Recovery is not easy. Even if you aren’t tired or groggy from your procedure, there may be an itching desire to get back into your old routine, to sink back into your old life and forget the surgery happened. However, most procedures need at least a few days to a few weeks or months in order to properly recover. In the days following your surgery, learn what you should do to help with a full recovery.
If you’re unsure, ask! Your time with your provider is your time to become prepared. Your surgeon can help walk you through the days following the surgery and let you know what medications are needed and when, any dietary restrictions and how much rest is needed a day. Even if recovery is short, it never hurts to bring a pen and paper.
Know Your Limits
Ask your provider what you can and cannot do. This includes driving, walking, or use of your arms and hands. This is also a good time to learn about pain management and how to detect complications from your procedure. Take these signs and warnings seriously. Even if you have to arrange transportation to your provider, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Make a Plan
You will need a follow-up appointment, so schedule one right away. Additionally, not only will you need to mark your calendar, but you may need to decide who can support you over the next few days. Will there be someone with you each day, or will your support network be at work or school during the day? Do you have access to someone who can drive to pick up groceries and other necessities? Who will take over your typical household responsibilities such as making dinner and managing pets or children? If possible, try to cook extra meals and stock up on supplies. Then, in the days to come, make a plan with your support network if you are in need of extra care.
Prepare Your Space
Create a comfy layer for the days following your surgery. Consider things like whether you will be able to use the stairs, how easily you can get to the bathroom and if your space is wheelchair/crutch/cast friendly. If needed, ask a friend to help prepare your home.
Consider Your Activities
If bed rest is encouraged or you cannot drive following your surgery, it would do well to think of how you will pass the time. The added stress of Cabin Fever is not a welcome feeling. Before your procedure, stock up on books or single-person games. This could be the time to binge that show you’ve wanted to see, or that free afternoon to start drawing again. You may not be able to go out, but why not bring the whole family in? Remember to plan beyond the basic necessities like food and water, but to consider recreational activities.
Resuming Your Routine
You will hear this from your provider many times: take it slow. There is no deadline for a full recovery. In fact, taking extra time will help ensure you can get back into your routine. If needed, don’t be afraid to ask for more time off work, or work from home. If you walk to practice any kind of exercise, start small and work your way back up.
In addition, stick to your provider’s post-surgery instructions carefully. If physical therapy is recommended, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment and make a plan with your physical therapist. In the hands of great providers, you can make sure your recovery goes smoothly.
Need help with planning? Ask your surgeon or take a look at our aftercare tips to create the best possible recovery for you. MSA is here to help you not only before, but after your procedure to help ensure its success.