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Not long now

Nobo12 profile image

Hi Everyone

Been reading posts for a few weeks now and thought I would take the plunge and join in, everyone seems so friendly.

I was diagnosed on the 13th of August after an angiogram that I need a triple heart bypass. It was a bit of a shock but I have now got my head around it. I have had all the necessary scans on my heart and neck and also lung function etc. I have a pre op appointment on the Monday 4th October. They did ask if I would be willing to take a cancellation so I'm thinking of starting to pack a few things to be ready.

What should I be putting in my bag?

Ladies, any advice on front opening bras including where to get them?

Many thanks in advance

32 Replies

Toiletries, clothes that you can get in and out of easily. Phone and charger. Some light reading. Any meds you are on. They should let you know if there is anything specific you need to bring. I hope all goes well.

Nobo12 profile image
Nobo12 in reply to RufusScamp

Thank you

Hello and welcome to the forum. I’m sure others will be along shortly with their suggestions, but mine are earplugs for in hospital and to get a chair or stool you can use in the shower when you come home and make sure you can reach everything you need in there without stretching at all. When my husband came home after his op he needed help to wash his hair as he couldn’t reach up so you might want someone on hand too.

All the best to you and your loved ones.

Nobo12 profile image
Nobo12 in reply to Shar28

Thank you, that's a really useful tip, I will get that ready

Hello :-)

I am so pleased that after reading posts for so long you feel like you can join in and I hope you get even more by doing so as you are right everyone is lovey on here and so supportive with a lot of knowledge to :-)

You are just a bit younger than me and I must say you sound and got your head round needing a triple Bypass a lot better than me I have had mine now and still struggling but that will be to your advantage , I also think you have done the right thing saying you will accept a cancelation because the sooner you get this done you are then on the road to recovery :-)

What to pack

Well I could be the worst person to answer this others will come along a lot more sensible as I am ocd so I packed about everything but the kitchen sink !

Toiletries of course and I find maybe not at first but if you have a nice body lotion that when you start to feel a bit better nothing better than smelling good :-)

Underwear and the bra situation , I was one that did not wear one I felt better without but they actually gave me one as they did all the ladies brand new as well the BHF one's that you can buy , I have also heard Marks and Spencer do a good one to :-)

Slippers and dressing gown

Night dressers

Don't forget to pack something loose to travel home in remembering you will have a wound a little sore so that what ever you choose it will not irritate it , I also took a thin scarf to wear round my neck to cover my chest lightly up

I found my feet swelled so I did have sandals that could accommodate thin feet , swollen feet , glad I did as mine ended up swollen

Something to occupy you a good book , sewing whatever it is you like doing that you could slip in your bag :-)

Mobile of course not forgetting your charger :-)

Before everyone thinks crikey that lady is more insane than we already thought I will stop there with suggestions and let others add more but I hope you will keep us updated now you have posted and let us know how you get on :-) x

Nobo12 profile image
Nobo12 in reply to BeKind28

Thank you so much. Are we able to have a shower in hospital? Should I get some of that dry shampoo people use if they can't wash their hair?

BeKind28 profile image
BeKind28 in reply to Nobo12

Hello :-)

Yes we can have a shower they have us showering about a week before at home in some special shower stuff that makes sure we are free of any germs , it actually does smell fresh and clean and the night or Morning before your op you shower when yoou are in the Hospital

After the op you are in ICU and for me I do not remember much but they do wash you

Once back on the ward I was slowly making my way to the shower within a day the Nurses will help you :-)

So no worries about keeping nice and clean :-)

I did get some of dry shampoo and I never had to use it but if it would make you feel better to take some in with you then I would even though like I say I never was unwashed and clean the whole time I was there :-) x

Beatles1956 profile image
Beatles1956 in reply to BeKind28

Hi. While I don't need the bra advice, I was interested about showering. Does the entry wound have a dressing, and if so, how do you cope with keeping it dry? And the wound itself, do you have to take any precautions while showering? thanks in advance.

BeKind28 profile image
BeKind28 in reply to Beatles1956

When I was in Hospital I think it was a waterproof dressing they used however they changed the dressing every day so I would just make sure I had been in the shower before or if they came to do it I would ask if I could go in the shower first which they never had a problem with

When you come home you come out with no dressing on at all as they say it is no longer needed

It is fine to let the wound get wet if have a bath or shower but just be gentle when washing that area and pat the wound gently dry rather than rub it dry

Hope this helps :-) x

Beatles1956 profile image
Beatles1956 in reply to BeKind28

Thank you. of all things to worry about, it suddenly occurred to me that it could be a problem, but you have reassured me.😃

BeKind28 profile image
BeKind28 in reply to Beatles1956

Trust me I had a list a mile long with all things to worry about and some of the most stupid things were on it but I think this is normal , this is all new to us and this is why this Community is so good you can come and ask anything you want and someone will have had the same thought if not more than one of us :-)

