A friend of mine who was operated on three months from the open-heart is depressed. He is afraid of having sex with his couple.
I told him to go see a doctor, to browse internet, where (regardless the junk) very good information can be found, and to visit a shrink, but I have not been able to lift his spirit.
He doesn’t want to work either because he can hurt himself, according to his belief; he doesn't drink, eats without a tiny piece of salt, hence he hasn’t tasted the ham he likes so much, he doesn't dance… in short, he doesn't live.
I was operated on from the heart on December 17, 2010, and my surgeon and friend, Doctor Ángel M. Paredes Cordero tells me (I guess that joking, to mortify my ego) that now I am more productive and better journalist, thanks to him and his team. I eat what I like, I drink once in a while, I climb the stairs of the four-story building of Abril Editorial House... of course, my diet not always contains fat, neither a beer a day... before riding bicycle I warm up a little; I undergo the corresponding medical checkups; in short, today my life is healthier.
As the saying goes “there are not illnesses, but sick people”, and I am just a case, I visited a very respected specialist, the Professor and Doctor Humberto Saínz, also my friend, with the usual questions of those who have been operated on (and mostly those with heart diseases in general), to try to help them:
It is common to be afraid after a heart attack or a cardiovascular operation, either an angioplasty or open-heart?
"Yes. Regrettably, many patients operated from the heart mistakenly consider that their situation is worse than before and self-limit their quality of life."
Can a person have a life within the normal limits after those events?
"The quality of life will depend on the improvement in his functional capacity, and the answer is: yes."
What cares must they have with their diet? What about alcoholic drinks?
Post operational psychic and physical rehabilitation is recommended. Healthy lifestyle. Not smoking. To drink socially. To control associate illnesses, if existing. Diets low in salt and fat. To avoid overweight and a sedentary lifestyle."
Is it true that the physical activity performed during sex is not higher than climbing up two floors in a stairway?
What time should be expected after the heart gives us "a fright" to resume the life prior the operation?
“It will depend on the sort, span of the operation and its rehabilitation."
Which are the don’ts for a person sick of the heart whether operated or not?
“No diets high on salt and fats. Not smoking. Not to abuse of alcoholic drinks. Not leading a sedentary life. Not to be overweight."
Something else you would like to add that had escaped my questions.
"Patients operated from the heart (congenital or acquired cardiopathy) whose functional capacity (physical activity) improves to normal or almost normal levels, he can and should lead a practically normal life, far superior in quality of life than that experienced before the operation."