After a surgical procedure is complete, you are “post-surgery.” Naturally, you will experience some pain and side effects from your surgery, some of which may worry you, while others arrive expectedly.
If you have never had a major surgical procedure before, coming out of anesthesia can be a not-so-fun experience. The next couple of days, or even weeks (depending on your surgery), can be rough.
Here are some things to do while you are post-surgery to help yourself heal more comfortably:
Post Surgery Worries
If this is your first time having surgery, you will feel things that you have not felt before. Most surgeries are minimally invasive, which means you will not have significant scarring from a procedure. Particular procedures and major surgeries, however, are going to have stitches. After surgery, you will be in charge of caring for your stitches and making sure they do not get infected.
You will feel some pain if built-up pressure needs to be released. That is normal, but you should get help if the pain persists for more than several days. Frankly, you will feel rubbish after surgery, so it is best not to add stress to your body. Take it easy, and give yourself the time that you need to recover.
Take Care of Yourself
It is easy to neglect to care for yourself after surgery because you are not feeling great. Try to care for yourself by ensuring your basic human needs get met first. Maintain basic hygiene (showering, brushing your teeth, etc.) and eat enough food. If you cannot do these on your own, get some help. While a family member or friend can help you out, the hospital may also have resources for you to use.
Call Your Doctor Post Surgery
When the hospital releases you, they should give you a packet. This packet will have different forms and papers that show you what the recovery looks like and what you should expect. You may not understand what you read and may have some questions and concerns. If this is the case, you can call your doctor or a nurse and ask them your questions.
They should be able to answer your questions about postoperative care. If you are meeting with other doctors, such as a physical therapist or general doctor, you can ask them questions as well. It is best to ask a medical professional about your care rather than someone who does not know your medical history.
Take Time Off Work
If you have had a major surgical procedure or even an outpatient surgery that uses anesthesia, you will want time off of work. It may be your first surgery, and you might not know your response to being knocked out. It can be disorienting to come out of the anesthesia, and it takes time to get out of your body.
When you have a procedure like a hip replacement or brain surgery, you may not be able to go home right away. You will have doctors and nurses checking on you to ensure that your body is healing correctly. Talk with your doctor to see how long the recovery time is and go from there. Do the smart thing, and take time off work, as you have had a significant life event.
Be Gentle with Yourself
It can be so easy to beat yourself up or get mad at your body because you are not healing as fast as you would like. Surgery changes your body in multiple ways, and it takes time for you to recover. You may even have scars from your surgery that stay there forever. While scars can (and do) fade, they can still be there while having become less noticeable.
If you acquire muscle trauma, it takes a lengthy amount of time for your body to heal. It can take months for your muscles and body to improve and pain to recede. Know that you are in this for the long haul but that you will feel better in the end. Celebrate each of your improvements, even the small ones.
Fluids, Fluids, Fluids
Your doctor or surgeon should talk to you about this before your surgery. Drink lots of water. Keeping your body hydrated will prevent your muscles from spasming and keep everything moving correctly. (Stay away from carbonation and dyes because they can damage the digestional tract).
Think of water as a cooling mechanism that helps your body stay at the right temperature as well. If you do not get enough water (or hydrating fluids), you run the risk of your body overheating.
Dehydration or heat exhaustion can cause lasting damage and be quite dangerous. So, if you have not been getting enough water, you may experience slight annoyances in the form of dry skin, dry lips, a dry throat, or a dry mouth, or you could experience even more damaging effects. Stay hydrated.
Get Extra Help When Needed
While you may not need help taking care of yourself, you may need help around the house or to get necessary tasks done. It can be hard to ask for help. However, it may surprise you just how willing and eager-to-help people can be.
Get in contact with family members and friends. They may not be able to do everything you need, but they might be willing to help you with some things. You can even ask people in your community to come to help out with small tasks around the house. It could be something as simple as feeding your pets or something as big as cleaning a room.
If you would do it for somebody else, they would likely do it for you.
Post-surgery can momentarily feel worse than pre-surgery. While that can be true, you are on the road to healing in order to get back to doing the things you love. Give your body time and be patient with it. Allowing it to heal will be better for you in the long run than trying to push it beyond its limits now.
Let us Help Post Surgery
Call us today to schedule an appointment. We would love to help you on your road to recovery!