I thought I would share some tips for before and after surgery tips that have worked for me so far.
1) Eat healthy and stay hydrated
2) follow whatever pre-op surgery instructions you get from the Dr and ask lots of questions. Write down any questions you have before surgery too and bring it with you the day of or call your Dr before hand. Don’t be scared. It’s YOUR surgery and YOUR right to be informed, speak up.
3) If you smoke, try to stop or cut back. You will have a better chance of not developing a lung infection and will heal quicker. Smoking restricts blood flow you will need for healing and causes inflammation. I was a smoker for 28 years. It’s HARD to quit, but worth it if you want to put yourself in remission faster.
4) You may or may not be able to walk after groin surgery. I can walk, but not supposed to cause too much friction on the wounds in my groin and arm. Pay any bills you can by phone, online, or by mail before surgery. You won’t want the added stress after and with all the pain medications. Sign up for something like wal-mart grocery or a delivery program. Wal-mart grocery is a free service, you have to buy $30 or more, and they bring it to your car and load it. This means you would just need to drive and let them bring it to you instead of walking all through the store to get everything. Better yet, give a friend or family gas money to get it for you. Or, in my case, your spouse.
5) If you’re having your wounds left open to heal (see my surgery), buy these items: 4×4 or larger gauze pads. I got Equate antibacterial pads at wal-mart that come in 20 count. Just figure you may need to change each area 2-3 times a day depending on drainage amounts. Get some good surgical tape and disposable gloves to change the dressings with. You will want to buy a mild soap to wash the area once a day unless your Dr says otherwise. Mine said wash with fingers and pat dry once a day. Do not take a bath, shower only in warm water unless told otherwise.
6) I set up an area by my bed to keep wound care items, snacks, beverages, and medications next to me at all times. I also put a small trash can by me. Having a good book, movies, music, games or other fun next to you helps too.
7) for groin surgery, you can buy an item called Go Girl or similar to help you urinate without getting anything on your wounds. It’s like a funnel and you can find it for $10 or less at wal-mart in the camping isle. You can also find cheaper or other brands online. Buy flushable wipe that are fragrance free and pat yourself dry. If you are afraid you won’t make it to the bathroom on your own, you may want to buy a bedside commode or walker. I didn’t have that issue so, I am glad I waited until after surgery to buy anything.
8) I bought a few sleeveless night gowns that are extra large for my size to keep my armpit and groin free. I will tell you I am not able to wear a bra or underwear right now. You may be different. I would buy loose underwear or bras without wires if you really want to wear them.
9) for a woman’s monthly period you can buy a pack of cloth diapers or large sanitary pads and just place them there. It helps so much if you’re not able to wear underwear. Just rinse out and change to a dry, clean one as needed. I bought a bed pad to catch any extra drainage from getting on my bed.
10) Colace is your friend. Buy some unless your dr says otherwise. Pain medications and bed rest can bind you up. Don’t get constipated. Stay hydrated for this issue as well.
What I’ve learned in less than 24 hours after surgery
1) Anaesthesia and pain medications will make you dizzy and nauseous. I was given pain meds to go home with and just 1/2 of a Percocet made me nauseous. That’s just me, though. I even ate before hand and drank plenty of water. I will just be sticking to Tylenol for now. I feel like I have a hangover from all the medication even into the next day.
2) I was pretty numb after surgery and couldn’t feel much pain. The most pain right after surgery was my arm, but pain meds helped with that. The next morning, I am regaining feeling and am a little more sore, but I can still walk and use my arm. I have noticed more pain using my arm and have to just take things slow or ask for help. I can sit, but not for long before it starts hurting. I save sitting for bathroom and eating in bed. I do not sit on hard chairs. I can close my legs, but not cross them without pain. I find laying back with my legs apart or on my side with my knees up helps. I actually thought I had nerve damage because I couldn’t feel, but read they shot me up with lidocaine
3) That first shower and wash may sting and hurt a little. I took a VERY short shower with Dial soap, did NOT let the water hit the wounds head on, and didn’t get the water too hot. I just splashed the water in those areas to remove the soap and lightly touched with fingers. I used a CLEAN towel and patted dry. I then put gauze on right after. If washing your hair, try not to let the soap hit your wounds or wash under the sink if you can. Also, don’t use a rag or anything to wash with. Use just your hands. You don’t want to irritate or damage the area further. I miss soaking in the bath already.
4) we do most of our healing in our sleep. Get plenty of rest if you can. Don’t over do anything. My body will yell at me with pain or dizziness just sitting here when I am over doing things. Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to say no if you are asked to do too much. You’d be surprised at how much people don’t understand what you’re going through and will ask more of you than you should be doing.
5) Make sure to move your legs and body every 2 hours or more. You do not want bed sores or blood clots.
6) my throat was sore the next morning from the intubation. Warm beverages or water helps.
I am sure I will learn more as I heal and I will be sure to share with you any tips I can think of along the way. Just remember to be kind to your body and your body with thank you. We are warriors!