One week ago today I had open-heart surgery — a double bypass. Today is my third day home. I’m still amazed at how quickly the recovery begins. Years ago people were kept in hospital, then in bed, for weeks. Now they have you up and moving the day after surgery.
I’ve been assigned several tasks: deep breathing, foot wiggling, and what I call ‘walklets’ — little five-minute walks during the day. The deep breathing part is to help re-inflate the lungs, which partially collapse during the surgery. The foot wiggling helps pump blood back towards the heart. For the first time in my life I have swollen ankles, but I understand it’s de rigeur for bypass patients.
The walklets are my favourite. I was provided with a chart to follow that starts out by working my way up to six walklets a day, totalling 30 mins. Today I’ve already taken four walklets and it’s only dinner time. That was my personal minimal goal for the day. I should be able to do at least one more walklet today.
Eventually the walklets get longer in duration and the number of them gets smaller until the walklets have smoothed out into a single 30-min walk per day. At that point I will be ready to begin rehab.
It’s interesting to be in a situation where I have to learn patience, howevermuch it goes against my nature.