The moment your doctor told you that you’d need to undergo surgery, you probably had a lot of questions in mind. You want to know everything about the upcoming procedure and how critical it’ll be for you. Most importantly, you’ll also want to know how fast you can recover and get back to your normal routine and activities. But the truth is, recovery time can vary for each patient. It depends on the injury’s severity or condition and the kind of operation you have.
Before you agree on taking a major surgery, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor or other healthcare professionals for more information about it such as:
- What are the risks associated with the surgery?
- How long will the surgery take place?
- Which pain medication is required?
- Will you need home healthcare after the surgery?
Thanks to advancements in technology, recovering from major surgery is more manageable than before. However, you still need to pay attention to your doctor’s pre- and post-operative instructions, discharge manual, and prescribed medication. Following your doctor’s instructions and medications, along with your patience and positive attitude, you can get back on your feet in no time.
Tips For A Smooth Recovery After A Major Surgery
Besides the help and assistance of your doctor and healthcare professionals who’ve been with you throughout the surgery, there are also some steps you can make to help your recovery process smoother and quicker. While you may not always be in control of the results of the surgery, you’re in charge of your body, and it’s up to you how you’ll help your body heal quickly.
In the meantime, here are ten post-surgery tips to remember to achieve a smooth and easier recovery after major surgery:
1. Get As Much Rest As You Can
After the surgery, get as much rest as possible and don’t worry about anything else. Worrying about things not related to your health or condition will only stress you out and delay your recovery. Most of the time, patients have to be bedridden for three weeks or longer, depending on their condition and type of surgery. So, while you’re still recovering in your hospital bed, sleep as much as you want and let your body heal itself.
Meanwhile, if you start feeling better after a few days or weeks, don’t force yourself to do some activities right away. Preferably, wait for your doctor’s approval or go signal until they say you’re okay to get up and move around your room. If you’re allowed to walk short distances, make sure to move or walk slower than your normal pace.
2. Seek Some Help And Assistance
Since you’re not allowed to do anything strenuous, you shouldn’t drive yourself home or even ride public transportation by yourself without any assistance. So, before you’re officially discharged from the hospital, make arrangements on who’ll be your assistant or caregiver throughout your recovery process. You can ask your family to hire a personal nurse or caregiver for you, especially when they’re full-time workers and may not be able to assist you 24/7.
You can hire a nurse from https://www.eliteprohomecare.com/ or other homecare services near your residence. With personal healthcare with you at home, they can assist you in your day-to-day needs like preparing food, walking you to your bed or chair, laundry, and more.
3. Keep Up With Your Doctor’s Post-Operative Instructions
While you’re recovering and healing at home, make sure you always take note of your doctor’s post-operative instructions. This may seem evident, but you’ll be surprised how many patients actually fail to follow their doctor’s instructions due to the concept that ‘they’re feeling better’ or ‘some of the instructions sounds weird.’ The truth is, there will always be a reason behind those instructions.
For example, if your doctor advised you never to take a bath for two weeks, it may be because taking a bath may stress your incision, or maybe it’s a strenuous activity for your body. Another is if they told you not to do any cleaning or vacuuming, it’s probably because you’re not allowed to lift anything heavy yet. Countermanding your doctor’s instructions will only slow down your recovery.
4. Clean Your Incision Regularly
Cleaning your incision regularly is essential to avoid any possible infection. Even if the operation was done carefully and successfully or if the wound is too small, wound infection can still happen. With the help of your personal nurse, follow the doctor’s step-by-step guide in cleaning and dressing your incision. If the wound is impossible for you to reach (e.g., back wound), it may be best to let your family member or nurse clean it for you rather than forcing yourself to it.
Furthermore, consult your doctor about the necessary supplies needed to maintain and clean up your incision at home. Avoid using other cleaning products or alternative first-aid solutions that your doctor doesn’t prescribe as this might only worsen or infect your wound. Most importantly, if you notice anything unusual with your wound such as redness, fluid discharge, or increasing pain, contact your doctor immediately.
