On 1/28/2021 at 8:30 am, I sat in a cold waiting room, awaiting my gall bladder surgery, ALONE! Due to covid restrictions, my family and friends weren't able to hold my hand as I prepped for surgery. However, I was not scared, just ready to get it over with. Upon leaving the hospital, I was not prepared for what was to come. Currently, I am exactly a week into my recovery and while I don't know what lies ahead, I just want to give you insight on what I have learned thus far.
1. Do Your Breathing Exercises
While at the hospital, they will give you a volumetric spirometer that will help you open your lungs (and prevent pneumonia) after surgery. And listen, I was not prepared for being as out of breath as I was. Walking from the couch to the bathroom was a task. And my first day post op I couldn't even hit 500ml on my spirometer. It was even difficult to talk. But around 5 days post op, I began to consistently hit 1500 on my spirometer. DO IT SEVERAL TIMES DAILY! No matter how uncomfortable it feels.
2. Stay Hydrated
It you haven't already, go buy (or have someone else buy) a nice water bottle to keep after surgery. You will need it morning, noon and night. I kept my water bottle with me at all hours for a few reasons: I needed it to take my meds, and my mouth was soooooo dry after surgery.
I know, I know it hurts but DO IT! While in surgery they pump you up with gas and the only way to get this gas out is to walk. Sounds weird, but it helped me tremendously. The more I walk, the more I burp, which means I'm one step closer to being gas free. Along with walking, take Gas X.
4. Use Laxative/Stool Softener
Seems like any time you have surgery, your bowels will not flow in the first few days. Pain medications also create constipation, so you want to be sure that you have a stool softener on hand. The last thing you want to do is strain using nonexistent, painful stomach muscles to try and push. Thats a disaster waiting to happen.
5. Use Ice Packs for Incisions
This right here is HEAVEN! My incisions burned a couple of days after surgery and my ice packs were great relief.
6. Stay Ahead of The Pain
Make sure you are setting timers, so that you take your medicine on time to stay ahead of the pain. The combination that worked for me was rotating the pain medicine prescribed and 800 mg of Ibuprofen every 4 hours. As the pain lessened, I did every 6 hours, and so on.
7. Getting Back To The Good Food
I am a week post op and if I see one more bowl of soup, I am going to scream. However, I am starting slow intentionally, just to see what my body can tolerate. Yesterday I found out egg yolk is a no go for me, but egg whites are fine. I would not suggest eating a greasy burger the day after your surgery. For now, low fat everything will be your best bet.
Throughout the last week, I have experienced gas pain in my shoulder, what feels like a constant muscle spasm where my gallbladder used be, and sharp pain at my incision sites. On some days, all of these things get better, and on others, they get worse. It is all a guessing game at this point. Above all, always remember to listen to YOUR body. Everyones recovery from this surgery is different. I wish you all the best in your recovery.
Head up, shoulders back, you were made for this! Happy healing!
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