When you hear “surgery” your heart races as you go through all the scary, unknowns and wonder how long you are going to be off of your feet. This is a justifiable reaction, but I hope you can take comfort in that you control your recovery.
Although surgeries vary, all patients must take preparation and postoperative care seriously. If you have surgery scheduled, have no worries. The following tips for before and after surgery action will ensure you experience a quick and healthy recovery that will bring you back to your normal day-to-day life before you know it.
Adjust your medication and supplement use
Give your doctor a list of the prescribed and over the counter medication, herbs, supplement, and vitamins you take. Certain medications can have an adverse effect on recovery time and how you react to anesthesia.
Depending on the medication or supplement, you may have to stop 10 to 14 days before the surgery and 7 days afterward as well.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, smoking before surgery increases one’s risk of heart attacks, blood clots, pneumonia, and death. Smoking also complicates anesthesia, takes wounds longer to heal, and makes your vessels narrow and hard (vascular constriction), all of which lengthen recovery. General surgeon Dr. Kevin EI-Hayek said: “The longer you abstain from smoking, the better your chances of a healthy recovery.”
Drinking alcohol before surgery will weaken your immune system, which slows recovery. A German study compared two groups of mice, one that had alcohol before surgery and one that had not. After the surgery, the mice were infected with pneumonia. The study found that the mice that had alcohol had greater lung damage and more severe pneumonia symptoms than the control group.
Don’t Tough It Out
Before leaving the hospital, create a pain control plan with your doctor that addresses how much pain medicine to take and when to take it.
Do not stray from that plan. If you wait pain out, you will need much more medication to get your symptoms under control. Sticking to the medication schedule your doctor has for you, will guarantee you have an enjoyable and manageable recovery.
Do not push yourself too hard while your body is trying to recover. This includes avoiding heavy lifting and limiting activity to what your doctor recommends or the exercises that your physical therapist organizes.
Once you are on your feet, short walks between rest will prevent blood clots and keep your bowels are moving. Being active will prevent complications that follow surgery, such as pneumonia or deep vein thrombosis.
A healthy diet after surgery keeps your immune system strong enough to combat bacteria and viruses during recovery.
- Fruits and vegetables: antioxidants improve your immune system.
- Eggs, chicken, fish, nuts, and beans: protein promotes healing and recovery.
- Granola and yogurt: fiber and probiotics support your immune system and promote bowel movement
You should avoid foods that cause inflammation, such as sugar, trans fat, saturated fat, white flour, and refined carbohydrates.
Following surgery, proper wound care prevents infection, which is key to a quick and hassle-free recovery. Your doctor will give you instructions on when to remove your bandage and how to keep your wound clean and dry as well as other accommodations needed to ensure your wound heals correctly.
Surgery may be an intimidating process, but when you take the necessary steps to care for yourself, recovery is no longer a source of stress. Remember, you are not alone. One of the perks of surgery is that other people get to look after you, so once you leave the hospital make sure your friends or family can help you to recover. CaregiverAsia also has a great, qualified pool of caregivers who are ready to act as care companions throughout your recovery.
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