Surgery can be frightening for the patient and their loved ones, but once the procedure is over, there’s another stage to face which can be just as challenging. The recovery period will vary greatly depending on the circumstances, but in many cases, it can be helped along if certain steps are taken. Some people will find following their recovery plan difficult, but it’s important to follow all the advice you are given and to take care of yourself during the crucial time. To give yourself the best chance of a speedy and straightforward recovery, here are some important points to remember when recovering from surgery.
Stick to your doctor’s instructions
When you are discharged from the hospital, you will be given advice and instructions to follow. It’s important that you take these instructions seriously as they will have been provided for good reason. It may mean you can’t undertake certain physical activities or get your incision wet, or you may need to follow a course of medication and/or physical therapy.
Get plenty of rest
Our bodies need sleep to repair damage and recharge for the next day, so it’s important that you get plenty of rest. Create a comfortable and supportive sleeping environment that will aid in your recovery. You may want to consider investing in a latex or memory foam mattress depending on your medical needs. Compare the pros and cons of latex vs. memory foam mattresses before you make your choice.
Attend all of your follow-up appointments
Make sure you attend all of your follow-up appointments with your doctor. Even if you feel fine, you need to be checked over to ensure that your incision is healing at the expected rate and that you are not developing complications that you aren’t aware of, such as an infection. Your medication may also need to be reassessed on a regular basis.
Protect yourself from infection
Infection can be a major complication after surgery but is also simple to avoid. Wash your hands regularly and especially before you touch your incision.
Take care of your incision
Keep an eye on your incision by checking it multiple times a day. If you notice it is red or pink or there is pus, there may be a problem, and you should ask your doctor to check. If stitches or staples are loose, this is also an issue that needs resolving. Be careful when coughing, sneezing or going to the toilet if you have an incision in your abdomen as this can cause it to reopen. Apply pressure to the wound to prevent it from rupturing. However, you should not stop yourself from coughing as this can lead to severe illnesses like pneumonia. Finally, keep your incision clean according to your doctor’s instructions. In most cases, a gentle cleanse with soap and water is sufficient.
Eat a nutritious diet and stay hydrated
You may not feel very hungry after surgery, but your body needs fuel, i.e. nutrition and water to function at maximum capacity and heal as quickly as possible. You can find information online on the best foods for recovery, as well as those to avoid.
Manage your pain with medication
You need to manage your pain effectively after surgery as if you are in too much pain to cough, move, sleep, or eat you will slow your recovery significantly. Take your medication according to the doctor’s advice. If you feel that the medication is not effective, seek advice from your doctor before increasing the dosage or trying another medication.