After hospital 

 

Preparing for the recovery period.

 

The goal is to create a healing, comforting and positive environment to ensure the best odds of a successful surgical outcome.  The following information has taken from Spine Health website:

 

Practical Support & Socialising

Someone to check on you in the early days of surgery

 

If you live alone, make sure you have people lined up to check in on you.  You will need a little contact, and if something is not quite right, your visitor will notice.

 

A friend or family member who likes to talk on the phone

 

Sometimes you just need to hear someone's voice on the other line.  Take this time to check in on loved ones you dont get to see or talk to often.  Ask them leading questions and lose yourself for a while in their lives, their achievements, news, problems etc.

 

A friend or family member who likes to text

 

Sometimes you may not be in the mood for a full conversation, but just connecting with someone via texting can make you feel less isolated.

 

Company

 

Once you are feeling a little better, invite friends and family over for short visits.  Anticipating their visits can be just as rewarding as the time they spend with you.

 

Help around the house

 

Arrange for extra help cleaning the house and taking care of the yard for a few weeks.

 

A ride to appointments 

 

Ask a friend to drive you to your follow up appointments or consider hiring a taxi.  This is especially important if you are on pain medications the first few times you go.

 

Online Sharing

 

Caringbridge.org is a website that allows you to connect and share news as you recover.  The website also helps setup and organise help with rides to appointments, meals and other tasks.

 

Help with your pets

 

A doggy door can be a lifesaver if you have a fenced back yard, allowing your pet to come and go as they please.  Otherwise enlist the help of friends, neighbours or a professional service.   If you have a college in the area, consider running an ad for a dog walker.  College students can be a more affordable alternative to a professional service.

Nutrition

High Fibre Foods

 

Post surgery constipation can cause significant discomfort.

 

Most pain medications, inactivity, anesthesia, and stress can all contribute to constipation. Women should try to get 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams per day. These are examples of foods that have 3-8 grams of fiber per serving:

 

  • Raspberries

  • Blueberries

  • Pears and apples with their skins

  • Prunes

  • Broccoli

  • Green peas

  • Baked potato with skin

  • Corn

  • Whole wheat spaghetti

  • Oatmeal

  • Air popped popcorn

  • Black beans

  • Lentils

 

Drinking lots of water is important too.

 

Dark Chocolate & Ice-cream

 

Release your inner endorphins with your favourite treats in moderation.

 

Healthy Whole Foods & Vitamins

 

Your body will heal much more efficiently if you eliminate junk foods as much as possible (besides the occasional dark chocolate and ice cream).  Ask your surgeon which vitamins to take before and after the surgery to promote healing e.g. calcium and vitamin D to foster bone growth.

 

Convenient Food & Frozen Meals

 

How about getting your groceries delivered either from your local supermarket or perhaps endulge with My Food Bag etc.

 

Before you go into hospital make a big batch of soup and freeze it.  Black bean soup or a hearty vegetable soup can be especially soothing and are loaded with healing nutrients.

Medications

Tylenol - Non narcotic pain relievers such as acetaminophen (active ingredient in Tylenol) do not contribute to constipation as narcotic pain medications do.  Ask your physician if / how you can incorporate acetaminophen into your pain control regime.

 

Prescription Pain Medicine - Most likely your physician will send you home with a prescription for pain medicine.  Make sure you know in advance who is going to fill your prescriptions for you once you get home.

 

Laxatives - Consider taking alternatives to laxatives such as KiwiCrush to aid constipation.

 

Medicine Organiser Box - You may be on several different medications after your surgery.  And you may be foggy.  Both are good reasons to organise your current medications into a medicine organiser box before your surgery.  Immediately after surgery, ask someone to help you add your pain medications or any other prescriptions your surgeon has ordered.

Special Equipment

Trash bags & Silk Pajamas

 

These slippery essentials make it easier to slide in and out of bed and the car.  Just place the trash bag on the surface of the bed or car so there is no friction as you slide into place.

 

Toilet Riser

 

A toilet riser will make it easier to get on and off the toilet.  It is a rounded piece of molded plastic that fits securely around the existing seat and increases its height by about 8 inches.

 

Cane or Walker

 

The sooner you are moving around the faster you'll feel better.  Canes and or walkers will add the support and security you will need as you take your first steps around your home and neighborhood.

 

Shower Chair

 

The heat and steam from a hot shower can make you feel better. Take full advantage of the therapeutic effects by spending extra time in the shower.

 

Gripper

 

Place grippers (also known as reachers or grabbers) strategically around the house so you can always get hold of things that may be out of reach. 

 

Ice Packs & Heating Pads

 

Heat and ice are a wonderful and simple way to alleviate pain.  

 

Back Scratcher

 

In the early days after surgery, you may be in too much pain to stretch enough to scratch your back (just not near the wounds).

 

Back Brace

 

Ask your surgeon whether he or she would recommend a back brace once you are up and about.  The brace can add additional support to your spine and muscles as you become accustomed to moving around freely after surgery.

 

Body Pillow

 

Everyone will have a different position they feel most comfortable in after surgery.  A body pillow may help comfort you and enable you to find different sleeing or reclining options.  When you're in bed, placing a pillow under your knees to keep them slightly elevated will help keep the stress off your lower back.

Entertainment

Movies

 

Splurge on a Netflix or equivalent subscription so you can watch movies as they are a wonderful way to escape and become engrossed in someone elses story - if only for a little while.

 

Music

 

Load up your devices with your favourite music.  Consider joining Spotify or similar :-).

 

General Wellness

Sleep

 

Your body will do most of its healing while you sleep.  Ask your surgeon for assistance with sleeping should you need.

 

Patience

 

Everyone's body heals at different rates.  Dont get frustrated if you feel you are not back to yourself as soon as you want to be.

 

Good attitude

 

Focus on the things that are going well.  Even if you dont feel well, try to be grateful for the little things - like all these things on this list.  Focus on the hope that this surgery worked and you are well on the way to a healthier happier life.

 

Massage Therapy

 

Masssage therapy can be extremely beneficial to the healing process.  Even if the therapist only focuses on your feet and legs, the benefit to your whole body as you relax and release tension.  

 

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