Tips To Look After Yourself After a Surgery
Following a post-operative care routine at home is crucial primarily to avoid complications such as blood clots, infections, and lasting pains. Patients can regain strength and recover faster to return to their regular life if they diligently follow the post-operative care recommended by their doctors.
If you are expecting a surgical procedure in the near future, you might be interested in ways to look after yourself and provide yourself with post-operative care so that you can return to your regular life as soon as possible and without any complications.
Below are some tips that will help you look after yourself after undergoing a surgical procedure.
- Hire a Professional
If you don’t have a strong support system and cannot take care of yourself, there are many registered nurses you can hire (beforehand) for post-operative homecare or even advanced practice registered nurses (who can devise and administer your post-operative care). Hiring a nurse would put your mind and body to ease as the nurse could help you bathe (keeping your wound dry), cook for you, keep you company and even run some other errands till you fully recover and can do everything yourself.
If you are a registered nurse (RN) reading this to recommend post-operative care tips to your patients, you might consider converting to an advanced partitioner nurse (RN to APRN) to provide better patient care.
- Stick to Your Healthcare Provider’s Instructions
You won’t get far on the path of your recovery after a surgical procedure without heeding every advice and instruction that your healthcare provider has given you. Take your medication on time as instructed by the doctor and take the right dosage. If you feel pain despite taking the medication, the smart thing to do would be to contact your healthcare provider and consult them regarding a higher dosage. Changing your medication dosage on your own can lead to life-threatening complications.
You will likely have to alter your lifestyle a bit until you fully recover. For example, the doctor might ask you not to lift anything heavy for a while after your surgery. This means you will have to quit the gym for some time and avoid swimming till your wound dries. You must let your body rest and recover by limiting straining activities like running or jogging.
- Keep Up with Follow-Up Appointments
You must make sure to attend your follow-up appointment scheduled with the doctors so they can examine your recovery progress and change any medications if necessary. This will reduce the chances of post-operative complications and lead to faster recovery. If there are any complications, the doctors can catch them early and start treatment without wasting precious time.
- Treat Swelling and Bruising
One of the most common post-op complications or complaints by patients is swelling and bruising around the incision area. This is mainly a part of the wound’s healing process but can be quite uncomfortable and painful for the patients. Although common, you should keep an eye on the swollen or bruised area in case it gets worse. Doctors usually prescribe pain medications and compression garments to increase blood flow and decrease inflammation around the wound.
- Take Good Care of The Incision
No matter how gory you find your surgical incision to be, it is crucial that you keep an eye on it to monitor the healing process. Keep the area clean and dry to avoid infection, and keep an eye out for any swelling, bruising, or drainage. Make sure the staples or stitches are always intact, and note the color of the incision, whether it is pink or red. If you feel any irritation or notice any change at the site of the incision, you should visit or call your doctor to seek their advice. Moreover, it is important that you change the gauze over your incision regularly to avoid an infection.
- Eat Healthily
It is common for patients to lose their appetite after undergoing surgery, but it is important that you eat healthily and often to fasten your healing process and minimize any common post-op complications. You should eat fruits and vegetables often to help you retain important minerals and vitamins. Vegetables like carrots, beetroot, turnips, spinach, and broccoli help increase hemoglobin levels, making up for any blood loss you might have suffered during or before the surgery.
- Stay Hydrated
It would help if you kept yourself hydrated following a surgical procedure because drinking water will help you flush out the anesthesia and medications out of your system faster. It also helps you retain important minerals that keep your energy levels up. Plus, you can avoid post-op urinary tract infections by drinking lots of water.
- Move Around
While the doctor might instruct you to go easy on your body after a surgical procedure, with your doctor’s advice, do not hesitate to move a little and get some non-straining exercise. Walking inside your house will help you keep your body active and avoid complications like deep vein thrombosis and blood clots. It is also a way to return to your daily routine faster.
- Keep Yourself Comfortable
While recovering from your surgery, it is your right to seek comfort in everything. Hence, you should wear comfortable, airy clothes that don’t rub up against your uncomfortable and often sensitive incision. Keep yourself surrounded with comfortable pillows and a warm duvet, and arrange for a comfortable snack before your surgery. Make sure you keep these snacks near you, so you don’t have to get up too often.
You should also ask your doctor to prescribe the medications you will need after surgery before getting the procedure done so that you can get enough of them beforehand. Otherwise, you might find yourself struggling to get your prescription filled after the procedure.
Recovery after surgery can be hard and frustrating, especially if you do not have someone you can rely on for post-operative care, in which case it would be best to hire a professional nurse. However, you need to be patient and give your body time to heal without causing any strain.
Hopefully, these tips have prepared you and helped you plan right for your post-operative care. Just remember to take it easy and pay heed to your doctor’s instructions.