Below are a few tips that we hope will help ease your recovery.
- Make a few of your favorite casseroles and freeze them to make things easier during your recovery time.
- If you have time, consider having grab bars installed in the bathroom.
- Start packing well in advance if you can spare the clothes, so you don't have to try to remember everything all at once the night before. (Remember your insurance card, any records and medicines you need, a map to the hospital, important phone numbers, etc.)
- Pack zippered, velcro, button- or snap-down shirts if you are undergoing surgery in the chest area. You want to avoid lifting your arms above your head while you are recovering, as this can be painful. Comfortable pants with an elastic waistband and slip-on shoes are also a good idea to ease dressing.
- Bring comfortable slippers. You don't want to have to wear shoes all the time, but bare feet on the dirty floor is undesirable, too.
- If the trip to the surgery location is too long to make in one day without making yourself sick, make a reservation at a halfway point to stop for the night, and continue traveling the next day. (Choose a hotel with an elevator if possible.)
- If you or a loved one are staying in the area the night before or after the surgery, ask the hospital if any local hotels offer discounts for patients and their families. Some medical facilities even offer special housing for those who must stay in the area for longer-term care. It never hurts to ask!
- Bring an extra pillow to hold to cushion your incision as you ride home.
- Bring small bottles or cans of ginger ale and crackers as well as bags for the car ride home to help with post-surgery nausea.
- Make sure that you have a filled prescription for your painkiller so that it is ready when the medication given to you at the hospital wears off.
- Get the area where you will be recuperating ready ahead of time. Stock it with tissues, reading material, bottled water, flexible straws, etc. (Open the bottles ahead of time if surgery will be in chest/arm/hand area.)
- Pick out some light-hearted shows, books and magazines to enjoy during your recovery, and make the area where you'll be as cheerful as possible.
- It's likely that you'll be less coordinated than usual with all of the extra challenges, so just prepare for that and don't get frustrated with yourself. Keep a roll of paper towels handy, drink your broth out of a sports drink bottle, remove as many hard/sharp obstacles as possible from your path, etc.
- You can become very groggy on painkillers. Keep a notepad and clock beside your bed and be sure to write down what you took and when. (If someone else can help you with this in the early stages, that would be very good.)
- Be sure to consult your doctor about your specific food requirements because they can vary with each condition, but most people do well if they have easy-to-digest items on hand in the days following surgery. Bland foods like crackers, rice, broth, ginger ale, etc. are usually most appealing. Later might come chicken or eggs for protein and then iron-rich foods to help fortify the blood.
- Having a phone within easy reach would be a good idea, especially if you live alone.
- It's okay to say that you're not up to company if people want to visit when you are too tired to have them. Gently let them know you'd love to visit with them when you have a bit more energy. They won't know unless you tell them, and true friends just want to make things easier for you!
We wish you a speedy recovery!
Nothing on this website is intended to take the place of professional medical advice.
Consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.