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My Own Post-Op Recovery Guide

I’ve learned a lot about recovering from surgery in the past few years – as I am now a veteran of three c-sections; gallbladder removal; gastric bypass; bowel obstruction; tummy tuck; and brachioplasty.  There are some comfortable surgeons riding around in luxury cars thanks in small part to my health insurance.

I have yet to walk into one of these surgical offices, though, and have them give me a real life guide to what you need to know in recovery.  I’ve compiled a short list myself of the things you need to know.  Consider these specific to my recent surgery, where the use of my arms and back has been restricted, but feel free to apply these lessons to any surgical recovery:

Drying your hair –

You’ve just spent thousands of dollars on plastic surgery so that you’ll look your best.  Good luck with that, honey, because for the next few weeks, the back of your head is gonna look like a nest of rats lives there.  You won’t be able to reach to dry your hair, properly brush your hair, or even scrunch your hair so it looks like you intentionally want your hair to look like a rat’s nest.  Invest in a wig.

Smacking your husband –

You know you’re gonna have to do it – because husbands have just a certain way about them that irritates the crap out of you at a time when you least need your crap to be irritated.  He’ll make fun of the hair you can’t properly fix, or he’ll laugh at you as you are trying to squeeze your swollen, uncomfortable self into something cute and slightly sexy, so you at least feel somewhat human.  The temptation will be there, and I understand.  You want to haul off and smack him, as hard as you can, preferably into an unconsciousness that will last until you are totally healed.

Stop right there, girlfriend.  Hauling off and smacking your husband is going to be more pain than it’s worth – seriously.  You risk opening up your incisions, and that could get ugly.  Don’t do it.  Instead, spike his drink with a bit of your pain meds, and hopefully, that will knock him out long enough for you to get some peace and quiet.

And Speaking Of –

Let me take this opportunity to recommend a conversion to an all liquid, no waste diet.  Attending to the, ummmm, necessary routines of hygiene have just become outrageously difficult, and the aforementioned ass of a husband will either flat out refuse to assist you in your post lavatory needs or make fun of you mercilessly.  As we’ve already determined, smacking him is not an option.  I opted to, ummm, hold it in until I could attend to things myself.  Perhaps investing in a bidet??

It doesn’t matter how good your insurance is –

Visiting nurses will not come to your house and help you to apply your eye makeup.  And – go figure – the emergency room doesn’t consider this OBVIOUS emergency to be an OBVIOUS emergency – even if you tell them it’s the new LashStash mascara from Sephora.  And believe me, if you’re like me, it takes a while to cake all that makeup on your eyes to hide the wrinkles and dark circles, and your arms get tired while they’re bandaged.  Skip Sephora and head for Sunglass Hut.  What you can’t see in the mirror won’t bother you nearly as much.

Cherish Your Children –

I have to thank my girls for being so helpful these past few weeks.  Eilis made dinner last night by herself, and Granuaile is always throwing on her apron to help out with things in the kitchen.  Of course, you know they aren’t doing it out of the kindness of their hearts – they’re hoping there’s a puppy in this as a reward…



2 Replies to “My Own Post-Op Recovery Guide”

  1. Anna…..I totally agree on the husband front. Whenever I’ve had surgery (2 c-sections, hysterectomy, gastric lapband, breast reduction), I have left my husband home, or sent him far, far away, and I’ve enlisted the loving arms of my mother to help me. I specifically remember him standing at the bathroom door, checking his watch so that he didn’t miss his fishing boat, while I cried on the commode because the pain meds had rendered me “poopless.” Then of course, there was the time that he had to leave the hospital when he came to visit because my morphine had me so loopey that I was trying to put my nasal oxygen aparatus in my ear. Instead of helping me find the right orifice, he chose to leave because he was embarrased. Just be patient because someday, for some reason, THEY will need us to help THEM….whahahahahahahaha……..BTW, I think it’s awesome what you’re doing. I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to get the same procedure done. Does insurance cover any of it?

    1. Thanks so much for the words of encouragement – it may just help my husband to live another day, as he was teetering on the brink of assisted suicide after this morning’s dressing changes. Almost all of my incisions have opened up, and we’re having to do wet to dry packing of all the open wounds – he’s so not good at it!

      Insurance covered my panniculectomy – the part of the tummy tuck where they remove the “apron” of hanging skin. I paid a little bit more to have the full tummy tuck. For this procedure, I know of people who have gotten their arms (brachioplasty) covered, but I was trying to time the surgery with my spring break, and knew there would be appeals involved, so I opted to just pay for it.

      I have to say, the surgeries have not been as expensive as I expected them to be; and if you ever want an amazing surgeon, I can’t recommend mine highly enough. I honestly could have just done the panni and been happy – that was the worst part of the hanging skin!!

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