Recovering at Home – The Dos and Don’ts after Surgery

The decision to undertake corrective surgery can be a big one. Between scheduling time off and arranging for at-home care, there’s pain to plan for and other hardships to consider.

As scary as surgery can be, for some orthopaedic injuries it remains one of the best solutions.  And while the doctors, nurses, and diligent hospital staff will do everything in their power to help you while you’re there, once you’ve returned home, the responsibility of your care becomes your own.

Whether you’ve recently had or are shortly scheduled for surgery, planning ahead can mean a lot down the road. The team at Alabama Orthopaedic Surgeonsknows the difficulties of recovery and have a list of dos and don’ts for your ideal at-home care.


Do – Stock up on Entertainment

By nature, recovering from surgery can be a boring affair. Exercising, driving, and even carrying groceries are mostly off-the-table activities. Without your usual mobility, you won’t be able to go out every day searching for something to take your mind off the itchy bandages or lingering pain.

Books, movies, music—it’s wise to stockpile a range of mediums for your sedentary recovery period.  If you’re looking to do so on the cheap, it’s worth mentioning that your local library likely has all the newest albums, best-sellers, and box-office hits for your enjoyment and at no cost.


Don’t– Get Impatient

Recovery can be frustrating.  Between the pain, the immobility, the bandages, and all the accompanying medications you’re taking, an at-home care regimen can grow old fast.

Discomfort can encourage us to make rash decisions. You might think your incision looks fine or that you don’t need those tight bandages anymore, but your doctor knows better. Following the advice of your physician and surgeons is crucial to recovering well and fully.

This extends to your activity, too. If you’re uncertain about the hazards of any physical task, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Even if you think it’ll all be fine, it’s important to remember that you’re the patient, not the doctor.


Do – Make Life Easier for Yourself

Surgery can be a shock to both your body and your sense of normalcy. Your weekly routine is going to change in big and small ways.

Despite what you normally do for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, standing at the chopping board for half-an-hour or attending to a roast in the oven are sure-fire ways to risk further injury.  Stock up on easier food—microwavable meals, simple sandwiches, and other pre-cooked options. If you’re uncertain which brands or meals you’ll enjoy while recovering, try a few in the weeks before your surgery. You’ll be surprised how filling and delicious easier meals can be.


Don’t – Grow Complacent

It’s easy to think that once the scalpel’s put away and all the bandages wrapped that your good-to-go. But surgery is complicated, and problems can arise without warning.

Refusing to clean your wound or replace your bandages for fear of discomfort can cause serious issues. It’s important to witness your recovery first-hand and to be honest with yourself and your physician about how you’re feeling.

Wanting it to be over with is one thing, but ignoring swelling, excessive discoloration, or intensifying pain can truly spoil your recovery or even lengthen the time you’ll need to feel better.

Only you know how you’re feeling. Be detailed, be attentive, and be honest.


Do – Value This Time

Surgery is scary and recovery can be painful and immensely frustrating. And while you may not be able to mow the lawn, attend the book club meeting, watch the little-league game, or take your usual morning jog, allowing yourself to feel good about your recovery starts with valuing the time.

The better you are at slowing down, the sooner you’ll be able to speed up again. Get better and back to business.


Do – Contact your Physician About Treatment

You don’t have to live with pain. Alabama Orthopaedic Surgeonsknow what it’s like to live with an injury and have invasive and non-invasive treatment plans to help you get back to being healthy, active, and happy. Contact us today for more information.

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