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The 6 Best Ways to Regain Independence after Surgery

In Home Care for Aging Parents

Imagining the post-surgery road to recovery can be daunting and frightening. How long will recovery take? Will I ever regain full independence? These are questions that everyone asks before major medical procedures. The answers, however, depend largely on the individual. Fast post-surgical recovery will require dedication as you take charge of your health. Here are 6 key steps to regain independence quickly after surgery.

Follow instructions

This includes the instructions you receive both before and after surgery. For example, pre-operative instructions generally include dietary restrictions (with at least several hours before surgery with no food or drink), and some changes to your daily medications. You will likely be asked not to take certain blood pressure medications or blood thinners, for example. Failure to pay attention to these instructions could cause complications during surgery, leading to a longer and more painful recovery.

Watch your diet

The powerful anesthetics given before and during surgery do more than put you to sleep; they also affect your body’s major organ systems, most notably the digestive tract. Put simply, anesthesia puts your digestive tract to sleep along with your brain, and it’s slow to wake up. This is why your first meals after most surgeries must be very light foods and liquids that won’t put unnecessary stress on your stomach and intestines. Though it can be tempting to cheat, it’s best to take it slow. Once again, be sure to listen to the guidance of your doctor and nurses.

Stick to your post-operative rehab plan (even when it hurts)

The quickest way to figuratively get “back on your feet” is to literally get back on your feet. Though you’re likely to be sore, achy and tender after surgery, you have to get your joints, bones and muscles moving as soon as possible. There is one uncomfortable fact to admit and accept beforehand: there is no such thing as a pain-free recovery. Careful use of pain medication can help limit your discomfort, but you must accept that post-surgical pain is something that must be worked through, not avoided. Getting active as soon as possible and following through on your prescribed exercises and rehab activities will help you regain your independence.

Listen to your body

Conversely, it’s important to recognize when you’re pushing too hard or too fast. Returning to your day-to-day activities, including normal diet and exercise, can take time and should be approached slowly. Since it can be difficult to distinguish between normal post-surgical pain and dangerous symptoms, it can be helpful to continue to work with an experienced rehabilitation professional after returning home.

Follow up with your doctor

Before being discharged from the hospital after a major surgery, your doctor will schedule a follow-up appointment. No matter what, be sure to keep these appointments. Only your physician can offer definitive guidance regarding your post-surgical recovery and plan-of-care, and these appointments will include valuable and insightful new instruction.

Ask for help

Though your ultimate goal is to regain your independence, this is no time to insist on going at it alone. Your family and friends can offer valuable assistance that can help you focus on your primary goal of getting better.

Are you looking for resources to help you regain your independence after surgery?

At Fedelta Home Care, we have over two decades of experience helping our clients recover after all types of major surgery. Our home care professionals, who serve the entire Puget Sound region, can offer you the assistance that you need to achieve the fastest recovery possible. Whether you or a loved one needs medical or rehabilitation services or simply a caregiver to take on the load of chores around the house, we can provide a satisfying solution. Contact us today to learn more about our post-surgical and other home care services.

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