The prospect of undergoing surgery is a scary one, especially when it’s a serious procedure. There’s not just the risks that come with the surgery to worry about, but also your recovery to think of. Whether you’re booked in for a planned procedure or you’ve been rushed into hospital for an emergency one, it’s natural to feel nervous. Undergoing surgery is, of course, a big deal and you have every right to feel anxious about the procedure itself, as well as your recovery.
While there isn’t anything you can do about the procedure itself, what you can do is make your recovery as quick and easy as possible. To do this, it’s essential that you know how to take care of yourself properly. As well as knowing when to ask for help, if you need it. To help make your recovery after a serious medical procedure easier, here are some useful tips and advice. Take these on board and you can ensure that your recovery is as quick and painless as possible.
Don’t ignore your doctor’s orders
This might sound strange, but you’d be surprised at how many patients ignore their doctor’s orders. If your doctor advises you not to do something, such as go swimming until your incision has healed, don’t go swimming. There’s a reason your doctor has said not to do something, so listen to them and don’t do it. Unless, of course, you want your body to heal more slowly or develop and infection, if so, feel free to ignore your doctor’s advice. Be smart about your recovery and listen to your doctor and you’ll be back on your feet more quickly.
Attend all follow-ups
After spending weeks in hospital, it’s the last place you want to go back to. Even so, don’t skip your follow-up appointments. There’s a reason your doctor has set up follow-ups for you – to see how you’re getting on and to ensure that you’re healing properly. You might think that you’re healing fine, but there are signs you may not notice that your doctor will pick up on. It might be annoying to have to go back to the hospital again, but it’s essential that you do, to ensure that your recovery is going as well as it could be.
Get help if you need it
If you’re struggling to look after yourself at home, consider getting some professional help. Whether you need help getting dressed or ensuring that you’re taking all of your medicines, it can be worth getting some help. There are specialist nurses who are able to come into your home and help take care of you while you heal. You may not like the idea of having to rely on someone else to look after you, but it may be necessary. You can get info from Home Assist about the ins and outs of hiring professional help to aid your recovery. Don’t be embarrassed if you need help with things like showering. You’re recovering from a serious procedure; it’s natural to need a little help.
Know how to look after your scar
Where the surgery was performed, you’ll have a scar. In the early days after surgery, this is prone to infection and so, needs specialist care. Unless you want to develop an infection, it’s essential that you know how to look after your incision properly while it heals. The most important thing is to always wash your hands before touching the affected area and to ensure that you regularly change the dressing. The best way to clean the incision is with warm salt water or mild soap and water. Don’t bath for the first few weeks, instead stick to showers. If you notice any soreness or leaking around your incision, consult your doctor immediately, as this could be a sign of infection.
Eat well and drink lots of water
After surgery, it’s common not to feel like eating or drinking much. However, it’s essential that you try to eat well and drink plenty of water. Ideally, you want to be eating healthy, nutritious foods, to help aid your recovery. However, it’s okay to eat whatever you fancy, be it pizza or soup – the important thing is that you’re eating. Aim to eat lots of foods high in protein, as protein is essential when your body is trying to heal. As well as eating properly, make sure to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Often, post-operative medications can leave you dehydrated, so it’s essential to drink lots of water each day. Buy yourself a water bottle and aim to refill it at least three times a day.
Keep your pain under control
Whether you’re a fan of painkillers or not, take the medicine that your doctor has prescribed. A lot of people skip their pain medicine because they don’t like the idea of taking it constantly. However, doing this can make your recovery harder. When you’re in pain, you can’t sleep, which is the body’s best healer. You also struggle to move around, which can make the healing process longer again. Don’t just take your painkillers when the pain gets bad, take them constantly, to prevent the pain from becoming unbearable. The last thing you want is to be in agony while waiting for your pain medication to kick in. So do as you’re told and take your medicine – you’ll feel better for it.
Obviously, after major surgery, you can’t go out for a jog or hit the gym, but it’s important to be as active as possible. In the first few days it might be too painful, but in time, it will get easier. Start off walking for just a couple of minutes and then slowly build up to doing more and more activity. Don’t do anything strenuous as this could damage your incision – make walking your activity of choice.
Recovering from a serious procedure is never a nice experience, but you can make it easier for yourself by being smart about it. By following the tips and advice above, you can ensure that you heal as quickly as possible.