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Any tips on recovering from surgery alone?



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Finally got my surgery date! Will be 10/21. I’m sure my mom will find time to be with me immediately after surgery but come Monday I’m on my own. My surgeon’s office has informed me I may need to be out 4-6 weeks and that they want FMLA papers, which is more time than expected as I was planning to take a week off, I’m only a desk jockey.

My mom has missed a lot of work and doesn’t want to miss more, she’s been dealing with her own health issues and her company’s BS. She’s also less than enthused I’m going this route which is why she isn’t fighting harder to be with me I think.

What tips do you have for post-op recovery alone? My mom wants a home health nurse to come check on me but I’ll have to see if the surgeon will be willing to write an Rx for it, or will that be necessary?

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doubtful you would get a RX for a nurse. Tho never hurts to ask. So after surgery my main thing that i needed from someone else was simply to get up and out of my recliner. But using a cane helped a ton to get out of chairs and to get out easier. Get your drinks, food, toilet paper, clothing ect... all at chest level so you dont have to bend...

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I had my surgery on a Thursday and my husband went back to work on the Monday. To be fair he helped me a lot on the Thursday and Friday and after that it was mostly just moral support and company for the weekend. It’s good for us to get ourselves up for Water, bathroom etc just as soon as we can. I was walking up and down the stairs unaided the day after surgery.

I went back to work on the Wednesday following so depending on your recovery I hope you would be just fine alone after a couple of days. Good luck! This is exciting stuff for the good of your future quality of life and although folks who love us are sometimes not enthused or do not wholly support, your peeps here can help you with that 🙂🙂

cay

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You probably won't need 4-6 weeks off -- most people don't take that much time off unless they have a physically demanding job. Your surgeon probably wants you to be prepared just in case.

I live alone and didn't have any assistance during my recovery, except the day after my surgery. I wasn't allowed to drive myself home and the hospital wouldn't allow me to take a taxi/Uber home (although I probably could have gotten away with it), so I hired a home care agency to pick me up from the hospital. It actually wasn't much more than the taxi ride I took to the hospital, and it included 4 hours of home care, so the person who drove me home brought my bag inside and went to pick up my prescriptions. After that, I was on my own and I was fine.

It's a good idea to plan ahead and make sure you won't need to lift anything more than 20 pounds during your recovery. You're also supposed to be careful about bending over, and I was concerned about being able to do laundry, but it ended up not being an issue.

I also suggest you have a backup plan -- someone you can call if you need help. It sounds like your mom would be able to if you really needed her. If she lives close enough, maybe she can come by to check on you a few times. If not, do you have a friend who could check on you? (For me, this was difficult because I didn't tell anyone about my surgery.)

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My husband brought me home from the hospital after work the day after surgery and went to work the next day. Granted he works minutes away and could’ve come home if I needed him but I didn’t. Everyone’s recovery is sooo much different. If I was going to be home alone I may ask the surgeon if the visiting nurse is something that would be available if needed. I’m guessing they wouldn’t have a problem prescribing it. I had one after I got a melonoma removed and that wasn’t nearly as major of a surgery as this is. You may be pleasantly surprised though. I had very little pain post op and was up walking around with the nurse in recovery. Again. Everyone is different so it doesn’t hurt to plan for the worst, but hope for the best.

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Since most surgeries are done laparoscopically, and most go home the next morning, other than someone driving you home, it's very doable to recover alone. They had me walking the hospital aisles every few hours right after the surgery till I was released at 11 am the next morning. I walked around a lot the day I got home doing light chores... Etc. Back to desk work on day 3 but you do feel very tired for a week or so. Again, as everyone will tell you, everyone is different. These are my experiences (both with vsg and revision to rny).

