I am a 43 year old male that had x5 bypass surgery x7 days ago. I have been home x 2 days and not sure of how long I can go like this. Very little sleep at night, mayor respiratory distress and pain in chest and legs. My question is how long before you are drug/pain free?
I had a triple in sept 07, and everyone is different, but heres my timetable of recovery....
2 weeks after surgery I was off the heavy painkillers (tramadol) and appetite returned.
3 weeks after that started rehab.
6 weeks later rehab finished but LOADS of discomfort from surgery still.
3 months after surgery discomfort lessened by around 40% but still painful when turning over in bed.
From three months to 1 year the discomfort went to zero. Even now if my leg gets cold it feels painful where they removed the vein. Chest was perfect after 1 year.
You need to do your breathing exercises every few hours. Breathe in as much as you can and hold it for about 5 seconds before exhaling. Repeat this three times. This will stop your rib cage getting too stiff and help to stretch it. When you sit, sit upright or the tissue will tighten in a stooped position, making it difficult to sit upright.
You will find your pain will decrease all of a sudden, probably 8-10 days. The more you walk about and do your breathing exercises, the quicker it will heal. The old saying "the more you use it the quicker it heals" certainly works after a bypass. When your pain is low enough, get off the strong pain killers because they make you feel worse in many other ways. Try to just take paracetamol every four hours. You should only be on those for a week or two.
I know what you are going through, I remember waking up thinking "oh my god, what have I done, how can i put up with this". I know every breath hurts which is why the exercises are important for you. You stretch the ribs further than they need to go for normal breathing, then it hurts less. When i turned over in my sleep, the pain always woke me up, I spend about 2 months sleeping on my back. One night I woke up hearing a huge 'crack' when i turned over. I was scared stiff thinking id broken my rib cage. However it was all fine.
On a last note, you will feel strange sensations as you heal. Your chest will feel cold and wet inside and sometimes itch. As your nerves knit together, you will feel very odd things. It will feel numb for a while, but the sensation does return although some people end up with a permanent numb spot at the top of the wound. Have you had your stitches out yet from the drain tube locations?
Everyone is different. I still take Ibrofen 600 mg at least twice a day ansd sometimes I take vicodin. There is still pain and discomfort in my chest ; it takes 7-12 months to be pain free I'm told. My doctor tells me to take these meds and not be in pain. It takes a toll on your emotions,but the alternative is not good. I take each day and am thankful that I'm on the right side of the dirt. Exercise helps once you are able to start rehab, The surgery can cause emotional depression, I am looking for counseling to help me. Its good to be frank with your doctor, most have never been through this and you need tomake sure they listen to you. It's hard to wait to get better, but I was told by my doc that the only other surgery worse than this is brain surgery, it puts this in perspective. Bypass surgery is so common that most of my friends don't understand what is taking so long for me to get back to normal whatever that is. Keep the faith!!!
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