What to Expect During Laparoscopic Surgery Post Op
Editor’s note: The following is based on an individual’s experience and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor for specific instructions following your surgery.
Preparing for laparoscopic surgery for the first time can feel overwhelming. Last week, in Part 1, I discussed 10 important things you can do to prepare for surgery. This week I will go into detail about essentials to pack and post op surgery meals, and what to expect during post op.
Essentials to Pack
More than likely you will get to go home the same day as surgery. However, there are some cases where you may have to spend the night in the hospital. This all depends on your surgery. Having an overnight bag packed already can save you loads of stress. Here are a few essentials you may want to consider sticking in your bag.
1. Phone charger or any other electronics you may want to use.
2. Socks and slippers.
3. Extra underwear and pads – you may bleed after surgery.
4. Comfy clothes for after surgery. Anything without a waistband like night gowns, oversized shirts or dresses, or even a bathrobe.
5. Bathroom essentials can include toothbrush and toothpaste, chapstick, hairbrush, deodorant and lotion. You may even want to bring some dry shampoo and face wash.
6. If you have a favorite stuffed animal or object you like to sleep with, bring it.
7. Book, magazines, coloring books, whatever you like to do that is relaxing and easy to carry along.
8. Medicines prescribed to you and stool softeners to take with your pain medicine.
Post Op Surgery Meals
Before your surgery day, it is beneficial to prepare post op meals at least for the first week of recovery. You want to make sure these meals are light and simple to heat up, as you will not want to be eating heavy or be doing any sorts of cooking.
Right after surgery, you may not be very hungry. You may be nauseous from the anesthesia and medicines given to you. Drink plenty of fluids. Water and ginger ale, both sipped very slowly through a straw, helped my nausea and stomachaches.
You could also try chicken broth or any light soup, toast, crackers and popsicles. Jell-O, applesauce and very light sandwiches were also meals I had during recovery.
Be sure to stay away from anything that is spicy or acidic, and be careful of having dairy right away.
Fruits and vegetables along with pasta with a little olive oil were foods I was able to start eating a few days after surgery.
What to Expect During Post Op
The first few days will be tiring. You will still be coming off the anesthesia, so you really will not want to do anything. Your shoulder may be in a lot of pain from the gas pumped into you during surgery. Gas-x and lying flat on my back helped relieve some of this pain. Keep your heating pad nearby. Your throat may be sore from the tube they put in to help you breathe. Throat lozenges helped me clear this up quickly.
I recommend getting up every once and a while and walk around, slowly. This will also help get the gas flowing and even help with your bloated belly. Being bedridden can prolong your recovery time so it is important to make sure you move around. Of course, this will depend on exactly what you had done. It is also important that you do not overdo it. Rest is just as important, so be sure to follow your doctor’s post-op instructions. Be sure to keep an eye on your incisions. They will be sore for a few days. If you think anything looks out of the ordinary – severe pain, puss, looks open – call the doctor ASAP.
Unless told otherwise, you can walk up and down the stairs. Be sure to go slow and have a helping hand nearby. Remember, you cannot drive right after surgery and can only drive once you have stopped taking narcotics and you feel strong enough. Showering after surgery will be up to your doctor. It will depend on the incisions and the type of stitch they use. I was able to shower the very next day, making sure to be very careful of my incisions.
Depending on how your surgery went, you will not be able to have sex for a few weeks. Your doctor will be able to tell you exactly how long. Your first period after surgery will most likely be horrendous. I was not ready for the pain and amount of blood that came with my period after my surgery. I had thought my doctor broke my woman parts. However, do not panic. It is natural. During surgery, your doctor works on many of your reproductive organs, cutting and scraping, meaning it will take a while for everything to heal properly.
If you are taking pain meds, you may have some constipation that comes with it. Taking a stool softener with your pain medicine may help keep this less painful and keep things flowing. It was my lifesaver throughout my whole recovery process.
Lastly, remember you are strong and you will get through this.
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