Anything else no matter how trivial you might think it is just come and ask if it eases your mind that is all that matters :-) x

Hello Nobo12

Welcome to the forum, all the things I have read here is great, I would add a soft baby blanket you can roll it up and when you are doing your breathing exercises and coughing one you have it pressed to your chest to help. I found I slept with my arms wrapped around it it became a bit like my security blanket 😂 my family christened it Mums Teddy, it went everywhere. It was great if you found you needed to sneeze 😂

Look at your kitchen cupboards, anything you use regularly make sure they are on lower shelves so you don’t have to reach. Remember no lifting anything heavier than half a kettle of water no pulling or pushing movements no arms above your head. So ironing hoovering is out until your sternum is healed.

I had Aortic valve replaced and bypass 5 years ago and every day I am grateful to the medical team that gave me my life back. I was so sick before my surgery I spent the 7 weeks before in hospital before being transferred to the specialist heart hospital for surgery.

Saying you will take a cancellation is a great idea, the waiting is the hardest part.

Best wishes Pauline

As some one has said, take your smartphone or iPad/ Tablet with you and a cable to charge with. Also make sure you learn how to connect to the FREE NHS Wifi Service on offer.

Benefits include free phone calls (certainly if using Aple Tech), FaceTime or similar communications options, TV, news, and online books etc.

I wish you all the best with your op and a good recovery 👍

All great advice! Hubby had triple bypass 4 years ago….. not anything like we feared! It was like bread and butter to the wonderful team looking after him and changed our lives for the better! Get moving as soon as you can afterwards! All the very best!

Welcome to the forum, I had my bypass surgery 1 year ago today. My advice to pack is button up night shirts (nothing that goes over your head) loose fitting bottoms such as leggings, non wired soft bras ( got mine from asda) i don’t recommend front opening as the fasteners will be across your wound, roll-on deodorant so not using any sprays, easy opening toiletries.

Also sure you have a pillow in the car for your return home journey (to put across your chest for the seat belt) i recommend extra pillows and a V-shaped pillow for your bed as you won’t be able to lie flat for a while.

Wishing you all the best, keep us posted and feel free to reach out to us at any time xx

I took my phone charger, my phone, my earphones, my Kindle and my cash card. I basically read books and watched Netflix for a week.

Did it cause any problems, getting earphones in. (Lifting your arms)?

No tips unfortunately, but wishing you all the very best xx

make sure your charger cable is about 2 metres and usb to usb-c depending on your phone type. they are not likely to have usb-c connectionstake some paracetamol and ear plugs

Hi Nobo12. Along with the earplugs, I’d add an eye mask to that. There are always lights going on and monitors flashing so that coupled with the ear plugs, will really help. I have never bothered with different bras, instead I’ve bought little cami tops with a built in support. Certainly a lot cheaper and someth8ng you can wear once your healed. I think the specialist bras can be expensive but having said that, it depends what size you are. If you have a larger chest, the pull on your scar from the weight of your breasts can make wearing a bra more beneficial. I also take in the little Robinson mini fruit things. A couple of squirts into water and you have something fruity and refreshing if you’re less inclined to drink water (which you will have to be careful not to do too much of in the first day or so). Good advice earlier about a long charger cable as the plugs are always some way from your bed. Anything else, let me know as I’m currently in hospital at the moment. Hope all goes well and keep us all updated x

The only thing i took, was an open mind and a sense of humour..worked wonders for me..Good luck 😊

Hi and welcome to the forum,I was in hospital for 7 weeks last year pre and post transplant, I had quite a lot of stuff,the main things were phone long cable charger, laptop,Kindle and toiletries, I just wore PJ's I didn't have button up ones I was fine getting stuff over my head,the hospital supplied a shower stool to take home with me which was great, WiFi was awful so I had to up my data, I used bralets from Amazon £12 for 3 ,diluting juice is a nice change from water and mints to suck on ,as soon as I could I had a shower and washed my hair every day,its thick and curly I can't brush it so I wash it!,the ICU nurses wheeled me down with drips and drains it felt great, wishing you all the best with the op and a speedy recovery take care char

Some good advice given here, especially the pillow for the seat belt,and putting things at home lower for ease of access, so nothing more to add other than hope your cancellation comes through quickly, I've found all the staff on cardiology the best ever, so you'll be very well looked after, hope all goes well and to ask you to give us an update xx👍

I’ll be honest, depending on your bra size you may not tolerate or need a bra. I didn’t wear one for for the first three months (I’m a small cup size) as I couldn’t tolerate the pressure on my sternum. I had open heart surgery though, and I’m not sure how your surgery is done. Anyway in my bag (I was in for a month but had packed for six days) I had:

Dressing gown

Pyjamas (loose) - never worn as I was in hospital gowns because of all the tubes and wires I had for weeks (Normally removed after 4/5 days).

