Cooking for a friend post-bypass

Hi, all! I’ve been asked to be a part of a food train for a dear friend who will undergo cardiac bypass surgery tomorrow. Ive drawn the first meal after they get home, and she has asked for a stew (the list of casseroles is starting to get long!)

Im thinking about either a simple but hearty chicken noodle, or possibly a white wine coq au vin (while not cold, its to be blustery and chilly this week) with a loaf of homebaked bread and a simple fruit dessert (apple pie or similar) as her husband and daughter will be home with her, too.

Ive also read that many bypass patients have no appetite…

Anybody been through this? Other guidance?

Thanks for help!

2 Likes

I do know a few people that have had bypass surgery but they weren’t close enough friends to really know what the first few weeks post surgery were like.

But, from friends who have had major surgery, the first week home can be challenging (for both the patient and the care givers). I would definitely go chicken noodle soup if it were me. They can always just eat the broth if their stomach isn’t quite settled from the anesthesia or if their throat is sore from any intubation tubes.

Best wishes to your friend!

8 Likes

Agree with @Thimes, in that it should be something good, but bland and soupy. Two other suggestions I might add are Italian Wedding soup with tiny ground turkey meatballs, orzo, carrots and celery in a nice chicken broth, or congee with toppings kept separate for those who want them. I’m sure your efforts will be much appreciated and best to your friend @Sunshine842.

6 Likes

Also a simple fish soup like this Finnish salmon soup fit heart healthy goals, subbing milk for the 1/2 and 1/2.

3 Likes

What about something like a pasta fagioli? I find this to be very comforting. You can use whole wheat pasta to make it healthier. I think some people might use sausage or a pancetta but I never do.

1 Like

As a CKD patient, I can say that guidelines are essential for diet. A lot of these are similar to my reccomended kidney diet.
No clogged arteries seems to be the overriding concern.
Adherence to the regimen really screws with one’s head if a food lover.

2 Likes

Her damage has come about not because of diet, lifestyle, or genetics, but because of the anti-rejection meds after a transplant. (Yeah, it sucks that hard. She and her hubs are walking miracles.)

So those of us on the supply chain are being told that there are no real restrictions other than the usual guidelines…mind the fat and sodium, but really no other significant restrictions.

Im leaning heavily toward a lighter version of chicken pot pie, or the pasta fagiol. It may change as we get more info, but easy on the tummy but comfort and nourishing sound like the main targets (for her family, too).

2 Likes

As a person who has been lucky enough to have had only one surgery in my entire life, (besides oral surgery) I will add that the last thing I would have wanted on my first day home would be anything with legumes in it. I think the pasta Fagioli sounds great and comforting, but perhaps better saved for later in the recovery period. Just my 2 cents here, YMMV.

Good point, especially with the havoc wreaked by anesthesia

How is your friend? Hope the surgery has gone well and is on way for a recovery.

1 Like

After my first surgery a few weeks ago, my throat was sore from the anesthesia tube down my throat. The best thing I had at the hospital was a cup of hot tea. When I got home Mrs. P heated up some hot gumbo which really hit the spot for my throat. I think any hearty soup would be great after surgery.

2 Likes

Thanks. That’s some good news, at least.

I ran a Meal Train for my next door neighbor when she broke both of her arms (dancing to Super Freak at a church Valentine’s Day dance, at 61 years old- she’s awesome.)

Even using the Meal Train website so everyone could see what everyone else was bringing there were far too many pastas and crust wrapped things. One big glut of heavy starchy foods. Most had at least 75% of them tossed (I froze what I could in individual containers for her but it was still just too much pasta so a good portion of that was tossed later.) can you see what other people are bringing so you don’t have the same thing happen?

3 Likes

Exactly!
Rice dishes rock, just as an instance.
Or stuff without tomatoes :tomato:
:slight_smile:

I would check with the hospital nutritionist or menu planner. I would also look over the discharge/after care documents to see if there’s any follow-up re food.

2 Likes

It’s kind of you and your community to organize the support.

My dad had the surgery. You are right, appetite was severely impacted. Mood swings and depression are side-effects of the surgery as well. (Not associated with your question here, but since you are close to the family you might want to recommend that your friend participate in the cardiac gym facility that is offered usually at the hospital or Ann affiliated facility - a close friend recommended it to me, it really helped my dad - more than the exercise the sense of community of people having been through a chest cracked open situation - so I always recommend it now.)

Nutritionist-directed meals at the hospital were “normal” - a little bit of a lot of things, and the variety definitely helped. He could have a bite or two of a couple of things even if he wasn’t really feeling like eating.

When we got home, it got a bit harder, but we used the “well, this is how they served your meals at the hospital, right?” and managed to convince him to eat a little bit of several things too.

For the patient, I’d stick to something simple that will keep well - a very simple chicken soup with some noodles or rice on the side to be added in when eating was my dad’s favorite meal for weeks. We added some vegetables - potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, peas - to make it a complete meal even if he had just a few bites.

That said, meal trains are often more for the family at the outset I think.

So for the family, it sounds trite, but for the first meal up, a simple roast chicken or chicken parts with a couple of vegetable sides provide comfort plus flexibility with leftovers. And there is potential for chicken soup when they’re done.

Rotisserie chicken works too: when my uncle went to hospice care, we arrived home one night to a boston market drop-off including two chickens - we chuckled appreciatively because it would never have crossed our minds to do that, but it was perfect to have the simple chicken that night, sandwiches the next few days, and we did end up sticking bones into a PC for soup a few days later.

Other suggestions: Include some fresh things - fruit, a bag of salad greens, yogurt. Sweet things bite-sized and that keep well - cookies, brownies, muffins, banana bread. As an extra, quiche custard baked in muffin cups is handy for breakfast, lunch, or snacks for the patient when they don’t feel like eating a normal meal.

And if you’re very close to them, consider making a bit extra of whatever you’re cooking for yourself in subsequent days and weeks and dropping of a serving or two once in a while, to mix up their routine of casseroles, takeout, and the inevitable general rut.

Best wishes to your friend for health and good recovery, and to her family for patience and caregiving.

5 Likes

Thanks all! The surgery went well, but there are inevitable bumps on the road. We have a list of who’s bringing what, and the request is for one meal’s worth of food in disposable containers so there no cleanup or worrying about getting containers back to the owner. One of us is an RN who talks with the staff so there’s medical guidance too.

Thanks for your help!

3 Likes

Update…i went with chicken noodle, as her hubby said she is having some throat pain and sensitivity. She’s home and looking amazingly well for all shes been through.

Thanks again for all the advice!

8 Likes

I’ve been cooking for a loved one who had a surgery a couple weeks ago.
I’ve made mac & cheese, roast chicken , salmon and Greek meatballs over the last week . I made an avgolemono soup from the leftover chicken. I make lentils every few days, to try to keep things regular .
A friend brought over a quart of bean and bacon soup, and another friend brought salmon cakes that I pan-fried, and a curried chickpea tomato soup.
Last night I made shrimp and scallops in a tomato feta sauce, rice and fasolakia (green beans slow cooked with evoo, dill and lemon juice )
Tonight I’m making a veggie borscht.

2 Likes

I’d think chicken and biscuits, or chicken pot pie, would also go over well. Or shepherd’s pie or cottage pie.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter!

Press Room
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold