A Basket of Comfort for the Recovering Heart

The day after Christmas, a dear friend had a heart attack, and then bypass surgery two days later.  We went to help bring him home on New Year’s Day, taking a gift basket for the recovering patient.  I know from my experience with upper spine surgery just over 5 years ago, that after a week or so, boredom becomes a huge problem.  With weeks of recuperation in the future, several things would come in handy.  I began with a plastic basket that he can keep on the sofa next to him to corral the remotes for the TV and a few other small items.

Post Op Basket at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I sewed a Seat Belt pad for him, twice the size of the ones I have made before for padding chemo ports.  His surgical scar is huge, all the way down his chest, so this longer version will pad the seat belt for him when he goes to appointments.  He already used it for his first post-op appointment and pronounced it very useful and comfortable.

Post Op Basket at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Certainly, the recovering heart patient needs some healthy snacks and chicken soup.  A bit of chocolate wrapped around dried blueberries isn’t bad either.  I added some salt free seasoning for adding flavor to foods without sodium.

Post Op Basket at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Lip balm and oatmeal lotion for comfort, keeping skin moist and not dry.  A big box of tissues is always useful.

Post Op Basket at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I found some gummy vitamins especially suited for healing skin.  After my surgery, my neurosurgeon told me to use Vitamin E oil and massage on the incision to minimize the scarring.  There is no scientific evidence to support this in recent studies, but it did wonderful for me so I included it.

Post Op Basket at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Three novels and a word search puzzle book should provide a bit of diversion.

Post Op Basket at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Then, I made him a Bored Box.  I wrote out little notes, folded them over and put them in a metal box.  Each one has something to do when he runs out of TV shows and cannot watch another movie.  He will be able to use a computer, so a few of the ideas involve being online.

Post Op Basket at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

On the top of the box, I glued a little card with a stamped car and wrote Bored Box.

Post Op Basket at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I know you want to know what is on the cards, so here they are –

Listen to an audiobook free – https://librivox.org/
Update your cell phone contact list
Plan a weekend getaway for 6 months from now, plan the itinerary, book the hotel
Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
Reorganize the folders on your computer, delete all the stuff you don’t need.
Back up your hard drive
Change the passwords on your shopping accounts.
Install a password manager on your computer and set it up.
Write an article for a vintage car magazine and submit it.
– (He is a vintage Triumph expert)
Organize your old photos into albums
Sharpen all the knives in your kitchen.
Let your friends know you are ready to have visitors
Clean out your magazines, make a notebook of projects to keep and discard the rest.
Take photos of things to get rid of, and list them on eBay
Work an online jigsaw puzzle at https://www.jigsawplanet.com/ or
Solve a brain teaser puzzle at https://www.mindgames.com/
Solve free crossword puzzles at https://www.arkadium.com/free-online-games/crosswords/
Solve a logic puzzle (or one of the other categories) at http://www.freepuzzles.com/

Of course, a get well card had to be a part of the basket.  The pickup truck was perfect.

Post Op Basket at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

It is well known that heart surgery patients often have periods of depression after surgery, so I made the inside something inspirational.

Post Op Basket at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I am happy to report his recovery is progressing as it should.  It will still be several weeks before he is back to normal activity, but in the meantime, I hope this basket will bring him some comfort.

Post Op Basket at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Do you have a favorite thing to take to a recovering friend?

Sharing at Vintage Charm, and Best of the Weekend.

50 thoughts on “A Basket of Comfort for the Recovering Heart

  1. Thanks for sharing that. You have put together a very nice, thoughtful, and useful gift. I am sure he will appreciate it very much in the weeks to come. I will remember where I got this information next time I have a friend in need!

  2. How wonderfully kind. I usually take food, a novel and a puzzle book to a sick friend—geared to where their interests lie. Now, ask me why I do this?….. Because a sweet lady who has a delightful blog (From My Carolina Home) and who has NEVER met me sent me a wonderful box of goodies when I fell and broke my leg in 2017. Believe me, 6 weeks of staying off my leg would have driven me batty had it not been for the books, videos, puzzles—and chocolate,lol— to keep me occupied. This simple kindness affected me so deeply and I have tried my best to pay it forward since. Thank you, Carole.

  3. Cindy

    Thank you so much for sharing this blog. Everything is absolutely on target and it seems for a man it’s really hard. But, not for you. You nailed it. I may make up one of these to have on hand as I am not close to town to get the supplies. I have been looking for a stamp or pattern for a little truck to put on a quilted postcard and can’t seem to find one. Where did you get yours and are they still available? (couple of stamping friends checked for me and said they were no longer available) Love everything you do.

  4. Rosemaryflower

    I love this Carole, you and your husband are dear friends.
    Isn’t it great to be attended to and loved. I am thrilled you made this for your friend

    Rex is having his eye surgery tomorrow. Yesterday our good neighbor with his snow blower (his toy) came and did our driveway and a bit of our sidewalks! That was SO NICE
    Friends are treasures. Over night we got another 6″ so I will have to get that done today
    We have a total of 12 inches here
    Thank you for this. “funnily” I have a list of things to do if I “fall and break a hip” or become bed ridden (God forbid but really I am weird) and many of them are the computer clean up duties.
    I have a lot of folders and a lot of things to go through. I hope you have a marvelous week

  5. Judy Sanders

    What a special and thoughtful gift. The Lord will bless you as you give so much of yourself to others. Thanks for your love to others.

  6. What a thought-filled gift. Apparently your big heart asks your hands what they can do in situations like this 🙂 and the answer is a huge blessing to others. I try to bring a mercy meal to folks who are recovering or ill, because that is what we needed most when I have been laid up. My husband does so much, but has a limited repertoire in the kitchen!

  7. Diane D.

    Wow, those are all great ideas! I had no idea there were so many online places to find puzzles of all sorts. You are a very thoughtful and talented lady!

  8. Sylvia E Anderson

    Carole, you are the type of friend, we all wish we had, and fortunately, we do. You put yourself in his place, gave it a lot of thought, ran with it, and scored a touchdown. Your friend evidently lives alone, and the basket was a great idea for corralling anything he might need in one place.

  9. CAROLE! Love, love, LOVE this. You are such a blessing and thoughtful person. I am so glad I found your blog and you. Your inspiration is boundless and endless. ~smile~ Roseanne


    Great ideas. I have never done a box for anyone. I have not had a friend who needed one. Thank God. I will keep this in mind if I have to help someone. Thanks again. You are a good friend.

  11. KJ

    Wow! What a great friend you are. That box is sooo thoughtful. I have never needed to take a box like this to someone, thankfully, but I DID take a box to a friend who had lost their home to fire. He was moving into a new place and I went on a shopping spree for all the things no one else would buy – the necessities like toilet paper, paper towels, wax paper, tin foil, kitchen tools like a potato peeler and knives, kitchen towels, garbage cans, bath towels etc. It was kind of surprising that I was the only one who thought of the basics. He was very appreciative. In times of need friends are especially dear. I wish your friend a speedy, and full, recovery.

  12. farmquilter

    How awesome!!! What a kindness we all can pass around! Thank you for sharing your pattern for the seat belt pad…definitely need to make some of these.

  13. What a wonderful and thoughtful basket you put together. So many little items that are not often thought of, like the salt free seasoning and the moisturizer, men don´t think of things like that and I like the box of notes, very handy. What a perfect friend you are.

  14. Cindy B

    Thanks Carole for sharing this wonderful idea! I have done baskets for friends doing chemo that were well received and creating them was fun and made me feel useful. I would love to know the measurements for the seatbelt cushion. You are just full of great thoughtful ideas!!!!!

  15. Lovely thoughts included with each gift, you are so caring. I guess he will be on medication for some time, as Hugh was after his stent surgery, so this all takes a toll on your outlook.Love the
    “bored Box” and that alone is a huge lifter up of spirits.

  16. Phyllis Smith

    Good morning Carole,

    Board Box is such a thoughtful thing to make up for a recouperating person and your list of things they can do with little effort is so great. I even have a few things on it I need to do. Shopping at the dollar stores is such fun and can save us so much. We here in Fayetteville have another store called Ollies and another called Five Below so I have a great area to shop for things plus Pinterest gives us so many ideas as well.

    Having too many ideas though is sometimes another challenge.

    Have a great day,


  17. Carole, this is such a great list for a man that has to sit still for a spell recovering from surgery! I will keep this for future reference, because I always want to do something, but at the moment can never think of what will be helpful. Thank you for sharing. Have you ever done the True colors personality analysis? I feel certain you must be be high in the blue category, you are so good at these kinds of things!

  18. Brenda Ackerman

    Hello Carole, You are the most caring person I know! You come up with the best ideas for every situation. When you share these special ideas like this, I am so honored to know you! This world is such a better place with you in it and every person who you touch in every way is so blessed. Thank you Carole, for always sharing your ideas and being who you are!! God Bless You!!

  19. So much love in the post and in the comments!!! I wondered what you were going to do……so many great ideas…especially the “bored” tin. You make the world a kinder, happier place. 🙂

  20. Carole, It was great to think about and do something about your friend. Last Feb. 7th, I had a heart attack out of the blue. I had surgery 2 times in 4 days to place stents. Because I looked fine, everyone thought I was just fine and expected more out of me. I started cardiac rehab in March and flunked an emotional wellness survery they gave me. It was hard emotionally to get back. I still go to cardiac rehab 3X/ week. Cards were just the best!

  21. What a fantastic idea and how wonderful to do that for a friend. The seat belt pas is a great idea, my Dad used a small cushion down his shirt for the same reason 😊. Hope your friend has a great recovery. Love the bored tin, such a great idea.

  22. Sandi

    I love your ideas and I’m going to save your post so it will give me some good ideas. It’s such a great list. Hugs,

  23. Mary Jo

    What a wonderful friend you are! I am going to save this post for using when I know someone who needs a pickup after surgery or an illness! Great ideas.

  24. Patricia Ludwiczak

    What a fabulous idea – you are truly a kind and thoughtful person. I often want to take a meal to someone but it’s not my strong suit – so I will think of you as I plan a basket of my own. Thank you for your wonderful posts and great ideas!

  25. manasotavacation

    What in incredibly thoughtful and useful gift. It just spells love, so I’m sure your friend feels comforted every day in every phase of his recovery.

  26. thedarlingdogwood

    This is such a great idea! I’m stealing some of the ideas for when I go help my dad recover from surgery next month. I’m hoping for a safe and speedy recovery for your friend.

  27. What a wonderful thoughtful friend you are! I am sure hes going to appreciate it more and more as time goes by. I am keeping this post as a reminder for me should the need arise in the future.

  28. Patricia Evans

    This post came at the most opportune time. The husband of one of my close quilter friends just had emergency quadruple bypass surgery. I’m forwarding your post to his wife. I think the seat belt pad is especially helpful and he is also facing a long recovery. Your angel wings must be getting so heavy, I wonder how you are able to walk around. We are on the road (currently in TX) so I can’t send him the basket myself, but hopefully they will be able to use some of your ideas in coping with his recovery. Once again, thank you so much for all your caring efforts.

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