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The dos and don’ts of recovering from surgery

When you are scheduled for surgery, there is a tendency to focus on the procedure. While it is important to understand what will happen in the operating room, it is also imperative to come up with a plan for the days recovering after surgery. The surgeon can perform an excellent operation but he relies on you, the patient, to heal and regain strength for a successful return to an active life. Here are a few attitudes to avoid and a few to adopt during a time of recovery.

Recovery pitfalls:
Too much too soon – Having a positive post-operative outlook is great as long as your optimism doesn’t create unrealistic expectations. One common mistake is doing too much too soon. Thinking that you can return to work, start driving the car or resume your old routine ahead of the schedule the doctor recommends can create a setback in your recovery. If your physician says to focus on recovery for six weeks, then let your company know you will be gone and make your health a priority during that time.

Too little too often – The other recovery extreme is being afraid to do anything, which leads to staying in bed all day, skipping meals and feeling sorry for yourself. The big danger here is deconditioning. Every week spent in bed can result in a 20 percent loss in muscle strength. Getting up and moving needs to be part of every recovery plan.

Ignoring medications – It may be tempting to skip medications once you begin to feel better but there can be consequences. Take all medications at directed times during recovery, especially antibiotics.

Skipping therapy – Although you may think you can exercise without help, a therapist is an expert in moving you toward regaining strength and mobility. Therapists can gently increase intensity and provide a faster and more beneficial outcome.

Recovery recommendations:
Move with help –
 When the doctor gives permission, try getting up to move several times a day with assistance. Moving will help in preventing the formation of dangerous blood clots. During early recovery, pain medications can make you unstable or dizzy so even if you feel that you don’t need help, arrange to have someone nearby to assist you.

Care for the surgical site – Your surgeon will provide instructions for wound care that must be carefully followed to avoid infection. Always wash your hands before touching the incision. If you are unable to reach the wound site, you will need assistance in keeping it clean. Don’t use oils and lotions on the area or take showers unless you first get doctor approval.

Manage pain – Many patients are wary of pain medications due to the possibility of dependence. But during early recovery, pain needs to be managed for proper healing, better sleep, improved appetite, reduced depression and better mobility.

Prevent pneumonia – Coughing, deep breathing and use of an incentive spirometer should be part of a recovery plan. Anesthesia during surgery hampers the normal breathing pattern of your lungs, which may cause mucus to build up in the lungs. Coughing and deep breathing helps remove the fluid from the lungs and reduces the chances of developing pneumonia.

Eat to heal – Although your appetite may be decreased following an operation, the body needs nourishment to heal. Unless your doctor has prescribed a special diet, try eating high-protein foods that promote healing like chicken, beef, cheese and tofu. Drink lots of fluids and include high-fiber foods like fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Start with several small meals a day until your appetite returns.

Short-term care option

Even the most independent person needs help during a time of recovery. There are so many areas that need attention including pain management, wound maintenance, progressive therapy, proper diet and lung care. This is the reason many people choose to receive their post-operative care in a short-term rehabilitation facility where there is a team of professionals providing the best care possible.

One of the area’s best options for this type of comprehensive recovery is Glenview Terrace. Guests who choose Glenview Terrace for post-operative care will have access to board-certified medical directors and physicians from local hospitals to ensure continuity of care. Top therapists provide personalized, on-on-one physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapies to help you quickly and thoroughly recover from your surgery. A nurse practitioner is on-site to work directly with your physician to help quickly diagnose and manage your medical needs. Also, a rehabilitation nursing manager will guide your nursing team so you can reach the best possible outcome while the director of therapy oversees your therapy goals.

This period of recovery is set in elegantly appointed surroundings. Comfortable rooms with deluxe walk-in showers, satellite television and daily housekeeping services make your stay comfortable. Morning coffee and the newspaper are delivered to the rooms daily. An attentive concierge team is available to help fill special requests to make the stay as enjoyable as possible.

When surgery is in your future, make plans to recover at Glenview Terrace. For additional information or to arrange a tour, visit or call 847-729-9090.