Decided to join this forum after returning home yesterday, 10/24/09, and experiencing my first 24 hours out of the hospital. I have a few concerns and some questions for those who have experienced bypass surgery that discharge instructions didn't cover. My first few Questions:
1) I am having trouble sleeping and need to know is it necessary to always sleep on my back or can I roll over to my left or right side? (After a while laying flat when I can't go to sleep my back starts aching and then I have to get up.)
2) My left leg where they took the arteries is at times quite numb. Is this normal?
3) Has anyone or does anyone know someone who has been able to go back to a vigorous exercise regime after bypass surgery? Am I always going to be limited to a certain amount of weight? I was really getting into my workouts and had reduced my BMI to 19%.
4) How would you know if somehow you may have broken the wires holding your breastbone together until it mends?
The Rest of the Story: I am a 50 year old male who was diagnosed as a Type II diabetic in 2008. After learning that, I went on a relatively limited diet and exercise regimen, losing 35 pounds in about 8 months. After reaching my weight goal, I continued exercising regularly and was working on strength training and stamina. On Tuesday, October 13, I was working out at the gym and noticed a slight pain in my left shoulder that appeared to run down my arm. Since I am 50 and had various aches and pains from working out I ignored it at first. As I worked out more and began using heavier dumbbells in my workout the pain increased. I stopped working out, left the gym and went out to my car. As I sat in the car the pain decreased quite a bit. I began to think that I was going to go ahead and go home, but then came to the realization that since I lived in exurbia, if something really was wrong, it could be a 30-45 minute ambulance ride to the hospital. I work for a regional medical facility and the gym is a benefit supplied by them. So I decided what the heck--I would get it checked out at the ER and if nothing else see if I had maybe damaged my shoulder somehow. So I checked into the ER and was seen by Dr. P, who ran the usual stuff (an X-ray; EKG, blood tests, etc.). Although there was no really immediate cause for concern, Dr. P was concerned w/my history, and other than arthritis, no damage to the shoulder. My father had a heart attack before he was sixty; I was diagnosed with HBP and hyperlipidemia at 35, am former smoker and a recently diagnosed diabetic. He suggested I stay overnight and have a stress test the following morning. The result, of course, was the CABGx3. The nucleotide stress test showed an area of concern in the left anterior region of the heart, and a subsequent heart catheterization showed a 90% blockage in the so-called "widowmaker" artery and two others at 50% and 40% respectively. After consultation with Dr. T (my hospital-appointed cardiologist) and Dr. K (the cardiovascular surgeon), the CABG using a mammary artery and two leg arteries was scheduled for the following Tuesday. Since I had had no heart attack and my actual EKGs and telemetry were good, Dr. T. discharged me that Friday until the day of the surgery. Several of my friends in a humorous vein, gave me a "chest-cracking" party on Saturday night. I checked into the hospital on Tuesday morning, was taken to Surgery Prep and then Holding, where I met my anesthesiologist, Dr. C and saw Dr. K. Dr. C injected something into my IV to "help me relax", and the next thing I knew I was waking up in ICU feeling like I had been run over by a really large bus. I was off the respirator in a couple of hours, had the chest drains removed that evening (which was a really strange sensation) and had a liquid evening meal (the Jell-O was OK). I was moved to a special telemetry ward that is used primarily for post-op cardiac patients. My stay in the hospital was relatively uneventful: breathing treatments, meds, incentive spirometer, walking up and down the hall in that awful gown--but it was in the hospital that the realization of what had happened to me sunk in, and I did have some problems with lethargy and depression. I had done so much in the previous year to improve my health, and in some ways it was like I had done nothing. But I guess it was all family history and the previous years of unhealthy living that had finally done it. At least I could thank God that I did not have a heart attack to discover my ultimate condition.