Sante Fe, NM -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/20/2006 -- Every year in the US alone, 709,000 open-heart patients (current AHA figures) plod through an arduous convalescence. Yet rarely are heart patients told what to really expect during the stressful open-heart surgery recovery period at home. Maggie Lichtenberg, a recent open-heart surgery thriver, former publishing company executive, professional speaker, and coach (PCC), decided this needed to change. Through dozens of interviews and weaving in her own personal battle with heart disease, she wrote The Open Heart Companion: Preparation and Guidance for Open-Heart Surgery Recovery (Pub Date June 13, 2006, ISBN: 0-9776063-0-9). This one of a kind recovery guide reinforces the wisdom that knowledge is power, and knowing what to expect during open-heart surgery recovery -- and preparing for it – is a life-affirming process.
For those facing heart surgery, this book includes tips on recovery. A few include:
1. Organize a “home team” before, or just home from, your surgery. Dole out assignments to friends and family – dinner nightly, buddy system, running errands, housekeeping, chauffeuring – so your primary caregiver is supported along with you.
2. Arrange for spiritual and psychological support before, during, and especially after the operation from people who will be willing to check in on you regularly about your state of mind and soul.
3. Take a positive approach to avert intermittent depression during recovery – combat lethargy, force yourself to get exercise despite your fatigue, explore meditation, go into prayer, exchange supportive phone calls with another heart patient, ask for help. Another seven tips are found in Chapter 10 of The Open Heart Companion.
This is the first book written with the focus primarily on the recuperation period with the goal of reducing fear and stress -- and maximizing support options -- by simply planning ahead. Not only does the book empower patient and loved ones before the open-heart surgery date; it also provides supportive guidelines, plan-ahead exercises, bibliographic resources, checklists, glossary, and index for the challenging “recovery gap” between hospital discharge and readiness for a cardiac rehab program.
As Kathleen Blake, MD, President, New Mexico Heart Institute, states in the Foreword, “Because The Open Heart Companion outlines a series of plans for thoughtful and collaborative action, it will be equally useful for those assisting in the care of a family member or friend.”
If you know someone facing heart surgery, stop by our site today for the support you need. In addition to the book, Lichtenberg offers an informative newsletter, a Recovery Organizer, coaching, and a monthly phone support group.