Have my date for ohs: Hi everyone... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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Have my date for ohs

Barb6374 profile image

Hi everyone , last week I was told my date for surgery , Saturday July 24 .

I was going to my local NHS hospital but they offered for me to go to a private hospital to be done quicker.

I feel surprisingly calm , although I probably won't next week. I have spoken to quite a few of you privately asking many question's and want to thank you for all your replys.

I spoke to the nurse from the hospital who has given me some reassurance regarding breathing tube , pain , tops I can wear that are not button up lol .

I'm still very interested to hear anyone's advice and tips.

I have bought front opening bras and have a small pillow to take.

Barbara xx


70 Replies

All my best wishes for your upcoming operation. Once you've had it you will.feel more relaxed then it's all about taking it easy and allowing yourself plenty time to recover.

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Doora

Thank you Doora. I'm hoping I won't panic about having another heart attack once I've had my bypass. Looking forward to hopefully doing more exercise , eating better and losing weight , I have a lot of weight to lose!! Xx

Doora profile image
Doora in reply to Barb6374

Hi Barb,I have a herniated disc and sciatica and also osteoarthritis in my left hip. I had my right hip replaced 7 years ago and I was told then I had to lose a bit of weight before hand. So like you, I'm.trying very hard to eat a healthier diet, cutting out all fattening snacks and sweets!! Since my HA I've stopped smoking and no longer drink, and I find my appetite has changed too, I get full very quickly and eat a lot less than I did. The exercise is hard though as I'm in constant pain. We will beat this together though!!! So try to relax and just get through this operation then you can begin to slowly recover. All my best wishes. X

My fiancé had the same situation - operation carried out in private hospital (on the nhs) as it was quicker then NHS hospital when his case became urgent.

The private hospital was great, they looked after him very well, he had his own room (apart from in icu when he was in a ward.) and the food looked really good.

Hope you manage to relax a little over the next week and your surgery goes well.

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Chickenlou

Thank you Chickenlou.The nurse said I would have my own room and it all sounds lovely. I feel lucky to have been offered . I'm going to a spire hospital, London instead of Plymouth. Xx

Chickenlou profile image
Chickenlou in reply to Barb6374

My fiancé was in the Spire too (Southampton) the hospital was really good.

Good luck - I’ll look out for your post saying it’s all done and your on the mend x

Great news, you will soon be on the mended heart road. I live in Scotland and had my surgery at the Golden Jubilee. It’s all single rooms apart from ICU, so that means you get a lot more rest as your not disturbed by others having blood pressure taken. Just follow all the rules no arms above your head extra and keep doing the breathing and coughing exercises when you get home they really do help.

Best wishes Pauline

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to 080311

Thank you Pauline xx

Very happy for you. You will be well looked after and in good hands. All the best!! Take care.

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to MONIREN

Thank you so much xx

Good luck ! I had an aneurysm repaired and an aortic valve replaced 8 weeks ago , and was very worried . It's not the most pleasant experience , but not nearly as bad as I feared, and all the staff were lovely and very caring .I had my op in the new Papworth Hospital , where everyone, including on ICU has their own room . The latter sectioned off by plastic walls .

Take lots of moist facial wipes and if possible a long enough mobile phone lead and charger that will reach from wall socket to your bed .

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Isobel1

Thanks , that's a great tip about long phone lead and facial wipes. Was it bearable or really unpleasant ? . I'm hoping I can cope afterwards whilst in hospital xx

Isobel1 profile image
Isobel1 in reply to Barb6374

It was bearable. The staff ask you all the time if you're in any pain. because they know if you're in pain you won't be able to move about & get mobilised. I think I had intra venous morphine for the first 5 days, which really helped, but after that they try & get you onto codeine & paracetamol, although they will give you oral morphine if you need it.My chest incision wasn't as bad as I thought, but I did find the 2 drains from the operation site , really annoying , rather than painful.

Hopefully you won't have them in for long !

