Sunday, June 2, 2013

My tips for TOS surgery recovery

-Pain meds. Be SURE you have enough pain meds before you leave the hospital to last at the very least one to two weeks...but preferably longer. Do not leave the hospital without sufficient pain meds for your recovery-which I have heard of happening. I also highly recommend nausea meds. (Zofran)

-My surgeon recommended B vitamins to help with nerve healing.

-Both my kids who had resections and myself all lived and slept in the recliner for the first couple weeks. *Make sure the footrest handle is on the opposite side of the side you are getting resected-you will not be able to maneuver a lever with your resected arm! Laying flat was difficult. A wedge pillow is nice, or at the very least lots of pillows to prop yourself up in bed or on the couch!

-Have a notepad and pen handy to write down every time you take any med, and also write down the next time you can take that med. Trust me, this is a good idea!

-Freezer meals, and lots of easy snacks- plan ahead meals for at least two weeks, longer of you can.

-Have movies to watch, books to read stocked up. My daughter says not movies that are too funny because laughing hurts for a couple weeks postop.  My son played video games for two weeks postop, which I think got him moving his hand more. You will be naturally tired, your body is working really hard while you heal and meds may add to that tiredness. But you need to take it easy and if you have tv, movies, video games, magazines, or books its a nice distraction.

-Lemon water, real lemon juice-two-three tablespoons in a glass of water, hot or cold as often as you can is good for keeping kidneys working with all the meds you will need for a while. Lots of liquids are important for healing.

-Magnesium capsules, helps keep your bowel movements naturally regular and is also a natural muscle relaxant. Constipation from pain meds is common, so stool softeners, drink smoothies with added ground flax or citrucel, whatever helps keep things moving.

-A speaker phone, or earpiece for your phone so you don't have to hold the phone up to your head.

-Help. If you can line up help with housework and even with showering and personal assistance for a few weeks you will be glad you did. At a minimum get help for the first week at home even if it's just someone checking on you once a day.

-Loose button or snap front shirts, easy pull-on pants, slip on shoes. Loose zipup exercise jacket with front pockets-in case you leave hospital with drain or morphine pump you can stick it in the pocket. Three weeks postop I bought a strapless tube bra at Walmart for $5 so I had enough support to feel comfortable leaving the house. I highly recommend the strapless bra by Marena.

-A driver. If you have follow-up appointments postop, you will not be driving for a minimum of two weeks, I couldn't drive for several weeks postop.

-Ice packs. Bags of frozen peas in a ziplock or a ziplock bag with 1 cup water and 4 tablespoons rubbing alcohol make good ice packs.

-Easy hair. I do not recommend pony tails as that tilts the head forward when you are resting, also hard to put up with one hand.

-I found a shower seat at a yard sale, it was very handy the first couple times I showered postop as I was SO tired.

-A squeeze bottle filled with water to squirt clean yourself after using the bathroom, or moist wipes.

-An arm sling- for when you leave the house to protect yourself from people who may want to hug you, and to keep you from overtaxing your arm if you are out and about.

-My daughters recommendation, a handheld shower sprayer, makes it a lot easier to shower especially if you don't have a lot of help.

-Tv tray to keep drinks, remote, beverages close at hand.

-Avoid sneezing at all costs for a few weeks-plug your nose, avoid sneezing triggers!

-Do not carry or lift anything remotely heavy. Break things down to smaller sizes, half gallons of milk or smaller, single servings.

-Do not allow pets to jump up on your chest postop, get help with pet care for a couple weeks if you can.

-An alarm, to wake you to take medication on time. You do not want to oversleep and miss a pain med dose and wake up in agony!

-Chocolate of some kind...very soothing :)

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