It’s been two weeks since my surgery and recovery is continuing to go well. This is the first time I’ve had a major surgery, so I don’t know if my experience is typical or not, but I’ve been surprised at how energetic I’ve been feeling.
The first four or five days after the surgery were the ones where I was most incapacitated. My ability to sit up from a reclining position, get in and out of bed, and up from a seated position on the couch were uncomfortable and best done with help. Despite having only small incisions, they were nonetheless incisions, and my abdominal muscles weren’t up for any challenge. Walking is best done slowly, but I’ve continued to go for walks every day.
My advice for anyone who lives alone and is going through something similar is to get a friend or family member to stay with you for the first week. Getting help as I changed positions and to bring me items I needed (such as water refills, tea, medicines, etc.) so I didn’t have to get up and down so much was a true blessing. All of this help was provided by my boyfriend M, and he also did housework I requested, too. 🙂
The slight respiratory irritation that I thought was a cold went away after a few days. It was suggested to me that it was likely due to the anesthetic. I’ll add not getting a cold to my list of things for which I’m grateful.
I was discharged with prescriptions for Tramadol and hydrocodone for pain, and told I could take them both within a few hours of each other, if needed. While I did fill the Tramadol, I didn’t end up taking any as the dose I took before leaving the hospital seemed to make me itchy. It’s possible the itchiness appeared because I mixed the Tramadol with hydrocodone (the drive home with the stop at the pharmacy left me feeling so uncomfortable that I took a hydrocodone after I arrived home), but either way I didn’t want to risk the allergic reaction getting worse and discontinued using it.
Most of the time I just took ibuprofen for the pain/discomfort, probably once or twice a day. But after about five or six days of recovery I started feeling some occasional sharp pains near the incisions and took a hydrocodone before bed those nights. I’m seeing the doctor this coming Friday and will ask about those pains. I’m thinking they’re just a normal part of the healing process since they weren’t severe and prolonged, nor did I have any other symptoms like bleeding or swelling.
The most uncomfortable part of the recovery has actually been having my bladder and bowels heal, quite frankly. The doctor said it could take up to six weeks for my bowels to get back to normal, and considering how messed up they were I’m thinking that may be the case. I’m taking stool softener so everything moves through without any strain and that’s been helping quite a bit.
Being on short term disability for the weeks immediately after surgery is a necessity. Even though I work in a sedentary job, the extra sleep and lack of work stress is something I need to fully heal. My sister was surprised that I qualify for six weeks of short term disability and she thought it sounded excessive. As I reflect on my work history, I haven’t been off work for this long *ever* and I’ve worked since I was 15. That’s quite a long time to work without taking more than two weeks off at a time, and I’m determined to use this break exactly as intended: to heal and get stronger for the coming year ahead.