Pretty much, it’s all a big haze. People come to visit you and you barely remember who came. Don’t be concerned about being hungry. You won’t be. Just pay attention to the nurse who tells you how to operate the pain killer button. It will become your best friend. Also, you will only be able to eat ice chips. Below is a day by day progression of my recovery, but everyone heal differently. So do not use this as an exact benchmark for your recovery, but it can help you to understand what comes next.
Day One: You are still in a haze, but better. Your diet consists of clear liquids like broth, gelatin, apple juice, decaffeinated tea . Depending on how you feel, they may take you off the pain-killer and take the catheter out. What? No more pain-killer?! Not the good stuff that you just push a button for, but they may put you on something like a high milligram of Motrin. It’s also important that you try to start walking around. Take your time,you don’t have to go far, but the more you walk and move, the better your recover. When you go to the bathroom, you may notice some blood. This is normal.
You will notice inflatable compression devices on your legs. Inflatable compression sleeves are used to help prevent blood clots from forming. When you go to the bathroom or a walk, put them back on. Blood clots are serious and can cause death. Yes, it’s a pain to take them off and on because you have to ask someone to do it, but it can save your life.
You will also be asked to use a volumetric exerciser. A Volumetric Exerciser, or spirometer, is a post-operative recovery apparatus used most commonly after major abdominal and chest surgery to restore and strengthen lung functioning. It trains the lungs to increase inspiratory volume through a series of deep breathing sessions. The user gradually improves respiratory fitness by inhaling forcefully through a breathing tube attached to a clear plastic device that measures the volume of each inspiration. Each deep breath helps to reach and expand the small air sacs in the lungs. Use it several times a day. http://www.livestrong.com/article/469262-instructions-for-volumetric-exercisers/
Day Two: They may have asked you about nausea and today it may hit you like a ton of bricks. Call the nurse and they will add a bag to your IV that will help with the nausea. Again, continue to walk in the halls of the hospital. You may be asking about solid foods. I know, because the broth is not the best tasting meal you’ve had. The doctors will not put you on solid foods until you pass gas. You’ll feel the gas rumbling in your stomach and it will feel like it’s pushing on your incision. Be patient and don’t force it, you’ll hurt your abdomen trying to push something out. You can ask the nurse for something to relieve the gas pain.
The nurses and doctors are also going to want to measure the amount of urine you expel in a “hat”. It sits inside the toilet and you urinate directly into it. Once you do, just alert the nurse and they will take care of the rest. Ideally, they want you to urinate in this every time you go into the bathroom.
Now that you are up and walking around, you’ll notice your stomach. It’s huge like you are 4 months pregnant! You will start to wonder if they took something out or put something in. It’s very sensitive to the touch and you baby your stomach at every pass. It takes a while for it to go down (about 2-3 months). Even after that, it’s still sensitive. This is why it’s important for you to move around.
Day Three. You pass gas and all you can think about is solid food. Be sure to tell the doctor and nurses and they will put in the order for solid food. Once you eat, you may have a bowel movement. Be careful because when it happens you will think you are passing gas and it will be watery in the beginning. Also at this time you should be walking around a bit more and there is a possibility you may be able to go home.
Going Home. The hospital will not release you unless you have someone to come and pick you up so make sure you have a contact handy that can get you. The nurse will give you discharge papers and give you directions on what to do once you get home.
- If you are recovering pretty well, they will tell you to get over the counter Motrin. If not, your doctor will prescribe you with a different pain-killer
- Do not lift anything for at least 4 weeks.
- Do not have sex or insert anything into your vagina (including tampons) for at least two weeks.
- When taking a shower, use plain soap like Dove or Dial that isn’t scented. Don’t rub on the incision, just let warm water run over it for a short period of time. Dap the area dry
- Wear loose-fitting clothes (see packing list)
This is what was removed from me. I call her Fiona. She’s a big girl!