I would say for the 2 weeks in hospital, and the first 4 weeks at home , I slept on my back propped up.

I did buy a foam bed wedge off the internet , & when I was home put pillows on that, so I slept at an angle of 45 degrees. If you've never slept like that before, you do get used to it, because you're still rather tired after surgery

Some people, if they've got an electric / ordinary recliner chair at home, sleep in that for the first week . I was amazed, they taught me how to get in & out of bed with pulling on my sternum, and I could do it by the time I went home.

Don't worry, honestly you'll be fine & you'll cope very well in hospital.xx

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Isobel1

I'm really lucky as inherited an electric bed from my parents. I'm allergic to morphine but they will have some other pain killer I'm sure lol x I'm just looking now on Internet for a longer phone lead 😀x

Jocastina profile image
Jocastina in reply to Barb6374

I didn’t react well to morphine (hallucinations and nausea) so they gave me ketamine and fentanyl instead with anti nausea medicine. I was off those after 3 days and on to paracetamol and one other painkiller syrup - can’t remember the name. I agree about the long phone charger - 2m is a good length. I also think you will recover quicker with your own room and good food - you will sleep better and much as the NHS is amazing, I found the food unbelievably awful and not conducive to feeling better!! Good luck and try to focus on how much better you are going to feel when recovered.

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Jocastina

Hi , thank you for replying , I'm currently looking at longer phone leads . I will have to get on an order as I'm now isolating for the week xx


A very useful item is an Anker Power block.

You charge that up and just plug your phone into it.

Great when camping or outdoors when there are no plugs available.

It’s like carrying your own power around with you.

No need for long cables.

Good luck with your surgery. I too was sent by the NHS to a private hospital in Leeds as it’s was in the middle of the pandemic last January.

As others have said. Follow the advice. Take it easy and take the painkillers they give you. Now is not the time for bravado!!



Hi maisie , thank you for reply and for the private messages.i had forgotten about power banks lol. I will have to look at how long they last etc , thanks x

PS. I havn't got much of a bust, but I found the front fastening bras a bit uncomfortable , unless, they put a dressing between the front fastening & the incision. I also bought a couple of crop tops/ sports tops, which are stretchy , have no fastening and have no hard edges to them

Isobel1 profile image
Isobel1 in reply to Isobel1

Oh wow, you are lucky, ! I was in one in hospital, they're amazing, and you can arrange it so you knees bend slightly & you don't slide down the bed ! I'm sure they'll have something apart from morphine. Have you told them you're allergic to it ? I think I bought a 2 metre long phone lead from Amazon, just make sure it's compatable with your phone & the plug.

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Isobel1

I have private messaged you x

Isobel1 profile image
Isobel1 in reply to Barb6374

I've replied .

Good luck. I am sure all will go well. I will be interested to hear your experience as it will be my turn soon for an avr and I have a preop date it’s starting to get real.

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to WeaverShaz

Hi there , my pre op was done 3 weeks ago . I will definitely let you know how it all goes.I'm type 1 diabetic so I'm hoping everything goes smoothly on that side of things.

Here if you need to chat xx

WeaverShaz profile image
WeaverShaz in reply to Barb6374

Thanks Barb. I have a number of other health issues too, plus the fact I live alone so just hoping I will cope. I have organised a cleaning lady and bought an electric bed ready. Will be thinking of you.

Hi Barb I had my op OHS valve replacement on the 25th June - so 3 weeks post op - feel free to ask me any questions you have - happy to provide any answers you may need 🙂

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to XMASSPIDER

Hi , I may take you up on that offer , thank you for replying xx

XMASSPIDER profile image
XMASSPIDER in reply to Barb6374

Yes of course x

Hi Glad to hear its all systems go for your op....you will soon be back on the road to recovery. Essentials in hosp for me were long lead charger for mobile, earphones, Ipod (yes, I'm old fashioned!) for both music and radio 4 (which you can get on mob but I haven't a clue how!), face wipes, mouthwash or chewing gum and a book or magazines. If you in a private room you may have a TV which would be a wonderful thing. After ICU it does get quite boring - but don't expect too much of yourself as focus can be elusive - all I could read were magazines.....and being quite a tiny person I wore sporty tank tops for ages afterwards. Soft and comfy - but if you are larger, not such a good idea. And a pillow for your car on the journey home - seat belts are unforgiving!Good luck and let us know how you are afterwards.

