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Hysterectomy Advice from a Post-Op HysterSister | Part 3

From the Pre-Op Hysterectomy Articles List

Hysterectomy Advice part 3Continued from Part 2.

For those of you who have never had an IV before - be sure it is NEVER allowed to go dry! If the bag is near empty, call the nurse. Sometimes if they get busy they might not know you need a new IV bag. If no liquid is going into you, the IV quickly gets painful.

I strongly recommend that you discourage ANY visitors except your husband/significant other for the first two days (at least). You will be SO tired and out-of-it that the last thing you'll want to do is hold a long conversation with friends and family. This goes for the phone, too. While "visiting" does not seem physically straining, it is - because it drains you emotionally and mentally. Even from a hospital bed, you will feel the need to play "hostess". I made up a phone list for my hubby to call everyone with progress reports, and an e-mail list too.

There is a reason hospital gowns are knee-length. Long gowns are impossible to negotiate when it comes to getting in and out of bed. Also you may get elbow-burn from the sheets, since I had to use my elbows so much to support getting up and down. Band-Aids on your elbows might help.

Be sure to USE that funny breathing "exerciser" device they give you after the operation! It keeps your lungs clear and your temperature down. Also WALK the halls as soon as you can, to get your bowels moving. I did this several times a day and had no problems having my first BM.

It does seem amazing that you can take a shower right away (NOT a bath, though), but it is true - just don't let the water hit directly on your incision. (Believe me, you won't want it to!!!). It is kind of scary the first time and you will be weak as a kitten afterwards, but oh it feels good to be clean and have clean hair too! Don't push it, though - take sponge baths for a couple days til you feel ready to face a shower. Several ladies on the board recommend putting a lawn chair in the shower to sit on as you wash. It is a major endeavor the first couple of times. Have your hubby or support person handy to help you - wiping your lower legs and feet is not easy!

For me, it took about a week for the Premarin .625 to kick in. I started taking it on Friday after my Monday surgery. I had hot flashes that started about 4 days after the surgery, and then a week after the surgery I had my Big Crying Jag (which I think was a combination of hormone deficiency and general frustration at post-op discomfort, including lack of sleep!). By a week after starting the Premarin, I was OK. I still had trouble sleeping for a couple of weeks, but it was only due to the discomfort during the healing process; I sleep fine now! (I will forevermore appreciate the ability to sleep on my sides).

NO vacuuming for six weeks post-op!!! It doesn't seem like a strenuous activity, but vacuuming is very hard on the tummy muscles. Same goes with lifting anything heavy. No driving for three weeks (with an abdominal hysterectomy).

Regarding naps: I found I needed about a one hour nap each afternoon for the first two weeks post-op. I scheduled it for 2pm and told all my friends about it, so they knew not to call then. I also took the phone off the hook for that hour. My eye mask from the hospital found extra use then as well!

In the healing process, the first two days after the operation are THE worst; the first two weeks can be rough at times, and in general it took me three weeks before feeling somewhat like my old self again. You have to keep telling yourself that every single moment after the operation you are healing more and more! Especially during those first two post-op days, remind yourself that this is the worst you will feel, and the road to recovery will get smoother each day. Remember to get LOTS of rest, and do not overdo it when you start to feel better. It takes six weeks before you feel like your old self again, and up to six months before you don't tire more easily.

Keep a list of questions to ask your doctor, both before and after surgery (You will have at least two post-op checkups). When you think of a question, write it down! Don't count on remembering all your questions when you get to the doctor's office.

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 - 06:05 PM


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