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Ward

St Cecelia's ward
St. Cecilias incorporates three wards dedicated to the care of patients receiving pre and post-operative care following cardio-thoracic surgery.

Wound discomfort
The amount of discomfort you may have will vary, some discomfort around the chest, shoulders and leg can last for 2-3 months. Pain/discomfort will be relieved by medication which will be given to you regularly. Relieving the pain will help you to walk comfortably and carry out your breathing exercises which are vital for your recovery.

Breathing and coughing exercises
It is important that you do your breathing and coughing exercises frequently. Your nurse and physiotherapist will help you with these. Mucus collects in the lungs during any major surgery. If it stays in the lungs it can cause a chest infection. You need to cough up as much as you can. Deep breathing opens up the tiny air sacs in the lungs. Coughing helps to bring up the mucus. When coughing wound discomfort can be relieved by holding a pillow to your chest wound.

Leg exercises
You will be given simple leg exercises to do while in bed. These exercises will help blood flow, make your leg muscles stronger and help prevent a blood clots occuring. If you have pain/tenderness in the calf of your leg please mention this to the medical or nursing staff.

Wounds

Chest

To get to your heart during surgery an incision will be made from below your neck to the bottom of your breast bone. Wires will be used to secure your breast bone after surgery and these will remain in place for life. To close the skin sutures or clips are used. These may or may not need to be removed.

Leg
If a leg vein has been used during bypass surgery you will have a wound down the inside of your leg. You may have numbness along the wound and swelling of the leg and ankle which will settle down. Do not cross your legs while in bed or sitting in the chair as this slows down the blood circulation. You may find that your legs swell after surgery.

To help reduce swelling of the legs
Take regular exercise e.g. walking. Avoid standing still for too long. When seated support your legs on a stool raised above the level of your hips.

Personal Care

Shower
Usually on the fifth day after your operation. You will be given assistance with this.

Bowel care
Bowel action can be slow to start and you may need medicines. If you have any problems tell your nurse.

Appetite
For the first few days your appetite may be poor. It helps if you start with light snacks and meals. If you feel sick discuss this with your nurse.

Sleep
Sleep patterns may be disturbed for a while. Bad dreams are quite common in the early days. If you need something to help you sleep ask the medical or nursing staff.

Emotional recovery
Symptoms such as mild depression, irritability and mood swings are not uncommon. This is quite normal and gradually improves with time. A positive attitude, the help and understanding of family, partners and friends will soon mean that fitness and confidence will return.

Getting up and about

Your activities will go from:

  • Sitting on the side of the bed
  • To sitting in a chair
  • To walking around your ward
  • To walking on the corridor

At first you will need the help of your nurse and physiotherapist and as you get stronger you can move about on your own.

Heart rate
After the operation you may feel your heart beating fast. Don't panic this is very common. Tell your nurse you may be given medication for this.

Visitors
We recommend that only close family visit you in the early days. It is important to keep the visits short to allow you to rest. This will help in your recovery.

Visiting times are from: 2-4pm and 6.30-8pm

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