After developing heart disease I had to learn my limitations. In order to make the best of each day, and to prevent any relapses, I had to avoid or change the following:
Walking up stairs. I was only allowed to walk up three at a time, which proved to be quite difficult as, at that time, I had 12 steps to climb to go to my bedroom or the washroom. I would plan ahead and make sure I had everything done at night before going to bed to ensure there was no need to go back down.
Shoveling snow and vacuuming carpets. These were avoided completely.
Doing things with my hands above my head. It’s amazing how many things are above your head and you don’t even realize it!
Getting out of bed. Sounds simple enough. This is no easy feat when taking many of the medications prescribed when you have heart disease. I found a few times I “jumped” out of bed…and ended up right back in it! When I was on much stronger doses of medication, to avoid becoming dizzy, I would roll over, sit on the side of the bed, let my body adjust and then slowly stand up (one of the many things I learned at Cardiac Rehab).
Lifting heavy items. This was, and is, one area I still don’t always comply with. I’ve been so used to doing things myself for so many years; it’s difficult to ask for help. Each time I do lift something heavy, I end up feeling weak and tired for hours and swear to myself I’ll never do it again – until the next time! When I do feel the need to lift something heavier than I should, I make a conscious effort to breathe. Have you ever noticed we always hold our breath when we lift something heavy?
Putting away laundry. This continues to be one of my most difficult tasks. The constant up and down movement still makes me very dizzy and sometimes weak. At first I would do it as quick as possible to get it over with but have since found that by doing it slow, the intensity of the symptoms are diminished.