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How to help someone recover from hysterectomy How to help someone recover from hysterectomy

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  #1  
Unread 01-10-2012, 07:10 PM
How to help someone recover from hysterectomy

I hope this is okay to post. I'm sure I'm not the only woman to be disappointed after my hysterectomy, and it helped me to write this out. Just for the record, my dh has been truly wonderful but I included hubby-specific info because let's face it, he's still a man and men are men! So grateful for my Hyster Sisters and this website!

How to Help Someone Recover From a Hysterectomy

1. Remember she just had MAJOR surgery. Her limitations include mostly staying in bed and no bending or lifting for the first weeks to month. Just the effort of taking a shower will require a nap afterward. It is essential that she rest and recover in the first month after her surgery to avoid complications that could result in a much longer and complicated recovery. She isn’t being lazy or pampered, she is required to give her body time to heal and if she does not, she could be facing serious complications.

2. When she cries, don’t try to solve her problems. Hug and listen and fix her a cup of (decaf) tea. She’s been through not only a major surgery to process but may also be in surgical menopause with abrupt hormonal havoc going on in her body. It is normal and healthy for her to cry when she needs to.

3. Instead of sending flowers, please send a maid service. She cannot do laundry or tidy up the house no matter how much it needs to be done or how much she might want to.

4. Drop off a meal at the doorstep in a tall bag with handles if possible (since she can’t bend). PLEASE avoid any gassy (beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) or constipating (bananas) foods which are not good for her body in the first weeks after surgery.

5. If you don’t cook or are very busy, she will be just as appreciative for sandwich fixings, bagels & cream cheese, a rotisserie chicken and premade salad, or even notice that a pizza will be delivered the next evening.

6. You can also effortlessly set up computer-coordinated meal deliveries from family & friends through free websites like www.TakeThemAmeal.com or www.CareCalendar.org

7. Call to see if she needs medication, groceries or library books picked up, or any other errands run. She won’t be able or cleared to drive for at least two weeks.

8. If she has school-aged children, consider offering to help with transportation or even arranging to share transportation/carpooling with one or two other parents for the first 2-3 weeks after her surgery. If she homeschools, please ask if you can pick up her child(ren) for a park or play date or to take them to any classes/activities.

9. Don’t drop by to visit. She will be living in oversized pj’s to avoid further discomfort to her surgery site. She needs to be lying horizontally in bed and not worried about entertaining a visitor even for 15 minutes. Instead please drop off a meal or care package at her door then call to let her know it’s been left for her.

10. A great non-meal care package might include a magazine, chocolate bar, decaf herbal tea bags and a note with your phone number to call if she needs anything.

11. Around the end of week one, please ask if you can come over for one hour to do laundry and tidy up around the house. She will tell you she doesn’t need it but tell her you’re going to come anyway so what time does she prefer?

12. For husbands and partners, please care for all pets and children, manage dishes/laundry, and prepare or order meals every single day for the first two weeks. PB & J’s made with love are far better than anything a woman recovering from a hysterectomy has to make for her able-bodied family. Hire someone to help, ask friends, family or church, whatever you have to do to take the burden off her. Now is the time to give back to the woman who devotes so much of her life to caring for you and your family. Use these few short weeks to lavish her with the love and care she deserves and that will also help her recovery be a bit less painful and challenging.

13. Remember that sexual activity is forbidden during her recovery for very good reasons and could put her right back in the hospital with potentially life-threatening complications and a much longer recovery time. Don’t put pressure on her, this will only make recovery more stressful for her and thus longer since the body doesn’t heal well under stress.

14. Imagine you are the one who just underwent a very major surgery. How would you want to be treated and cared for? Would you want people to assume you are completely healed after a few weeks or even a few months? (Total internal healing from hysterectomy generally takes 6-12 months.) That perspective may help make it a little easier to offer her the care she needs right now.

15. For husbands and partners who want to go the extra mile, please run a hot shower for her when she feels ready - and change her bed sheets while she’s showering. Brush her hair, massage her feet or hands with scented lotion, serve her meals/snacks in bed with a tray as often as you can in the first two weeks. Ask her how she’s feeling and what she needs. Tell her what she means to you through words and actions. Remember that this is not only a time of intense physical healing but also a significant life transition for every woman. Compassion and gentle loving care are what she needs more than ever.