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to francesw47

Hi , thanks for replying and for all the good tips , someone else mentioned face wipes which I never thought about , another thing to add to my list 😀. Xx

Hi I wish you a speedy recovery.

My husband had a triple by pass 9 weeks ago.

As someone who was very frightened for him I can assure you that it’s the fear of the unknown not the operation.

He has no memory of the breathing tube or being in itu.

He was home on the fourth day and I was so shocked when I saw him. Amazed at how well he looked.

I think I was expecting much worse. He hadn’t walked for over a year and here he was four days post op up and about. He’s now fully recovered, a second chance at life.

I assure you that your life begins afresh for you on the 24th. Grab it with both hands and thank god for these surgeons who have the knowledge to make lives better.

Promise you it’s nowhere near as bad as you are imagining. ❤️

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Milo47

Thank you so much for your comforting words. The nurse did say I hopefully won't remember the breathing tube . It's great to read that your hubby has done so well xx

I had OHS last year and it was a lot better than I imagined One of the best tips I got was a V shape pillow. I actually got two for when I got home . One for my bed and one for downstairs. Amazon . Everything front fastening or easy to put on !

I’m not good with drugs so I took regular paracetamol and was fine . Walked a little every day when I got home .

I took a pillow to hug in the car as the seat belt was painful for a while .

You will be fine !

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Marvin123

Hi Marvin123 . It's good to hear you managed with just paracetamol. And I'm hoping to walk every day .I have got a pillow for the taxi journey as will be travelling for quite a few hours x

I think one piece of advice is stay positive.No getting away from the fact that it is painful afterwards so just keep popping the pain killers😅

Had my op on a Thursday and was out if hospital on the Monday . You can do this - good luck xx

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to jwd52

Hi , I'm terrible with pain but everyone says it is bearable with pain killers. That was very good recovery to be home 4 days after op . Thanks for replying x

It sounds like you will be taken care of well in that hospital,Barbra!I had my op on the 29th June . First week home I was doing really well but this week has seen a few obstacles for eg I got an infection in the bottom of my wound which was more painful,than the pain from the op . However I am on antibiotics now and feel a difference . Just look out for any areas getting red or weepy and tell doc or nurses ASAP.

Keep in touch with your progress x

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Birdy23

Hi birdy23, sorry to read your having a few problems. Hopefully it will heal very soon.Thank you for replying and for the private messages xx

Good luck Barbara! I had CABGx4 at Southampton (privately) on 22nd June as Plymouth’s waiting list was just too long. I’ve found that nice thin jog pant style trousers are much easier than anything else to put on, together with button up blouses if necessary, or vests at home.

Also, I was given a post-thorax vest/jacket to wear which is brilliant in the car and I don’t need a cushion. I wear it 24 hours a day - it seems cumbersome at first but I feel it really does protect the sternum well. I’ll be in it for 6 weeks I think? I wear a very thin vest top underneath it, or you can wear a bra I believe. I would really recommend one!


Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Wollaston

Hi , can I message you about the vest? Xx

Wollaston profile image
Wollaston in reply to Barb6374

Certainly! x

Good luck! You will be fine...our surgeons are amazing. xx

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Tessie28

Thank you for replying. Yes our surgeons are amazing , can't thank them enough xx

Take your mobile and charger so you can speak to loved ones as it’s lonely otherwise ❤️

