Going under the knife, even for minor surgeries, can be a traumatic experience. Even though the surgery itself is life saving, the weeks after the surgery, when your body heals itself, can be painful, frustrating and slow.
Before or during a surgery, one question usually uppermost on the patient’s mind is, “How long before I can get back to my normal self?”
But this question depends on what type of operation you’re going in for. It also depends on what you do after the successful surgery. Applying the following tips can help you get faster better, and back on your feet sooner.
1. Follow the doctor’s instructions: Many times, we unintentionally do the pick, select and discard process when it comes to a doctor’s instruction. We tend to follow only those instructions that appear meaningful to us while discarding those that seem to make no sense.
There is always a good reason for any instruction your doctor gives you and those instructions are ultimately for your own benefit. These instructions can be post-operating instructions given to you by your attending physician before discharge from the hospital. It could also be instructions laid down by your travel care nurse. Whatever the source of the instructions, just know that they are sound and meant for your well being.
2. Eat Right: It is normal to feel nauseous and constipated after a surgical procedure. It is also normal to constantly lose appetite or not to be hungry, but it is very important to eat healthy food. Eating healthy diet and always staying hydrated after a surgery is one of the top tips to speedy healing, reduce complications and getting rid of the aftereffects of surgery anesthesia.
Foods that help with fatigue and aid in the body recovery process are:
- Protein: This helps in wound healing, muscle and skin repair and prevention of hair loss. Ensure that every meal include a good amount of food rich in protein such as chicken, fish and eggs.
- Fiber & Probiotics: Probiotics (Good Bacteria) has a lot of immune system boosting benefits. This combined with ingestible fiber can help boost your immunity and helps in bowel mobility. The ingestible fiber and Probiotics both work together to prevent infection. Increase the raw and cooked vegetables and fruits in your diet.
- Vitamin C: Research has shown that vitamin C and zinc help with healing and body restoration. This means that eating a lot of fruits rich in vitamin C is a great idea. Taking vitamin c supplements will also help your recovery process.
Just as there are foods you need to eat to boost your recovery process, there are also some foods you need to avoid.
- Decrease your sugar consumption: Sugar intake can cause your blood sugar level to fluctuate; it can also suppress the immune system and lead to increase in fatigue. Use glucose as an alternative, it has the added advantage of boosting energy.
- No sports drink: Sports drink is filled with sodium which encourages your body to retain water; this will make it difficult to decrease swelling. Use water to stay hydrated, no sports drink for you
- Reduce salt intake: Salt also encourages your body to retain water. This too can make it hard to reduce swelling, so reduce your salt intake and eat food low in sodium.
- Alcohol: Taking wine 2 or 3 weeks after your operation will increase your need to urinate. This can be helpful for reducing post operation swelling, but make sure you get permission from your physician first before you start taking it. Never mix any alcohol with your prescription drugs, this can have harmful effect on your body and affect your healing process.
3. Keep your appointments: You are feeling better, your skin is healing nicely, why bother keeping your appointment? It’s just an unnecessary waste of time and money, right?
Wrong. Although you feel fine and your incision is healing well, there are other things your physician will need to look for. They may need to do follow up examination, look for infection, and decide if any follow up or change in medication is needed. So skipping your doctor’s appointment is not such a hot idea.
4. Watch your pain: If you are in pain, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. It is important to keep your pain at a tolerable threshold. Some patients are afraid to take pain medications because they are afraid they might get addicted.
However, note that if you are in too much pain and cannot cough, you are at the risk of pneumonia, so take your pain medications regularly as prescribed. You can alternate between cold and heat to lessen your pain; you can also use deep breathing techniques or elevate your incision. If you have a private nurse, call their attention. The faster your pain goes, the faster you can move about.
5. Start moving: Walking might seem like such a simple thing, but walking at least one hour every day can prevent serious complications like DVT (Deep vein thrombosis). It can also prevent constipation and pneumonia.
“Walking is especially important after your procedure; thousands of patients every year are infected with pneumonia because they don’t get enough movement. This let’s bacteria infested mucus accumulate in their lungs,” Says Dr. Mehmet Oz of The Dr. Oz show. Your physician or private care nurse will let you know when you can begin walking after your surgery.
On your path to full recovery after an operation, it is vital you reduce stress to the barest minimum; stress will jeopardize any effort you are making in your recovery process and can also slow down the healing itself. Listen to music, music reduces stress and helps your body produce endorphins or the “feel good “body chemicals.
Once your body is relaxed and stress free, your healing process will be rapid. Even though surgery and the subsequent recovery process can be painful and frightening, adopting the steps above can help you a lot in your recovery process.