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  #2  
Unread 01-10-2012, 07:14 PM
Re: How to help someone recover from hysterectomy

Well said! I second that motion!
  #3  
Unread 01-10-2012, 08:32 PM
Re: How to help someone recover from hysterectomy

Love it!
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  #4  
Unread 01-10-2012, 09:23 PM
Re: How to help someone recover from hysterectomy

Yeah! Now that was a mouth full. Luv it...........
  #5  
Unread 01-10-2012, 09:32 PM
Re: How to help someone recover from hysterectomy

Excellent, love it! I'd add that another way to help someone through this is to avoid comparisons to other people, it may seem helpful to you but it may seem like criticism to someone who is healing at her own pace, in her own way, people's individual healing processes should be respected. Worst-case scenario tales should also be avoided, be positive and life-affirming! (I'm not referring to sisters who're having problems and needing support, rather, the people in our lives who speak carelessly or even try to instill fear or grief by gossiping or dramatizing instead of offering support.) Emotions aren't a side effect, they are part of the healing process, body and soul aren't mutually exclusive.

One of my first thoughts when I started posting here was why "pampering" was used so often in discussions of healing, I thought that wasn't really quite the right choice of words. "Pampering" implies luxury,but healing after a major surgery isn't a luxury it's a necessity. Being good to yourself and asking and expecting others to be good to you is perfectly acceptable and not asking too much!

Anyway, you said all this and better than this, I'm just agreeing wholeheartedly. We're all in this together.
  #6  
Unread 01-10-2012, 09:48 PM
Re: How to help someone recover from hysterectomy

so perfect! If you had posted this before my proceedure, I'd of def given it to my spouse.
  #7  
Unread 01-10-2012, 09:53 PM
Re: How to help someone recover from hysterectomy

  Quote:
Originally Posted by gnomelady View Post
Excellent, love it! I'd add that another way to help someone through this is to avoid comparisons to other people, it may seem helpful to you but it may seem like criticism to someone who is healing at her own pace, in her own way, people's individual healing processes should be respected. Worst-case scenario tales should also be avoided, be positive and life-affirming! (I'm not referring to sisters who're having problems and needing support, rather, the people in our lives who speak carelessly or even try to instill fear or grief by gossiping or dramatizing instead of offering support.) Emotions aren't a side effect, they are part of the healing process, body and soul aren't mutually exclusive.

One of my first thoughts when I started posting here was why "pampering" was used so often in discussions of healing, I thought that wasn't really quite the right choice of words. "Pampering" implies luxury,but healing after a major surgery isn't a luxury it's a necessity. Being good to yourself and asking and expecting others to be good to you is perfectly acceptable and not asking too much!
Wonderful points and I totally agree!

And so true about "pampering" being associated with luxury, which recovering from major surgery is NOT, as we all know! Despite that, though, I think the world's expectations of us as women do leave us at times feeling unsure or maybe even guilty on some level, for spending so much time in bed to let our bodies recouperate. You're right, though - it is a necessity indeed. We can keep reminding one another!

One unexpected blessing from my hysterectomy has been learning how to slow down. I didn't ever feel like I was a very "on the go" type of person before, but as I've gone through this process and learned to listen to my body, I can recognize now how little self-care I was allowing and how many small moments in my life were passing me by. As you said, it is a spiritual and emotional healing process as well, one I wasn't expecting but am finding myself in a place of gratitude and appreciation for.

Having other women who have been in this place or are going through it together has been so incredibly empowering, connecting, and comforting, hasn't it?
  #8  
Unread 01-10-2012, 09:56 PM
Re: How to help someone recover from hysterectomy

  Quote:
Originally Posted by kathy1970 View Post
so perfect! If you had posted this before my proceedure, I'd of def given it to my spouse.
Thank you, Kathy! I wish someone had given it to mine! lol Hopefully it might help other sisters on their journey!
  #9  
Unread 01-10-2012, 10:34 PM
Re: How to help someone recover from hysterectomy

Wow...Absolutely PERFECT!!! And I thought I was past the crying stage.
This is truly what I needed 6 weeks ago. Thanks Sister!!!!
  #10  
Unread 01-11-2012, 11:39 PM
Re: How to help someone recover from hysterectomy

  Quote:
Originally Posted by aaa357 View Post
Wow...Absolutely PERFECT!!! And I thought I was past the crying stage.
This is truly what I needed 6 weeks ago. Thanks Sister!!!!
Thank you for your kind response!
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