Recovering from a laparoscopic surgery varies from patient to patient. There's a general timeline for recovery, but don't feel bad if your progress isn't following that exact path.
We've created a list of 'Do's and Dont's' that will help you minimize your worry, ensure that you don't set your recovery back a step, and maybe even help you heal up quicker than scheduled.
Do: Take a Stroll
Try to start off every day by walking. At first, make it a casual stroll, perhaps to the corner of your street, and slowly ramp up the distance day by day. It's a great way to boost your blood flow and aid in the prevention of pneumonia and constipation.
Do: Take Time Off
It's recommended that you take approximately 2 weeks off from work. Of course, this depends on the type of work you do and how you are progressing with your recovery. A job handling heavy machinery is going to be challenging with the pain medication you will be taking. Advise your boss that you might not be 100% for a while, and don't be afraid to ask for more time off if you don't feel up to it.
Do: Change Your Diet
If you are experiencing an upset stomach, try bland, low-fat food such as plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, or yogurt. Drink plenty of fluids so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water, to prevent dehydration. Only drink water and other caffeine-free clear liquids for the duration of your recovery.
If you have heart, kidney, or liver disease, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink. Your bowel movements may not be regular right after your surgery, and this is a very common occurrence. Try taking a fiber supplement every day, or if you have not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, ask your doctor if you can take a mild laxative.
Do: Wash The Incision
The area of the incision should be washed daily with warm, soapy water and then gently patted dry. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol; these can slow down the healing process. You can cover the incision with a gauze bandage to keep it dry and not rub against your clothing. Be sure to change that bandage every day.
Don't: Push Yourself
This might seem obvious, but some people push themselves to get back to normality sooner than is recommended. Be sure to avoid strenuous activities at all costs! This means no bike rides, jogging, weight lifting, yoga, or aerobic exercise.
This also means that many household chores are off-limits. No lifting heavy grocery bags, suitcases, cat litter or dog food bags, or a vacuum cleaner. For those of you with children, this definitely means you cannot lift them up. You can go back to these activities when your doctor deems it possible.
Once you have stopped taking your pain medication, you can start to drive again. This is because you need to be able to move your foot from the gas pedal to the brake very quickly. You also have to account for sitting for long periods of time. It would be best for you to be comfortable for the duration of your trip. Even if you aren't planning a long car trip, you still might get caught in traffic!
Don’t: Stop the Course
If you have been prescribed antibiotics by your doctor, take them as directed. Don't stop taking them just because you feel better; you need to take the full course of antibiotics.
Don’t: Remove Any Tape
If your incision is taped up, leave it on for a week, or until it comes off itself. Everyone heals differently, and the main thing to remember is that you will recover from your laparoscopic surgery.
By following the above tips, you’ll be back in good health again in no time. If you have any concerns, doubts, or just want to ask questions about anything we didn't cover, feel free to contact us here. Or, if you want to check in with us to see if everything is healing up correctly, schedule an appointment with us!