Recovering from surgery can be stressful, especially once you’ve left the hospital. It’s not uncommon for people to spend most of their recovery period at home. That’s why you should have a good idea of what you should and shouldn’t do during recovery long before you actually undergo your procedure.
When recovering from surgery at home, be patient as you follow your doctor’s orders. This includes getting plenty of rest, while also doing any exercises that they may recommend. On the other hand, you want to avoid over-exerting yourself, driving or working until you’re ready, and not ignore any complications you may have.
Always talk to your doctor about what to expect during recovery before the actual procedure. This gives you time to mentally prepare as well as to make any arrangements you may need to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Do’s of Recovering From Surgery at Home
When recovering from surgery, make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure the best and fastest recovery possible. Follow these “do’s” so that your next visit is scheduling a simple follow-up and not another procedure.
Recovering from surgery can be a long, slow process, and it’s natural to want to speed things up. Unfortunately, this can lead you to overestimate your ability to recover as well as underestimate how demanding the recovery process can actually be.
The best way to gauge your recovery and develop patience is by following your doctor’s orders to the letter. Your doctor performs surgery every day and is the best judge of what to expect throughout the surgical recovery process.
Prepare and freeze meals before surgery
Nutrition is essential for your overall health and this is especially true when recovering from surgery. Before your procedure, ask your doctor if there are any foods you should avoid or get more of once you’re back at home. Once you have your list of suggestions, go to the store and buy enough of what you need to last your recovery period.
It can also help to prepare meals beforehand so that you have less work ahead of you. Simply prepare your meals and put them in the freezer for easy reheating. Talk to friends and family about help with any shopping and cooking you may need once you’re back at home.
When recovering from surgery at home, never do more than what your doctor recommends. With that said, make sure that you’re getting any type of light exercise that your doctor may suggest. This can be an uncomfortable process at first, but light exercise has been proven to aid in the recovery process of common procedures such as abdominal surgery.
You won’t need much movement or exercise when recovering from your surgical procedure. Simply make sure that you’re following the instructions given by your medical team, whether it’s your doctor, nurse, or in-home care provider. Just a little bit of exercise can do wonders for your recovery so don’t miss out.
Get Plenty of Rest
You’ll be going nowhere fast if you don’t rest after undergoing surgery. Make sure that you’re bed or wherever you plan on recovering is comfortable since it’s where you’re going to be spending a lot of time. Invest in a couple of extra-large, regular-sized pillows before the procedure, just to be on the safe side.
You’ll also want to have plenty of things nearby to help occupy your time while you recover. This can include:
- Your smartphone
- Books and magazines
- Tablets and E-readers
- Television remote control
You’re going to be spending a lot of time laying around. Whatever activities you enjoy that don’t require moving (unless approved by your doctor) should be close at hand so you don’t go stir crazy while you get back to your old self.
Don’ts of Recovering from Surgery at Home
While it’s good to know what to do when recovering from surgery, knowing what not to do is just as important, if not more so. Whether it’s something you weren’t aware of or something you need reinforced, knowing what not to do while recovering from surgery at home is essential. Failure to do so can result in complications that can land you back on the operating table.
Unnecessary Physical Activity
We’ve discussed how important physical activity can be for your recovery process. However, there are limits to what you can and should do. This is why following your doctor’s instructions is so important. They’ll provide the boundaries you need to make the best recovery possible.
This can be frustrating. Sometimes you may not be allowed to lift more than a certain amount of weight, which can be as low as 5 pounds. Make sure to talk to your doctor about what you can and can’t do once you’re back at home. You can try to take care of them beforehand, or ask friends and family to help out while you get better.
Complications after surgery can vary and depend on the type of surgery you had. It can be difficult to know exactly what’s causing them on your own or how to deal with them. Despite this fact, be on the lookout for issues such as:
- Increased pain
- Infection of the incision site
These symptoms along with others can point to a serious problem and require immediate attention. See your doctor as soon as possible to find out what’s causing these complications, how to treat them, and how to prevent more from occurring.
Driving Before You’re Ready
You shouldn’t drive for 24 hours following your surgical procedure. For some people, this may be even longer depending on the type of anesthesia that they were given. While anesthesia is fantastic for preventing pain during surgery, its lingering effects can impair cognitive abilities and turn driving into a dangerous activity.
This is because anesthesia impairs your ability to react as quickly as you normally would. Operations for problems such as a hernia can cause you to be unable to use the brake, which is pretty important for everyday driving. It’s best to have a ride to and from surgery as well as for however long your doctor recommends you avoid getting behind the wheel.
Going Back to Work too Soon
Some surgical procedures may require you to take off from work for a period of time. Make sure to talk to your doctor about when it’s safe to return to your job. Even then, you’ll need to keep your safety and recovery in mind once you’re back.
People who work jobs where they sit all day run a higher risk of developing blood clots after surgery than those who don’t. If you have a desk job, make sure to get up and walk around occasionally to get your blood pumping.
Need a surgical consultation? Call us at (812) 424-8231 or (800) 264-8231 to get started!
Evansville Surgical Associates has been providing comprehensive and compassionate surgical care for over 50 years. Call us at (812) 424-8231 or (800) 264-8231. We are available from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm if you would like to schedule an appointment.