I Did Not Come Home Empty Handed


I left the hospital with not only a new lease on life but also three gifts.  One of the important things to do after this kind of surgery is to keep the lungs clear so no infection grows.  The best way to clear the lungs is to cough.  This hurts after being cut open.

To make this process easier I was given a heart pillow.

heart pillow

I press this against the cut, hold it in place with crisscrossed arms and cough.  Amazingly enough this does work.  The pain of coughing is eased by doing this.  The hospital has a group of volunteers who make these pillows for heart patients.  Years ago Kathy’s quilt group also did something similar to this for local hospitals as their make-a-difference day project.

As the lungs are being kept clear it is also important to exercise them to get maximum oxygen levels.  To this end I was given two things. The first is the Areobika.  I place this gizmo in my mouth and exhale into it.  As the air flows something within the machine vibrates.  The louder and stronger the vibration, the better shape the lungs are in.  I got that sucker fluttering like crazy.

The second important part is to strengthen the lungs during intake.  The means to this end is the Incentive Spirometer.

breathing machine

This is used for inhaling.  The goal is to keep the piston on the left in the best – better range while making the one on the right rise.  I am at the half way point so far.  Not bad for just being cut open last Monday.

Well, I will continue using these gifts until I no longer need then which will hopefully be soon.



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19 responses to “I Did Not Come Home Empty Handed

  1. I am reliving my daughter’s five open-heart surgeries through your Slices. We have all those gadgets, duplicates in some cases, and more. My daughter has a shelf in her bedroom of all the “heart pillows” she has acquired over the years including an adorable stuffed pink pig. You’re doing great; every day brings new progress. I am always astonished at the body’s ability to recover from such trauma.

  2. So glad to read your posts. I have been out with a terrible cold and have not written or read much. Considering you had open heart surgery and have been able to write, I feel a little cold should not have gotten me down so much. But I have taken lots of naps and the kitties have enjoyed napping with me. It sounds like you are recovering at the proper speed and that you are following instructions. So glad the surgery is over.

  3. It does sound like you are improving a great deal, Bob – which is happy news!

  4. Such a generous hospital! 🙂 Truly, that heart pillow is a wonderful thing for you to have. I hope I never have to use any of the new toys you came home with, but I’m delighted to read of your progress. Keep it up Bob!

  5. I love the idea of the heart pillow. It really sounds as though you are doing well. It is amazing to me that you are already home after such a serious surgery!

  6. Heart pillow, Areobika, Incentive Spirometer…your slice enriched my vocabulary today. I’m so glad you are doing well with all the gifts the hospital sent home to you. It does amaze me that through each and every experience we face, no matter how tough, we are introduced to things (and groups, and people) that are commonplace to other folks in different fields. It makes me feel like I don’t know very much at all when I think about the specialized fields of so many others…

    • I have often felt this way,too. Then I remember that my educational background and vocabulary seem just as strange to someone not in the field of education.

  7. What fun words to say three times quickly! New ideas, places . . . What a learning adventure you have been on! I detect that you are also feeling MUCH better! Yay to improved health!

  8. Judy C.

    Keep up those breathing exercises – they are very important. The heart pillow is a wonderful addition to your household and I’m sure that you’ll be hugging it for a while until you heal. So glad that you are progressing so quickly.

  9. Lisa

    Sounds like you are on the road to recovery! I, too, like the heart pillow. I remember in high school we made breast cancer pillows to donate to the hospital. They were given to mastectomy patients who couldn’t quite put their arms flat against their sides yet and needed somewhere to rest their arm. I should see if either of these projects is welcome at our local hospital. I know some teenage girls who need to do some service!

  10. rosecappelli

    Thank you so much for sharing your road to recovery, Bob! And I hope you do continue to post updates. Keep getting stronger every day and when you hug that heart pillow, remember how important you are to your writing community.

  11. Such a nice name for a pillow. I’m glad that it’s doing its job and easing your pain. I’m also glad to hear that you had the Aerobika fluttering like crazy – that made me laugh. Keep up the healing!

  12. I had surgery one time years ago, & I remember that breathing stuff too, Bob. But I didn’t take it home. I’m so glad there are so many “self-help” things to add to the getting well, and actually to pass the time. I hope that you’re feeling better day to day, and am still so happy for you that they discovered the need and did something! Happy days are here, and happier every day I’m sure.

  13. Yeah you are home – gifts and all! I am surprise and delighted that you have felt well enough to write. I love hearing about your experience – not because I like illness but because it means you are healing! Keep writing and use that heart pillow! Take Care!

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