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Post Op care when living alone



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Hi all

I’ve completed all the insurance requirements and waiting for clearance and surgery date. Doctor thinks it will be before Thanksgiving so mentally preparing for it. I’m single and live alone with no family nearby. Need advice on what type of support will I need once I come home. Can you do it alone? Thinking about getting a visiting nurse care - is that needed? Just looking for personal experience and if you think you could have done it alone if you had to. My bedroom is upstairs so also thinking if it make sense to setup a bed in living room for a few days.

Thanks for guidance in this.

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Based on my personal experience, you’ll be able to do most things by yourself. Make sure you clean your house thoroughly before the surgery and get all necessary groceries. I didn’t do any laundry or clean the house the first week. I also was afraid to walk our 200 pound dog the first few day, just in case he’d pull on the line very suddenly. But other than that I did everything myself. Even went home alone the day after surgery (about 4 hours public transportation to a different country).
After about 5 days I felt good enough to do groceries, walk the dog and do some cleaning. But again, this was my personal experience.
Best of luck to you!

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Although my husband was with me at home, I didn't need his care at all. I think it is totally doable. I had an easy recovery though. Make sure you stay hydrated though because its easy to forget to keep drinking Water and you don't want to end up dehydrated, dizzy... Etc. And be alone at home. Another thing that was somewhat bothersome for me is we can not carry anything heavy for 6 weeks or whatever your surgeon advises. If you get a heavy delivery, for example, perhaps a relative, friend, or neighbor can bring those inside. Good luck and you'll do fine.

Edited by Tomo

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I think you can do it alone, but there are some considerations: you need to have a friend you can phone in case something does happen, and you need to 'pre-stage' anything that won't be possible after surgery. As an example, we were being threatened with a boil-water order due to wildfire, so before surgery I went and got three cases of bottled Water that would be much too heavy for me to carry with my 10 lb lift restriction after surgery. I paid a neighbor kid $10 to take my trash barrels out to the curb and back (though this week I think I can manage). That sort of thing.

You'll want to have a bunch of Gas-X on hand. And have a variety of Protein Drinks because my tastes did change after surgery (Premiere Protein was fine pre-op but post-op tastes like non-lemon Pledge.)

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my husband took the week off but went back to work after about the third day. Although it was nice having him here to get things for me, honestly, I would have been fine on my own. If you do decide to get a home health nurse (although you likely won't need one), I doubt you'd need them for more than a couple of days.

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Thank you for the feedback. I have great neighbors and friends I can call in an emergency so that helps. Yes already trying different Protein Shakes to stock pile and shortlisted Vitamins and other foods. Doing all the research early so I am prepared. I have a cleaning lady so will have her handle dishwasher and changing sheets. Makes me less apprehensive.

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I live alone and told no one except my brother I was having surgery. I spent one night in the hospital and then my brother picked me up and took me home. I had everything prepared before hand. Stocked up bottled Water, Protein Shakes, meds, etc. I slept in my recliner for probably a month. Because I didn't take narcotics, I drove on day 4 because I found out I was allergic to the staples and I needed some benadryl. My recovery was actually fairly easy. I spent my days sipping water, Protein shakes and walking and napping because I was so tired...and plotting on my calendar how many more days until I could eat something solid! Sipping the water and protein shakes was a full time job the first week!

Sounds like you are well prepared already. You probably won't need the nurse.

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I did it alone. No problems. Pain was managed easily with meds but by about day 5 I didn’t need anything. I did spend a lot of time on my couch with my shake (or soup) & Water beside me. Though my bedroom & living areas on on the same floor, I have stairs & walked them a couple of times a day. Helps get the gas out plus getting up to get your shakes, broths, fluids, etc. & just generally pottering (carefully) around your house helps your recovery.

Just make sure you have all the over the counter meds (pain meds, gas x, stool softener, etc.), shakes, broths, Soups, etc. you’ll need for that first week or two.

Hope all goes well for you.

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I live alone and it was easy recovery. I did have a recliner for sleeping that was much more comfortable than a bed

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I think the previous posts are spot on. It really depends on you, your current health situation, and how your recovery goes. I can only speak for myself- it was pretty easy the first week and I didn't need help. I fixed my own food and can't remember needing my wife or kids to help me out. I specifically didn't want them to help because it was important that I got moving and walk as much as possible. So I did.

Walk as much as you can.

