Any major surgery is a shock to your body’s equilibrium. You’ve not only endured an invasive procedure, you’ve also been anaesthetized, “put to sleep” which has consequences of its own. Your body now needs to be well taken care of and following the tips below can help speed your healing process.
Follow Doctor’s Directions
Be sure to follow all the post-operative instructions given to you by your doctor. You may feel that the instructions are more like suggestions—things to do if you begin to feel poorly after the surgery. But that isn’t the case. Each and every direction should be followed carefully, because if you don’t, you’re increasing the risk of delaying healing time. For instance if you’re asked to avoid lifting for a period of time, your doctor knows you will avoid problems such as torn stitches, or increased internal bleeding. If you fail to rest you could end up with infections, and if you fail to get up and walk at the proscribed times, you may stay weak and heal less quickly.
Eat Right for Quicker Recovery
Your body has been through a stressful time. Giving it the proper nourishment will also aid in healing. In particular, be sure to eat enough protein such as low fat chicken or fish and include eggs. Vitamin C and zinc are also known to aid in healing so be sure to eat enough fruit. Vitamin B12 and iron are also important and will be found in fish and eggs. Avoid sugary treats which can cause fatigue and fluctuations in your blood sugars and avoid high sodium products as sodium will inhibit the body’s process to decrease swelling caused by surgeries.
Keep Your Follow-up Appointments
Even if your healing process seems to be going well, be sure to keep your follow-up appointments with your doctor. He or she may want to change your medications or treatments based on what they find upon examining you post-surgery. Don’t risk causing a delay in your speedy healing.
Get Plenty of Rest
You’ll probably want to get a full night’s sleep and take several naps a day after surgery. But if you’re one of those people who wants to “get up and at’em” refrain from doing that too soon after a major surgery. Follow the doctor’s orders and don’t go back to full-time work or activity for the recommended number of weeks.
Ask For Help
This is harder for some people than others. Women in particular may be used to doing all the tasks around the house and fail to ask for help when necessary. Don’t be afraid to let family members and friends step in to take care of daily tasks and especially ask for help if larger tasks need doing.
Get Moving, but Take Care
Your doctor will have given you a schedule for movement. Even if your surgery was quite serious and you’re required to take it easy for six or more weeks, you’ll still need to get up and walk several times a day. Be sure to follow these orders as walking will prevent blood clots and get your system regular again. Moving according to the doctor’s orders can prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and pneumonia as well.
Practice Safe Wound Care and Prevent Infections
It is very important to carefully wash hands both before and after wound care. Take whatever antibiotics have been prescribed and use soap and water of hand sanitizer regularly while caring for your wounds. Refrain from using lotions or ointments unless they’ve been prescribed. They can create a breeding ground for bacteria.
Do Control Your Pain
The healing period after a major surgery is no time to be stoic and endure a lot of pain. Your healing process will unfold more rapidly if you manage your pain before it becomes a problem. So take your pain medications on a regular basis and drink plenty of fluids to counteract any dehydration or constipation that ensues.
You may find that reading an interesting book or listening to music may move your attention away from the pain and reduce your stress levels.
In general, be aware that major surgery has been a trauma to your body and now it’s time to take good care of yourself. Follow the guidelines given you by your health care professionals and nurse yourself back to optimal health.