Helpful hints to aid your recovery following Surgery
This web- page has been produced to give you general information about your recovery. It is not meant to replace the discussion between you and your doctor, but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with the doctor who has been caring for you.
Many people are surprised at the length of time it takes to get over an operation even if it is fairly minor, but time, nature and a bit of determination are usually effective.
Do not be afraid to ask for advice, however small your worry may seem. A few words can often save a lot of anxiety.
Most people feel rather tired and insecure when they first go home and are frustrated by not feeling able to do all the things they want. Do not worry if this happens to you as it is quite normal. Instead, make a plan for yourself of gradually increasing the things you do by yourself over the following weeks.
It is often helpful to plan a ‘rest time’ during the day when you can be undisturbed. On the whole, resting on your bed rather than in a chair is more relaxing. If possible, let your friends and relatives know when you will be resting so that they will not disturb you during this time.
Adequate pain control is essential to help you recover following your surgery.
Take suitable pain killers at home, which have been advised by your doctor.
All wounds progress through several stages of healing and you will be able to see changes in your wound. The following points are normal and are frequently experienced:
1. Unusual sensations such as tingling, numbness or itching.
2. A slightly hard lumpy feeling as the new tissue forms
3. Slight pulling around the stitches as the wound heals
Remember – do not pull off any scabs as they protect the new tissues underneath and act as ‘nature’s dressing’. They will fall off without any help when ready.
Remember-gentle massage around the wound will stop the new tissue ‘sticking’ to the underlying structures, particularly if your wound lies over a hard surface such as bone.
Seek help if-the amount of pain in your wound increases, if the amount of redness and / or swelling increases and if there is any discharge from your wound.
The sort of movements that can cause discomfort are bending or stretching (e.g. reaching high or low shelves), lifting heavy weights (including small children), and pushing or pulling (such as vacuuming or mowing the lawn). Similarly, standing for long periods (eg. washing up or cleaning vegetables) can be tiring.
If help is available for the first one or two weeks after discharge it is very useful.
There is no rule about the time at which you can resume your usual sexual relationships. As a rough guide, by the time you are ready to go back to work this activity can be resumed, although some people will feel ready earlier.
Ask for advice if your operation is related to this area or if you are concerned about resuming your usual contraceptive methods (especially the pill).
Work and exercise
The time at which you can return to work depends on both the type of operation you have had and what the job is. It is better to feel completely well before you return as many people feel tired and find concentration difficult to start with. More specific advice can be given either by the hospital staff or your local surgery.
If you take regular exercise, swim or attend a gym ask your doctor for advice for when you can resume these activities.
The time at which you can safely start driving varies a great deal with the type of operation you have had. Ask for specific advice from your care team, but do remember that your movement and strength must be up to coping with an emergency stop as well as normal driving. Also some drugs affect concentration especially strong pain killers.
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