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Hysterectomy Advice from a Post-Op HysterSister | Part 2

From the Pre-Op Hysterectomy Articles List

Post op Hysterectomy AdviceContinued from Part 1.

You will probably be more comfortable if you bring your own pillow from home. Finding a pillow to support your tummy is a bit trickier. Tummy pillows should be smaller and softer than a throw pillow, which can be difficult to find. If you know anyone who sews, maybe you can ask them to make you one! Experiment with pillows before the operation; I found it difficult to get comfortable with too large a pillow under my tummy. Some people recommend getting a "body pillow" that supports the whole length of your body.

Also, buy a "donut" pillow for post-op recovery at home. It has a hole in the center and makes it a lot easier to sit semi-upright. This can be found in most large drug stores. It can be useful for several months following the operation, especially if you have to sit on a hard bench for any length of time!

For when you get home, buy a grabber one of those long sticks that you can use to grab things that fall on the floor. These are VERY handy. They cost about $20 at medical supply or hardware stores and they are worth every penny. The one I have is called a "Pik Stick", and the store I bought it at had it listed as a "reacher", so if you go to look for one you might use these terms as well. It is SO easy to use to pick things up! I was aware of them because my mother uses one as she recovers from the hip surgery she had last year. I couldn't find one at a regular drug store, but the local hardware store carried it.

Take an inexpensive Walkman and your favorite relaxing tapes. (Just don't leave the Walkman lying around when you aren't in the room). I had taped the soundtrack to Titanic (leaving out the ship-sinking parts!) and found I could really drift off to its pretty music (I'm resisting the temptation to say it helped me sink into a nice sleep . . . argh!).

This may have been unique to the hospital I was in, but when it came time for me to use a sanitary pad (for post-op drainage), the only kind they had were those huge, old-fashioned kind that need a belt . . . no self-stick pads at all! I never thought to bring pads from home, but wish I had; I haven't seen or used those bulky "belt pads" in over twenty years! So for those of you going to the hospital, it wouldn't hurt to pack a few modern Kotex or Stayfree pads.

I, too, thought that I would not need any more sanitary pads after surgery, but you may need to wear them for a couple of weeks afterwards, for any post-op drainage (I had a TAH but I assume the same is true, if not moreso, for a vaginal hysterectomy). My drainage was very light. I only needed the liner type of pads, but the nurse said it could get as heavy as a regular period. Also, I don't know if this is standard procedure for hysterectomies, but I had a bulb-like object placed in my vagina for the first two days after surgery to catch the drainage. It drained into a bag, which was tucked into my panties. I used to worry that the bulb would fall out but believe me it won’t! It is t-shaped, and when the nurse did remove it I nearly hit the ceiling. ("This may hurt a bit". . . I just love those warnings). Fortunately, the pain was brief, and I was glad to get that bulb out of me!

Be sure to tell anyone who will be waiting to hear immediately after the surgery that if it takes long than expected, it could just mean that there is a delay in the operating room. My operation was originally scheduled for 10:30 a.m., but it ran two hours late because the previous operation ran overtime. My poor hubby was in a panic because no one informed him that I was two hours late getting to the OR! I asked an OR nurse to inform the waiting room, but she apparently never did.

The doctor and nurses will definitely want you to walk after the first day of the operation. You really won't want to, believe me, but do it. It gets the digestive system moving and makes all the difference. I took five walks down the hall and back to my room on the second day (the nurse said they recommend at least two walks a day, but don't overdo it either). Thanks, in part, to these walks, my bowels gave me NO problems; the great "wind passing" came the next day (a sacred moment for you, post-op, you never thought you could be so proud of passing gas). My roommate did not do any walking (except to the bathroom) and remained miserably bloated and in pain the entire time she was there.

Also, don't get spoiled by all the attention you receive from the nurses your first day. Believe me, as time goes on, you get less attention!

Continue to Part 3.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

12-02-2010 - 06:04 PM


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