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to 81235

Hi , just looking at getting a longer lead and a power bank . X

I can see you’ve had a lot of helpful replies already - this is a very supportive forum. I had my AVR 2 years ago. The thing that stood out to me was the high level of excellence all staff had. When you’re in for open heart surgery everyone you come across is very skilled and you feel safe in their hands. I was a lot less nervous once I was actually admitted than I had been at home waiting for my op. Useful tips? Well it can get very warm in Hospital certainly at night I used a few drops of Olbas Oil on a tissue to help me get off to sleep sometimes. Front fastening bras are a good thing and something good to read - I couldn’t sleep much in ICU. I see you say you’re no good with pain - don’t let this worry you too much - the staff want to keep you pain free to aid your recovery so lots of help at hand. To be honest - I didn’t have much in the way of pain and was off the paracetamol before I left hospital. Good luck, stay in touch there is always someone on here ready to help and just take it one step at a time and you will do just fine. Sue x 🙏

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to TMeditation

Thank you sue for replying . I was just wondering about the heat . I will ring the hospital and see if they have fans xx

Barb, you might like to join UK AORTIC & HEART DEFECTS PRE SURGERY ♡ POST SURGERY . It is a Facebook group. Very friendly and supportive. We also have zoom meetings on a regular basis. Such great people. It is a bit like having a baby ....only someone who has gone through it knows what it is like. You would be most welcome. Take care x

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Tessie28

Hi , thanks for reply , I have just looked at group on fb and have asked to join.xx

Isobel1 profile image
Isobel1 in reply to Tessie28

Tessie28, please could you post a link on here, I'd be very interested in joining the group , having had open heart surgery.

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Isobel1

I just looked up UK AORTIC & HEART DEFECTS PRE SURGERY ♡ POST SURGERY on fb and then asked to join x

Tessie28 profile image
Tessie28 in reply to Isobel1

facebook.com/groups/1864350... should work xx

Isobel1 profile image
Isobel1 in reply to Tessie28

Thanks very much !

Wishing you the best of luck with your surgery. Remember that everyone is different and so is their postoperative course so be cautious when reading about other peoples experiences. Just make sure you have your phone and charging cable! x

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Exie8

Thank you for replying and hope mine is not really bad afterwards xx

I found it very warm in Papworth, although they said they had air con. Take thin nightwear, & dressing gown.As for help afterwards. Is there a friend/ relative who could come & stay for a few days ? My hospital advised not to be by youself for the first few days .

Failing that, the Occupation Therapist at Papworth arranged with my County Council post hospital care dept, for someone to come in up to 4 times a day if needed with washing, dressing etc. Though I didn't need them that frequently.

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Isobel1

I have a great hubby at home and I will ring hospital to ask if they have air con or fans x

Isobel1 profile image
Isobel1 in reply to Barb6374

If it's a private hospital , & is a new building, it should have Aircon.

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Isobel1

It's private but not a new hospital x

Hi Barb, wishing you well with your upcoming surgeryI can see some really helpful suggestions and encouragment from everyone here which is lovely. I had OHS on 1st June so do feel free to ask anything about my experience that you feel may benefit.

All the best

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Alessa_

Thanks for replying and for offer to answer questions xx

Good luck with your surgery. You will be well taken care of. Staff deal with these operations all the time. I had one in Royal Brompton in London on Dec 14th 2020. Use little cushion or food up towel for your huffing and puffing exercises for your lungs. They are most important. Will be looking forward for an update of your recovery. Think positive x x

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Bishop1

Thanks for replying, I will update on my recovery xx

Best of luck. I'd jump at he chance of a private hospital and my own room,. Hope all goes well.

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Qualipop

Thank you x

Good luck! You are in great hands!

Thanks x

So glad you've got your date now, Barbara. Can't wait to hear from you post-op as I know it will be far easier than you thought. You really can't be in better hands. Now I'm nearly 7 months post-op (where did the time go 🤣) I can honestly say I feel as good as I did before the HA. You have a whole community behind you here, how wonderful!! Massive hugs xx

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Brixcos

Thank you soo much for your kind words xx

Barb6374 profile image
Barb6374 in reply to Brixcos

I have messaged you x

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