Thin strapped, loose, cool nightgowns (ditto)

Five pairs of pants.

Socks (in case of cold feet) - never worn, it was summer and there was a heatwave.

Phone and iPad chargers (I read on the Kindle app)


Pad of paper and pen (other women brought in puzzle pads)

Bags of mixed nuts

Packet of nutty breakfast bars

Packet of chocolate bars

(I wished I had taken: Pack of instant hot chocolate (different flavours), Packs instant soups, Other snack type things. Would have made a huge difference because I was in for a month during lockdown so had no visitors, wasn’t allowed to leave the ward and the food was both sparse and terrible)

In my toiletry bag:

Toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash (I felt too ill to brush at times and my dentist told me mouthwash was a good alternative),

Bottle of micellar water, cotton pads, really nice moisturiser (made me feel better!), lip balm, hand cream, rich body moisturiser (skin on my feet started peeling 10 days post surgery).

Eye mask and ear plugs, hand held fan (saved me during the heatwave), nail file, hair brush, hair ties, hair grips, nail scissors, tweezers, hand held mirror, concealer (used when I was finally discharged) Re: nail file and scissors; torn, ragged nails drive me crazy and my nails started to break after bypass surgery.

I didn’t wear a bra while I was in hospital nor was I offered one. I tried for a few days after arriving home but found that it caught the bottom of my scar and it began to show signs of infection. After that I didn’t bother with one for a time. It was a similar time of year and I was beginning to wear baggy winter clothes so nobody noticed. Not that you will be going out much for a while anyway.

One thing I always take into hospital is an Impulse body spray (other makes are available). They just smell nice and take the hospital scent away and hopefully cheer you up a bit.

If you take a book in don’t take anything too heavy, in both senses of the word. I tried re reading Vanity Fair and got nowhere. Simple stuff and maybe some puzzles.

I think everyone has covered the basics!! Although my hubby had his quad bypass before Covid struck, it was a no no in 2018 to take any form of soap/shower gel/shampoo from home and the hospital gave him a plastic bottle filled with anti bacterial gel to do the job.He had a shower after his tubes were removed, so the morning of day 3.

Loose night wear that you don't have to pull up and over your head, comfy slippers (hubby wouldn't wear slippers!!!! so took slip on Skechers).

Face wipes were a life saver just so you could freshen up while in bed.

Phone/charger/iPad/book and if you want overhead hospital TV on, the wherewithal to pay for it (late 2018, I was able to visit so I did all that with a debit card). Not much point really as he was discharged 4 days after the op!

I did sneak in a mini travel mouthwash although I was told off for doing so.

The bag of KP peanuts I took in was confiscated immediately as a choking risk and risk to everyone allergic to nuts!

Definitely a pillow or towel to travel home with so your chest is protected (if someone is picking you up when it's time to go home, they can bring that.

Tell whoever is picking you up not to drive at speed over humps or down drain covers!!!!

Keep us all posted.

Love and hugs. Jan xxx

Hello there and welcome-all of the above. Today is my 6year anniversary post Emergency CABG X2. So I wasn't a bit prepared.

I am a busty wench so my sister was set the task of sourcing me a large cup front fastener which she had to order online and took about 2 weeks to arrive. In the meantime she purchased a soft cotton bra and adapted it with a velcro to make it a front fastener. I had to wear these bras both day and night, as a larger bust pulls against the scar and for several months post surgery.

Get yourself some lip balm for when you're in hospital as I always find it very drying in there and bio oil for your scar when you get home.

Good luck and hope to hear from you on the other side.

Thank you so much everyone. Some really useful advice and a couple of things I hadn't thought about. I will keep you posted!

Isobel1 profile image
Isobel1 in reply to Nobo12

I'd definately take an aerosol can of dry shampoo, Batiste is supposed to be the best. It's useful if you can't get your hair washed for several days after your op.If you've got a small bust, I'd get a couple of those crop/ sports tops. They're stretchy & loose fitting. No hooks & eyes, the nurses can just put them on over your head.

If you need a front fastening bra, make sure they put a dressing between the hooks & eyes & your scar.

I was told once out of hospital it was ok to wash my scar gently with water & shower jel.

God luck, you'll be fine xx

Didn’t have a dressing on the incision, allowed to shower no problem, I got husband to bring in a baby sponge and just dabbed. Scar healed fine, though the bypass they harvested from my mammary artery had the feeling of someone pulling an Elastoplast off for 6 months. Plus my left side of my chest was numb for that length of time. Surgeon explained it was the nerves trying to join up again and getting it a bit wrong. I think hospitals each have their own way of working.


Vaseline or lip balm , face and body moisturiser. I like herbal tea bags so I took a supply of those plus I like strong coffee so I took a jar of nice coffee in. good luck.

Phone and charger! Wishing you well.

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