husband's open heart surgery

Posted by callalily74 @callalily74, Jul 9, 2016

My husband had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery 3 weeks ago. He had a couple of weeks of in home rehab. I’m taking care of him. Has anyone else experienced this? If so, how did you manage and what was the outcome? He is 71 and still working. I’m 75 and have Persistent Depressive Disorder. Neither of us EVER exercise. I’d love to connect with someone who has or had the same situation.

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Hi Callalily, There are quite a number of Connect member who can share their experiences with multiple bypass heart surgery and recovery. I’m tagging @jackj @uncbball @contender1 @retairforceman and @jc2buds to please join this conversation. I hope you can give @callalily74 some ideas of what to expect. Her husband had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery only 3 weeks ago. He is now home and in her care.


Many have experienced this, including I. I am 71 also. I had quintuple bypass just short of 10 months ago. I came home from hospital after one week, tho I had some complications and went back into emergency 1 wk later (fluid buildup), and then 2 wks later (loss of vision, mini-strokes). Thankfully, I’ve been recovering ever since. By the way, prior to my surgery, i exercised regularly, was not overweight, and no symptoms except fatigue and shortness of breath–i.e., no heart attack.

First, your husband is likely to be fatigued for what will seem like forever. I was weak and wobbly for at least the first couple months. And I tired easily. I think I spent most of the first month napping between meals. And my chest is still sore. But it is important to begin some therapy. I had a nurse come by, part of the hospital recovery program, followed by a therapist, also part of the program, for a total of about two months. They help by monitoring your vitals and by answering your many questions. And by giving you some light exercises to perform. After about 4 mos, I went to cardiac rehab for a total of about 36 sessions (3 times a week) for monitored exercise designed for heart recovery. Again, the nurses there were great for answering questions. Slowly, I regained my strength. I was sure, given my pre-surgery condition and attitude, that I’d be back to normal very quickly. Even discounting the two return trips to the hospital however, the recovery has been steady but slow. I’m still not at full strength, and most people tell me that it takes a year for that. I did travel to Europe 3 months after surgery, with a good deal of walking/touring, which I handled well. And I intend to travel again this September, to Peru.

I have given other advice on diet (another section of this heart discussion), which I recommend to you as well–i.e., your diet was most likely not what it should be. And most importantly, it’s paramount that both of you maintain a positive outlook. It’s devastating to have the problem to begin with, then to face the fatigue and stress during recovery over what seems (did seem to me) to be a long time, and then to worry about your daily living for the years to come. This will be a challenge for you both. But a positive mental attitude is crucial. Get help if you need it. The nurses and therapists will help in this regard. And ask for answers and support from others. I still struggle with it.

I hope this has been helpful. Please ask me anything you think about. My advice is free.


@jack, Thank you so much for your greater than I expected reply to my husband’s heart attack issue. It is very informative and I am going to forward your reply to my husband’s email. Yes, he is very tired, but we managed to go to a movie matinee just now, which is what we always did every Sat. afternoon. I was quite surprised that you were able to go to Europe 3 months after surgery. I’m quite sure, no matter what, that we couldn’t handle that. Neither of us ever exercised and I know the walking he is going to have to do will be hard on both of us, since I will want to accompany him. Unfortunately, negativity and lack of motivation, are a strong component of my mental health disorder, but I am trying real hard to be positive with him. He is handling it very well emotionally, thus far. Because of recurring depression and mood swings, he has basically been my caretaker; now I am his. I am so glad you mentioned the advice you put on this site as we are grappling with it ever since the attack. I hope I can find the post.
Thanks so much for your very welcomed story of your dealing with this ordeal, and the advice you provided.


Good for you. Your attitude is perfect. And your walking together will be good for both of you. Your being a caregiver is also likely to improve your spirits because it will give you a focus. It will be challenging at times, when one of both of you will have down days. Focus on what’s important. Above all, it’s an opportunity to re-do at least part of your lives.

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