5. Maintain A Healthy Diet
Your diet is vital towards speeding up your recovery and helping your body heal naturally from within. So, always eat a healthy diet and focus on eating nutritious foods that promote healing such as fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These foods will also help strengthen your body and immune system and minimize complications.
It’s also essential to be watchful of what you drink. Avoid drinking alcohol at all costs, especially if you’re still maintaining some medications or painkillers. Mixing medications and alcohol can be dangerous and might produce a poisonous toxin into your body.
6. Monitor The Pain Of Your Surgery
Doctors usually prescribe pain medication for their patients to help alleviate the pain from the surgery. However, many patients tend to avoid taking these pain medications due to the fear that they’ll become dependent on the medicine. And so, some of you may rather deal with the pain and try to get used to it. Unfortunately, not taking your pain medication will only slow down your healing process and cause you unnecessary pain.
The thing is, pain medications aren’t addictive and won’t lead to dependence as long as you’re taking them as prescribed. Additionally, you’re recommended to take the pain medication on time as taking it too late will make the medicine less effective. In case the pain of your surgery is increasing despite taking your pain medication religiously, it’s best to contact your doctor about it. They may prescribe you another pain medication or check if your wound is infected.
7. Follow Up With Your Doctor
Even if you feel better and see that your wound is healing, always remember to follow up with your doctor and attend your scheduled appointments. Some patients tend to overlook these follow-up appointments as they think it’s a waste of time or money.
While you may know your body better than anyone else, your doctor is more skillful and knowledgeable in spotting any signs of infection or other underlying health issues you may not know about. After all, doctors only want what’s best for your health and recovery, so never skip on your appointments.
8. Be Cautious Of Any Activity That Could Disturb Your Incision
Sometimes, even the tiniest activity could disturb your incision. A good example is when you cough or sneeze. Coughing or sneezing can be painful for your incision, especially if it’s located on your chest, abdomen, or stomach area. In worst cases, coughing or sneezing so loudly can tear your wound.
Thus, be cautious whenever you cough or sneeze or when doing another minor movement that could affect your incision. For instance, if you need to cough or sneeze, brace your incision by covering a soft pillow on the area. This will minimize the pressure and reduce its impact on your wound.
9. Get Up And Move
This may sound counterintuitive, considering that you’re discouraged from doing any strenuous movement. However, staying immobile for too long could lead to muscle problems, swelling, blood clots, and adversely affect your overall health. So, if you’re able, motivate yourself to get up and take a short walk for a few minutes every day. A quick walk can help promote blood circulation and avoid blood clots. It also promotes regular bowel movement, especially since the anesthesia from the surgery could cause constipation.
Just remember to talk with your doctor first and seek their approval before you decide to get up and take a walk. If you’re good to go, make sure to have someone accompany you when talking your short walks outside.
10. Keep A Positive Attitude
It may be hard to maintain a positive attitude, especially if you feel like your recovery is too slow. And so, some patients may end up feeling stressed or anxious during their recovery process, which all the more slows down their body’s healing. But remember, recovery time is different for every patient. Instead of pressuring yourself to heal as quickly as others, focus on your own healing journey and keep a positive attitude.
Here are some tips to help you keep a happy and positive mindset during recovery:
- Open your windows and witness the sunrise or sunset from your room or home.
- Step outside into your lawn and enjoy the sun and the fine weather.
- Start a journal and write down your thoughts. This will help you deal with your feelings or thoughts whenever you feel discouraged or helpless.
- Meditate every morning.
- Bring in some flowers or plants inside your home as their presence promotes positivity and healing.
Recovering from major surgery will be a different experience for everyone. So, instead of worrying about the things you’re missing out on and anything unrelated to your health, use this time to focus on yourself, promote self-care, and keep up with these recovery tips. Give your body enough time to heal and don’t rush yourself by skipping some of these steps. Remember, the success of your recovery depends on how you follow your doctor’s instructions, maintain your medications, and take care of your body.