The days following the operation
The day after the operation, a nurse encourages you to get up. However, you must be assisted by a member of staff to perform this first lift in a safe manner. It is important to be “mobile” quickly after surgery to prevent complications caused by immobilization. We also offer you, the first day, help with your toilet.
You start eating as soon as your doctor tells you to, usually as soon as your bowels have started working.
If you have staples in your abdominal wound, the nurse will usually remove half of them the day before you leave and the other half the same day you leave. If, on the other hand, it is better to wait, arrangements to remove them are made with the specialized personnel of the CLSC in your region. Check with the nurse or doctor before leaving.
As soon as the doctor signs your discharge, you leave the hospital, normally before noon. Being discharged does not mean that you feel as fit as when you entered the hospital. You may feel very tired and this fatigue can stay with you two to four months after surgery. The convalescence therefore takes place mainly at your home.
We therefore encourage you to prepare small frozen meals in advance, to close your eyes to household imperfections, to ask for and accept help.
Sometimes, children feel strongly the absence of their mother, hence the importance of preparing them for your hospitalization and your return home. Some children show anger, others play the indifference card, often they are worried and have all kinds of fears. Don’t hesitate to talk to your children about what’s going on.
Our experience with families has taught us that it is best to let children know about the situation as early as possible, using language they can understand. In trying to protect them, it sometimes happens that children interpret your silences as a lack of confidence in them.
Before leaving, an appointment is made for you for the next medical examination. If you have forms to complete for your employer, you must bring them to the hospital with you when you are admitted so that we can attach them to your file. Fees may be required. If so, the hospital issues a receipt for tax deduction.
The nursing staff will also give you a prescription for pain relievers or other medicines. The doctor will discuss this matter with you. If you are taking anticoagulants, it is essential that you know when to resume the usual medication. Make sure to remember to ask this question if it concerns you. In addition, you may need some home care. The healthcare team will then provide all the useful information before your departure.
At home or in the hospital: what to look out for
You must immediately contact one of your caregivers:
if you notice a resumption of light red bleeding,
if you have persistent bleeding,
if you notice redness, warmth and swelling around your wound
or abnormal discharge from the abdominal dressing,
if you have a fever (+ 38 o C or 100.4 o F) for more than four hours,
or the medication does little to relieve your pain.
All the information concerning the telephone numbers to reach the healthcare team will be sent to you before your departure. Also make sure you have the doctor’s phone number to reach them if a problem arises.
Resumption of activities and particularities
You can walk the day after the operation. However, if your surgery is for the abdominal area, all activities that require great effort from your abdominal muscles should be avoided for at least eight weeks. Getting a little physical activity helps fight fatigue and depression.
It is okay to take a bath as soon as your dressing is removed, even if the wound is a little ajar.
Do not be concerned if you sometimes feel pain on the side opposite to the operation, this is called referred pain.
Sexual activities without vaginal penetration can be resumed as soon as your desire returns. However, there should be no vaginal penetration for six to eight weeks, depending on the type of surgery. Ask your doctor about when or if you are concerned about this. They can provide you with valuable help or direct you to another professional.
Sometimes women, even those without a uterus, may experience slight bleeding a week after the procedure. This bleeding is caused by the loss of one or more stitches in the vaginal fund, a frequent and minor phenomenon.
Others may have a yellowish discharge, sometimes tinged with blood, and sometimes foul-smelling. This is part of the normal healing process. Douching is prohibited.
It is possible that analgesia, anesthesia, decreased appetite and decreased activity may cause constipation. In this case, drink plenty of water and do not hesitate to buy products at the pharmacy, available without a prescription, which make the stools softer. It is easier to prevent than to cure constipation.
The first medical appointment
Depending on the type of surgery you have had, you will see the doctor again within a week to two months after leaving the hospital. During this visit, the doctor will find out about your recovery, check the condition of your wound and perform a vaginal examination. Prepare your questions.