions sorted now. And if you do not have a toilet upstairs consider buying a cheap commode. Good luck x

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Thanks Gill - I’ll add them to my list. Hope you are feeling much better now?!

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Yes recovered well thanks. Have overdone it a few times 🙂 but feeling well ❤

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Thanks so much for asking this Alison brilliant tips from everyone I will take note. Good luck for your op. My angiogram on 29th October then just have to wait to see surgeon for decision on when my op will be. I have to say it is messing with my head but trying to keep busy :)

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This group is amazing , isn’t it? Everyone is so supportive at the time we need each other most!

I don’t think anyone on here can truthfully say they’re not apprehensive, worried, scared - that’s what makes us human. But it has to be done and we are lucky we have something that can be fixed!!

Good luck with the angio- feel free to chat with me any time!!

Alison x

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Hi Alison, Good luck with the procedure. I think you have had some great advice from everyone. A favourite shampoo is a must as although most hospitals now provide some it is usually Brand X in quality.

Loose clothing is good, maybe ones that button up in the front because of the monitor wires you may be attached to. Plenty to occupy your mind such as a good book or two or your i.pad provided there is a plug handy to put your charger in. I had a charger with a red light on it and being just inside the ward door everytime someone pressed their call button at night, they came to me first drawn by the light! No fun if you are trying to sleep! Maybe a eye mask to shut out some of the lights too. I was in for almost 5 weeks bar a day! It can get tedious when you have been through the excellent food menu more that two or three times so take some nice little snacks in case you don't fancy the same old, same old!! Above all take a sense of humour with you so you don;t get to feel down; there will be those odd moments when you do and often the nurses pick up and are great at cheering you up! Very best wishes.

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Thanks for your great reply - every little tip helps! If you were in for 5weeks you must have got very fed up! How are you now??

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Hello again Alison. I am well thank you. I think the most significant thing that aided my recovery was to walk every day. I have time to do it and a husband to go with me but I realise not everyone is so fortunate. Before my op I was determined to resume activities as advised but following the op I didn't feel so determined and this surprised me. As I became more active though I became more confident : and not just about walking.

Margah

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Remember ur toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash. I’ve had many valve ops because I don’t bother cleaning my teeth, so yea I am passionate at the mo.

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Books... I found it difficult to read for long periods both because of tiredness and constant interruptions. For the first few days you might find some decent short stories better than a complex crime novel!

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