I would be careful about stockpiling a ton of one type of food over another. Have a variety, since you really don't know what you'll like. I know I bought a bunch of stuff that I never ate (broth drinks, made Jello, Protein Shakes in flavors that were not appealing after surgery). If you have a grocery store in walking distance, maybe that can be part of your exercise to walk there to get what you need for the day.

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I had my parents come for a week, although they stayed in a nearby hotel because I have a small apartment. They live about 5 hours away. It was great for them to come for emotional support, but honestly, that was about all that was really needed. The surgery center made clear that I was supposed to be doing all of the fixing of food etc. My mom kept saying "let me do that," but I kept reminding her I needed to do it myself. It was good to have them for the laundry (mostly getting smaller clothes out of storage and sheets and towels, but that could have waited another week) and dishes (again, mostly what they were using as I was only eating liquids like Protein Shakes and yogurt). I was in a lot of pain so it was nice to have them here, but it did make it harder to sleep during the day as my mom can't sit still and kept asking me what else she could do 😐Now that they have left, I have asked a fried to buy me a case of Protein drinks (I had one brand I liked) and bring them into my apartment because they are too heavy to lift.

If you have a complication, that would be a different issue.

Oh, I didn't try stairs until about day 4, but they turned out to be a non-issue. However, sleeping in a bed was hard because it was very hard to get up from lying down due to incision pain (felt like I had done about a million sit ups). I suspect that will be harder than the stairs to your bedroom. If you have a wedge pillow and can sleep on your back, that may be helpful. Other people have suggested recliners, but I don't have one.

best of luck!

Edited by lizonaplane

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From what I can remember, there was nothing I couldn't do on my own (but of course i milked all the help that was offered to me, lol).

Walking wiped me out for the first week or so, so I'd suggest getting all the stuff you'd need (groceries, meds, basic living necessities) to last you a few days so you don't have to go out and get them.

Edit to add: actually, i just remembered the one thing I couldn't do (or didn't want to do) for a couple weeks was drive. Twisting to get my seat-belt on, or checking my blind spot was a little ouch-inducing).

Edited by ms.sss

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2 minutes ago, ms.sss said:

From what I can remember, there was nothing I couldn't do on my own (but of course i milked all the help that was offered to me, lol).

Walking wiped me out for the first week or so, so I'd suggest getting all the stuff you'd need (groceries, meds, basic living necessities) to last you a few days so you don't have to go out and get them.

Edit to add: actually, i just remembered the one thing I couldn't do (or didn't want to do) for a couple weeks was drive. Twisting to get my seat-belt on, or checking my blind spot was a little ouch-inducing).

Yes, walking made me tired until a few days ago, and I didn't drive until almost 2 weeks out. I don't ever like to drive, so that's not exactly surprising. We were told not to drive for 4-5 days.

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I think it is doable alone, but I would consider investing in a heavy duty cane (you can usually find them at Walgreens/CVS/local medical supply store) If I lived alone, my biggest concern would be falling down.

You have no idea how much you use your abdominals for moving until you let a doctor cut into them. I had my surgery on a Monday morning and it was not until Tuesday night that I was able to get out of a chair without a nurse's assistance. Even for the next week or so, I was so very tender/ginger going from sitting to standing. I used the cane to have something sturdy that I could use to push myself up, especially in situations like getting off the toilet. It also helped for the first few times I went out of the house (store/church/etc) to walk with it so I didn't have to worry about losing my balance if someone ran into me.

Edited by Splenda
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On 9/26/2021 at 10:33 AM, Adugal said:

Hi all

I’ve completed all the insurance requirements and waiting for clearance and surgery date. Doctor thinks it will be before Thanksgiving so mentally preparing for it. I’m single and live alone with no family nearby. Need advice on what type of support will I need once I come home. Can you do it alone? Thinking about getting a visiting nurse care - is that needed? Just looking for personal experience and if you think you could have done it alone if you had to. My bedroom is upstairs so also thinking if it make sense to setup a bed in living room for a few days.

Thanks for guidance in this.

I think it is doable alone, but I would consider investing in a heavy duty cane (you can usually find them at Walgreens/CVS/local medical supply store) If I lived alone, my biggest concern would be falling down.

You have no idea how much you use your abdominals for moving until you let a doctor cut into them. I had my surgery on a Monday morning and it was not until Tuesday night that I was able to get out of a chair without a nurse's assistance. Even for the next week or so, I was so very tender/ginger going from sitting to standing. I used the cane to have something sturdy that I could use to push myself up, especially in situations like getting off the toilet. It also helped for the first few times I went out of the house (store/church/etc) to walk with it so I didn't have to worry about losing my balance if someone ran into me.

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