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During the first few days after the operation, you need not be reminded that all major operations are painful and leave you feeling weak. You will have a period of pain, particularly in the front of the chest along the wound. This is because your breast bone has been cut through and then wired together to hold it in place so that you may breathe normally after the operation. However, you’ll probably find that the pain disturbs your sleep, makes movement difficult and coughing painful. So you will receive considerable attention which may be irritating and unpleasant. You will be told to cough when in your view there is nothing to cough up. You will be encouraged to do movements and exercises which hurt at first. However the pain can be eased in various ways and the physiotherapy and nursing staff will show you how to do this.
All this leads to considerable frustration, unhappiness, even despair or anger. After a few days, you may start to think you would never have had the operation if you had known it would be so unpleasant. You may even feel you were foolish to agree to it. This may make you want to strike out at others as you feel frustrated and disappointed.
These feelings usually occur on about the third or fourth day after the operation. On the next day, however, most people suddenly feel well. You realize you have been through a bad time. You start to look forward to the future with optimism and think about going home and getting on with your life.
Chest sensations
As well as soreness from the chest wound, some people feel burning or loss of sensation in the front of the chest. This may last for weeks or months. It is particularly common following internal mammary artery grafting. It occurs because the nerves which run through to the front of the chest, together with branches of the internal mammary arteries, may have been interfered with during the dissection of those arteries from the chest wall.
Inflammatory pain
You may also have another kind of chest pain (called pericarditis). This is caused by inflammation around the heart because of an accumulation of blood after the operation. You may feel pain in the left side of the chest or on the tip of the left shoulder when you breathe. The pain usually subsides after a few days.

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