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it's highly doubtful you'll need a home health nurse. My husband took a week off to be home with me, and he ended up going back to work after three days. I just didn't need him. I mean, it was nice to have someone go get beverages and Protein Shakes for me, but I could have done it myself.

it's also doubtful you'll need to take 4-6 weeks off. Most of us take two, but many have said they could have gone back earlier. I took three weeks off and definitely could have gone back after two - maybe even a little earlier. I had a desk job.

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I live alone & managed easily by myself. My surgeon did keep me in for an extra night to ensure I was stable because I lived alone (ended up staying a third night because my back went to spasm) . But otherwise everything else was fine. I had no gas pain & the surgical pain was very little by about day 4/5. I could up pretty easily (just carefully). I made sure I had everything I needed in regards to over the counter meds (Imodium, stool softeners, non NSAID pain meds, hydralite, …) shakes, Soups, broths, etc. And filled my scripts at the hospital before I left.

I was between contracts when I had my surgery but I needed all of the 4 weeks I had before my new contract started (low blood pressure, doughy head & low energy). I did a quick trip to the grocery store at the end of the second week & also went to a joint 60th birthday party then too.

But we all heal & recover differently. It may depend on the complexity of your surgery (like if you get a hernia repair at the same time, etc.), your general health & fitness, your weight at surgery. I also had friends on call & good neighbours if I ran into trouble.

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I had someone stay with me for a week but it wasn't needed. I was fine after a day or 2. I basically did everything on my own except lifting/pushing/pulling.

I really just tired out easily but no pain. Just take it easy, you will be fine.

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Ooh. You may know this already but you can get a free month trial of Walmarts grocery delivery. And you can get anything from the store to include medicines and shakes. Or you can do grocery pickup (but then you have to carry it in when you get home of course). There is a minimum order for both but I just stocked up of cleaning supplies and toiletries items that I knew I will use eventually to meet the minimum. If I remember correctly it’s unlimited number of deliveries for the month.

Also, if you do take a little longer to heal a cleaning person would be something to consider. Doesn’t have to be a professional, just Someone to at least do your laundry and dishes and tidy up a bit. Also, they probably wouldn’t mind reaching a couple things down or lifting things that you shouldn’t while they are there. And you could arrange grocery delivery while they are there. I know that I was feeling pretty good and it was really hard to look at the stuff that needed to be cleaned and not do it. I was good but it was hard. Just making sure the house was actually cleaned before hand would have helped with that quite a bit too. I have no clue why I didn’t think of that but I didn’t and wish I had.

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Posted (edited)

Agree with others - unless you have complications or get an open surgery (rare, nowadays) I think you will be fine. I took 2 weeks off, and then went back half days in week 3, mostly because I really needed naps every afternoon for the first month or so. I was just tired all the time. Now, I work from home so that was perfect. If I had been commuting, it would have been a different discussion. I'm not sure I could have handled a daily commute just because I was so freaking tired. Also, those first few months are very focused on routine (at least for me, almost constantly thinking about drinking or food) so being at home made that easier.

In terms of house tasks, most of them were easy enough to do without help. The big one is not picking up heavy items, so dragging bags of dog food around would have been a problem. So, if there are things like that you need done, I would plan for them ahead of the surgery so you don't need to worry about it.

I will admit: had I been at my old job and eligible for FMLA, I may have taken the 4-6 weeks just because I could. I had a lot of leave saved and it would have been paid. But I switched jobs right before surgery so I did something that worked with my new job.

Edited by Queen ApisM

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Thank you all for your help, I’ve gotten a lot of helpful tips. My mom is coming around to me having surgery and has made it a normal part of our interactions. She will still return to work almost immediately after I have it done but it’s become less of a weird subject between us thankfully.

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I am, by most anyone's reckoning, "old." I was alone too. I had a friend take me and bring me home, but otherwise, I was/am alone. Go by the paperwork the doc gives you as to "Do's and don'ts" and set up with your Water, and sleep. Put a trash can there by your bed, or wherever you tend to sleep. (For me it was my couch.) Take it slow. BUT it is a very easy operation, even for me at my age, in my late 60's.

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