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10 Tips for Recovering at Home Alone After Hysterectomy

From the Pre-Op Hysterectomy Articles List

Fitness and Wellness after hysterectomyI am scheduled for a hysterectomy and I live alone. I feel nervous about my recovery, and wonder how I will manage. What are some tips for recovering alone?

A hysterectomy is major surgery for anyone. Your nerves can really get out of hand as your surgery date approaches. Coping with pre-hysterectomy anxiety and fear is difficult for many, but if you will be recovering at home alone, the thought of surgery can be extra overwhelming. And that's understandable.

Thankfully, with some organization, pre-planning, and communication, recovering safely while home alone is possible. Here are 10 tips we've put together to help you prepare for recovering alone after your hysterectomy.

1. Tell Your Surgeon/Hospital Staff that You Live Alone

The fact that you will be home alone may influence how long you are kept in the hospital. Also, let your doctor know how many stairs are in your home. Inquire if home nursing or other medical assistance is necessary or available to you.

2. Clarify Your Instructions

Before your surgery, clarify your specific post op restrictions with your surgeon. Many patients are given restrictions on lifting, driving, baths and intercourse. Ask which specific housekeeping duties are safe for you to do and for which you need some help.

3. Prepare Your Home

Get your overall house ready for your recovery needs. Scrub the house, do the laundry, clean the bathroom, vacuum and put fresh sheets on your bed. Many household chores are activities that are restricted during recovery. Getting the big stuff done ahead of time helps you avoid the temptation to do it while you’re recovering. Put heavy dishes and cans of food down on the counter-top to avoid reaching. Showering early post op can be exhausting, so place a stool or chair in the shower in case you feel weak and need to sit.

4. Prepare Your Recovery Area

Once your house is ready, decide where you want to spend most of your day duirng early recovery and get your recovery area prepared, too.This may be the recliner in the living room, the couch in the sunroom or snuggled up in bed. Consider stairs and convenience to the bathroom and the kitchen. Make a recovery nest with a soft throw blanket and piles of pillows. Have some small projects or crafts, books, movies, etc close by to keep boredom at bay. An organizer for your remote control, phone charger, lip balm and mints is very helpful, too.

5. Shop for Your Recovery

Make a list and gather items that will be needed during your recovery. Some helpful post op items include: stool softener, Gas X, Kleenex, moist toilet wipes, a digital oral thermometer, a grabber tool and a small tummy pillow. Consider getting an abdominal binder for your recovery to provide support to your tummy. Make sure you are stocked up on your regular medications so you aren’t tempted to run to the store too early post op. Check to see if your local grocery provides delivery, and, if so, register ahead of time.

6. Prepare Meals Ahead of Time

Head to the kitchen and freeze/prepare meals in advance. Freeze some casseroles. Make a pot of soup to leave in the fridge for easy warm-up. Stock up on easy-to-prepare nutritious foods and beverages such as yogurt, bran muffins, fruit, veggies (wash & cut up ahead of time), and apple juice.

7. Say “Yes” to Offers of Help

It’s ok to need some assistance after hysterectomy. Put the word out with family, friends, neighbors and church groups that you will be recovering from surgery. When someone offers to help, accept immediately and be specific about what you need: meals, help with laundry, etc. It’s easier to accept offers immediately rather than call later and make the request.

8. Assign an Emergency Contact and Have Emergency Numbers Handy

Ask a designated person check on you daily, either in person or by phone, to make sure you are all right. Also, have someone on standby in case you need a ride to the doctor or something picked up from the pharmacy. Make a key for your emergency person so you don’t need to get up and answer the door. Although you likely have the number for your surgeon, your family doctor or your pharmacy in your phone, make a list of those numbers and secure it near your recovery area. This saves you or your emergency person from needing to search for them on short notice.

9. Do You Have a Pet?

Give your support circle the heads up you may need help with pet sitting, dog walking or litter box cleaning for the first few weeks post op. No one can say for sure how you will feel when you come home from the hospital. You may find it difficult to feed and care for your pet the first few days after your hysterectomy. Leaving your pet with a friend/family member for those few days will help you focus on you. While you may feel well enough to walk your dog at 1-2 weeks post op, having even a small dog tugging at the end of the leash pulls at the abdominal/pelvic muscles and can possibly make you fall. And little things like bending to scoop the litter box can be more difficult post hysterectomy than you may realize.

10. Keep Track of Your Medications

Often you have more than one medication to take post op. It can get confusing about when to take which medication. Keep track of your medications on a notepad. If necessary, set your alarm during the night to take your medications on schedule so you can avoid waking up in pain.

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.

06-26-2016 - 02:34 PM


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