I've been tracking my aortic valve area for the past twenty years, as it's slowly been narrowing because of calcification or stenosis. It finally reached 0.8 sq cm which, coupled with me not being able to exercise without nearly passing out, meant it's time to replace the valve. Dr. Alan Speir, a highly respected and renowned heart surgeon, performed and aortic valve replacement on July 30, 2014.
I must say that the first few days weren't fun. I had to learn how to sleep, get out of bed, shower and get dressed without aggravating my incision. But the good news is that Physical and occupational therapists were there to help in every way. I was discharged from the hospital in four days. After a month I was back driving and going about most of my business. I still had to be mindful to not lift anything heavy. I used the "if it hurts, don't do it" philosophy. I started cardiac rehab after six weeks, something I'd highly recommend to anyone who has heart surgery. It's a highly controlled physicial therapy program with nurses and trainers who understand limitations of heart surgery. You're hooked up to heart monitors, blood pressure taken before and after exercise and put through a ever increasing level of treadmill, bike and weight training. Outstanding program!
I was told that three months after surgery, I could do just about anything and they were right. Pushups still hurt a little but after four months, even that's OK.
I haven't felt this good in years!
I'm extremely grateful to Dr. Speir for doing a great job, something he does several times a week. I also grateful to his staff, especially Pam Crippen, the Nurse Practioner that worked with me. She was always there in her calm, professional, reassuring manner. The ICU and stepdown nurses were fantastic despite the incessant IV pump alarms and nightime wakeups.
All in all, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
Oh and by the way, if you you're a guy and haven't had surgery yet, buy "The Incision Shield" sold on this website. I used it for more than a month to keep my shirts from rubbing on the incision. Really worth the money!