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Life After Surgery Is No Picnic – Unless You Have Help

by Katie Riggs on September 20, 2016

shutterstock_417963976Your doctors were very careful to explain all aspects of your surgery. What you needed to do before. What the surgery itself would involve. How long it would take to recover. You nodded your head. It all sounded so easy.

And it was. Until you got home.

Whether you had a relatively mundane procedure such as gallbladder surgery or something major like a knee or hip replacement, recovery from surgery is never as simple as it sounds before you have your procedure. Regardless of how good your surgeon and nurses are, there is still pain, fatigue, and downtime you have to get through before life gets back to normal.

In a recent Huffington Post blog, writer Debbie Gisonni pointed out some hard realities of post-surgery recovery. We share some of them here:

  1. Your regular wardrobe won’t do. Figure out any wardrobe limitations (if any) prior to surgery so you can have what you need when you need it.
  2. You will need a regular shower. After surgery, you may be unable to do these simple tasks on your own. You’ll need a partner, friend, or healthcare worker to help you. Feeling clean helps you feel better.
  3. You will need to eat clean. Anesthesia and pain meds are hard on your gut. It’s important to restore your gut with clean foods and broths—vegetables, fruit, soups, herbal tea, probiotics, and plenty of water. Depending on the type of surgery you’ve had, you will likely need help with shopping and meal preparation and clean up.
  4. You may get constipated. Have a laxative handy or ask the doctor to prescribe one to take home with you after surgery. No amount of fiber or liquid will do it. Pain meds are often constipating, and you certainly don’t need one more uncomfortable thing going on in your body.
  5. You may get depressed. It’s common to be depressed after surgery. Have a good cry when you feel like it, but then counteract that with something that makes you laugh, like a funny movie. Also, don’t isolate yourself. If friends want to visit, let them. True friends don’t care how you look.
  6. You will need help. It’s important to find out how long you’re going to be incapacitated. That way you can plan to have help in advance. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s the smart thing to do. Friends really do want to help you. Take whatever you can get—cooking, shopping, cleaning, errands.
  7. Consider hiring in-home care. Even with a spouse, partner, lots of friends and relatives, you’re still going to need help while you recover. Despite the loving intentions, all of your folks have busy lives, too! Prior to surgery check out in-home care providers in your community. Some, like At Home Preferred, which provides care across central Indiana, are happy to do a free consultation to determine exactly the type of care you’ll need. Planning ahead also means one less worry after you’re discharged from the hospital. And the less stress you have, the easier your recovery.

Do you have questions about post-surgery in-home care? Contact At Home Preferred. We’re happy to answer your questions.