A lot of thought and preparation often goes into a planned surgery. You might spend a lot of time arranging for childcare, making sure that you have someone to drive you, and following your doctor’s instructions for preparing yourself to have surgery safely. For example, you might need to start or stop taking a particular medication, not eat after a specific time, and avoid certain foods in the days or weeks leading up to the procedure. You might think that the day of your surgery is the end of your journey, but of course, you must still go through the postoperative healing process. Here are five things to know about healing up after surgery.
Your Body’s Immediate Postoperative Healing Effects
Even before you are awake in your recovery room after your surgery, your body will be doing the work of beginning to heal. Your blood will begin to clot around your incision, and your immune system will send out white blood cells to help protect against infection. On average, it takes about six days for the incision to get through the postoperative healing process, but it begins right away, as soon as you are stitched or stapled up.
Looking at your incision site each day will help you identify any troubling signs before turning into a real problem. For example, if you notice problematic drainage, calling your doctor right away can prevent it from turning into an infection. If you are staying at a surgical recovery center, the staff can help you monitor your wound. They will know what types of drainage and appearances are standard and which could indicate a problem, so you will get the reassurance or the treatment you need faster than if you were alone at home.
Appetite Stimulation After Surgery
You probably had to fast for some time before your surgery, and you might expect to wake up ravenous. However, most of the time, people who have had surgery have a hard time with their digestion for some period. There are a few reasons for this.
- First, you might feel nauseous or not hungry. The medications you had during your procedure can do this to you. So can the procedure itself, depending on what part of your body was worked on.
- Secondly, the anesthesia can cause your digestive system to slow down substantially, leading to bloating, gas, and constipation. Getting up and moving around (more about that in a minute) can help.
- Finally, when you are sore from your surgery, it can be hard to get the food you want and need. To heal properly, you need to eat healthy foods. You might crave easy-to-eat foods like yogurt, soups, and small portions of chicken, eggs, fish, or roasted vegetables. Unless you have someone cooking for you, you might need to get up and prepare these foods yourself, which is problematic. If you stay at a surgery recovery center, this part of the equation will be taken care of for you. At Pearl Recovery Retreat, we have dedicated chefs who will be preparing your meals to help you heal.
Early Postoperative Physical Activity Is a Must
Even if you’ve had a knee or hip replacement surgery, you might be surprised at how quickly your nurses will be asking you to get up and move around. Yes, this can be painful, and no, they are not trying to torture you! Moving around is vital to help with blood circulation and to ward off potentially deadly complications, including deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
Movement is a must yet challenging because it is painful, and someone else’s help is usually needed. After certain surgeries, it is tough to recuperate at home, mainly if you will be alone or have young children who do not understand that your mobility is limited. At Pearl Recovery Retreat, we have the staff available to help you to get around and to encourage you back on your feet as soon as it is safely possible for you.
Postoperative Relaxation Is Vital
Doing too much too soon is a common mistake after surgery. It is natural to feel like you need to get back to your everyday routines, but the fact is, not relaxing can extend your postoperative healing process. Your body needs to rest and get extra sleep to renew tissues that were damaged during your surgery and heal from the physical trauma.
Even if you are physically able to do your job (for example, if you work at a desk), having pain, taking medications, and feeling like you are not on your “A-game” can decrease productivity. It will be better for you and your employer, clients, and customers if you take some time to relax without working if possible.
If you are taking medications, they might have side effects that make it dangerous for you to drive, take care of young children on your own, or take on other responsibilities that generally are not a problem for you. Take your medication as prescribed, and do not try to do anything potentially dangerous while taking them. This is particularly important if you are taking muscle relaxants or narcotic pain medications.
Mental and Physical Health Are Fundamentally Linked, Equally Important
Did you know that stress, anxiety, depression, and isolation can prolong the postoperative healing process of your body and physical health overall? The mind-body connection is strong, and it is essential to take care of your mental health while recuperating from your surgery.
At Pearl Recovery Retreat, we have various treatments and therapies that are excellent for restoring mental health. For example, massage can be both relaxing and rejuvenating. Just having someone to talk to can also go a long way toward alleviating fears or helping you to feel better. Contact us to determine whether Pearl is the right place for you to be during your recovery after your surgical procedure.