Here are the Top 10 Things I Learned from Open Surgery, when laparoscopic turned out not to be enough to remove a 10cm cyst (I had the cyst and the right ovary removed).
1. Since it started with laparoscopic, I had all the CO2 pumped into me that had to be processed, post-op. Lots of belching. Lots. That lasted about a week. Super sexy.
2. Hydrate yourself like a mo-fo. I didn't eat the day before surgery - no appetite - and you can't eat or drink anything after midnight the night before, so you're going to be incredibly dehydrated. That, paired with the narcotics = horrendous constipation (and more bloating! Bonus!).
3. Suppositories are your friends. With abdominal surgery, the last thing you want to be doing is, uh, straining. If it's just not happening, take the plunge, so-to-speak. My dear husband went to Walgreen's and bought me Dulcolax *** plugs and prunes and didn't balk. That's a good man. I opted for the suppository over a laxative, fearing painful cramping and panicked peristalsis, when really I just needed to gently start the process. It worked - fast and fairly comfortable - and I only needed the one dose to get on the road back to regularity.
4. Keep hydrating - you have to flush the anesthesia out of your system. For me, Low Tolerance Lucy, it felt like it took a few days. Jasmine green tea was very soothing and hydrating - am now addicted.
5. Peeing and pooping will hurt, before, during and after you go, but that's what the narcotics are for. Just breathe through it and then take a nap.
6. Speaking of narcotics, see if you can get something better than vicodin. Vicodin must be the scrapple of pain killers. I felt awful when I took it. Within a few days I started using codeine fizzies - effervescent codiene/acetaminophen tablets from the U.K. A milder pain killer, but isn't nauseating and doesn't make me feel icky.
7. If you have a recliner chair, you'll probably sleep better in that the first few days or so - getting into and out of bed will be difficult, and you'll be up a couple of times a night to pee. With all the swelling, your bladder feels full fairly often, and that hurts, which wakes you up. Your spouse won't get any sleep either. The chair is easier.
8. If you're like me, you may not have much of an appetite and may also have lingering nausea. I no longer drink soda, but Coke Zero was a huge help. Oatmeal & cream of wheat with a little honey (honey is a natural laxative, btw), mild chicken soup w/ busted up cappellini noodles or orzo (the protein in the pasta is helpful), whole wheat toast (yay fiber!)... you get the idea.
9. Move as much as you can, but listen to your body and nap, nap, nap, nap, nap. Moving around often helps your body process the drugs and helps minimize scar tissue. The sooner you're up & about, the sooner you're fully recovered. But don't overdo it... obviously. Baby steps. I was in pretty good shape before all this happened, and I felt like I was starting over from scratch. I got winded just shuffling through the house. But I felt 100% in a week, then another 100% the following week, and now three weeks later, I'm walking around the neighborhood, grocery shopping, doing light household chores - and also still napping. Still not back to normal, but pretty close.
10. Vitamin C. As soon as you're eating anything, pop the vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C is the foundational building block of all connective tissue - skin, tendons, collagen - all that stuff. And it speeds healing. I took two 1000mg tablets with each meal - 6-8 grams a day. It can also help with the constipation - magnesium, too. I didn't take any of my other usual supplements - thought there was enough going on - just the C and magnesium. The supplements + the heating pad = fairly fast recovery. The heating pad increases circulation to the important parts - good stuff. And wonderfully soothing/relaxing.
BTW, if you ask your post-op nurse about supplements, don't be surprised if she knows nothing about them or thinks 5-6 vitamin/mineral supplements a day is "a lot!" In my drunken post-op haze, I was chatting up the nurse and told her what I take every day (multi, C, magnesium, co-q10, b-complex, and D) and she said "That's a lot!" Um, no, no it isn't. It's hardly any, and I don't remember the last time I had a bad cold or flu or any cold or flu for that matter, but, you know, I'm not a doctor.
You're on your own as far as alternative healing/health information goes, but Dr. Mercola & Dr. Weil's websites have lots of good info. Also helpful, the book Ascorbate (easily found on Amazon) and Linus Pauling's book Live Longer & Feel Better (all about the benefits of vitamin C).
It gets better every day, that's for sure. Stay positive & laugh a lot - that's good physical therapy. Good luck, ladies!
I hear you... Everyone is different... I was able to go home the same day - I really wanted to, but I didn't have to. I just wanted to sleeeeeeep, and you just can't sleep in the hospital. I think if you can make it home, try for it - I think it helps.
With the pain killers working, I was able to be up & out of bed to use the bathroom, shuffle to the couch and around the house as needed right from the start. But if the pain killers wear off... ohhhh jebus - don't let that happen.
I took 250-500mg of magnesium a day - more is probably ok - it can definitely help with the constipation - once everything is moving again, consistently, then the standard supplement of 250mg should be good.
Might sound like a no-brainer, but avoid alcohol and sugar while recovering. Both cause an inflammatory response in the body, and that area is already very inflamed. Keep inflammation to a minimum & that helps healing.
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