Post-Operative Care

You may be tired post-operatively and require help getting into and out of bed for at least the first week. It is very helpful if someone can stay with you during the first week to cook, bring you things, help with compression stockings, help you shower and shampoo your hair, do laundry, etc. Many people get a baby monitor so that they can communicate easily with each other. After the first week post-operatively, you may only need someone to come for a short period twice a day, to do little things like help with pets, bring in mail and for the help with compression stockings. Churches and charitable organizations often have volunteers willing to assist people after surgery.

A cleaning person is helpful during the early weeks. The sheets will need to be changed quite frequently and you will definitely not be capable of cleaning the house. A lawn service may also be helpful as you won’t be able to complete regular yard responsibilities. Make a list ahead of time of all the places that deliver meals and possibly groceries. Some stores will take call-in grocery orders, which they will gather for someone to pick up. This greatly reduces the time required of the person doing your shopping.

Most people clearly state that they preferred to be alone in the early period post-operatively. This often seems unbelievable to loving family and friends who want to dote, and neighbors who feel you crave company. This is not a time to err on the side of being polite. If it is difficult for you to assert yourself with visitors, make a pact with a family member. Employ them to usher people out at your signal, or have them help you excuse yourself to go rest. You will be exhausted post-operatively, and sitting for any length of time is painful and unadvisable. Ask your comrade to encourage guests to return in several weeks when you will be feeling much stronger, able to sit for longer periods and ready for some diversion.

Most insurance companies will allow you to have in home health care. These nurses and nurse’s aids can assist you with showering and incision care. Taking your first shower is a learning experience, often somewhat frightening and requires competent personnel. Dr. Swanson routinely discharges patients with home health care nursing and physical therapy.

You will sleep better at night if you haven’t spent the whole day in bed. Be sure to have a change of scenery. Get up and move about regularly, reserve bed for naps and times you just cannot get comfortable anywhere else. Get some fresh air on an appropriate chair outdoors if the season allows. You may find you sleep better if you aren’t sharing a bed with someone in the early post-operatively days. Fear of protecting your leg from someone moving in the night may keep you awake. The person sharing your bed will probably sleep better if they aren’t on guard for your well being and listening to you rustling about trying to get comfortable. They will also be able to help a lot more if they aren’t worn out themselves from lack of sleep.

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