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Author Topic: Operation date  (Read 1345 times)
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« on: January 27, 2012, 11:51:33 AM »

I am having a Laparotomy and Right
Hemicolectomy on Monday morning (30th) at 08:00.
Anyone been through this and can give me any advice on, recovery, pain, diet etc.

I have spoken to surgeon & nurses, but I think it is better to get the information from someone who has personal experience.
Sr. Member
Posts: 296

« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2012, 03:29:15 PM »

Hello Sparky,
Thank you for your post. Good luck with your operation on Monday. I hope it goes well and that you make a full and speedy recovery.

It might be helpful to have a look at our booklet "your operation" which will give you an idea about what to expect for your surgery, while you are waiting for others to come back to you.

A laparotomy is a big operation on its own, so you are likely to wake up again after your surgery with a drip in your arm so you can have fluids directly into your vein. You will also have a urinary catheter in place so that you dont have to worry about having to pass urine while you are in the acure recovery phase, and so the nurses and doctors can make sure that you are not getting dehydrated.

For the first 24 - 48 hours or so, you are likely to have an epidual in place to manage your pain, and it is really great because, although you wont be able to feel or move your legs either, you will be very comfortable.

Sickness and other problems are usually managed really well with medicines if you need them, and you wont be allowed to eat or drink anything again until your bowel starts moving.

You will be encouraged to get up and start moving around again, once they take the epidural out and you can start to feel your legs again. At that point, they will aslo probably take the catheter out too, becuase you will be able to control your bladder again too.

From personal experience, the most difficult bit after that is to keep mobile and move around in bed. YOu have to keep active, and you will have pain killers, but you are going to get very tired, very quickly, with the effort of doing even simple things for yourself, so you have to find a routine where you do a little then rest a little. Lying down is often easier that sitting down, and the hospital electric beds are great at helping you to change your position.

Make sure you get your painkillers regualry, and dont wait for the pain to come back before you ask for them, because that just makes you feel more poorly. Equally, do as much as you can to help yourself, and when they say you can start to drink, and then eat again, do it slowly and steadily and stick to very bland food and drinks initially that are easy to digest. Drinking is VERY important.

Apart from that, top tips for a hospital stay are:
Ear Plugs - hospital wards are noisy places 24 hours a day!
Minty chewing gum - helps with a dry mouth and with the wind factor!
Snacks and non-fizzy drinks, and your own tea bags for herbal teas - fennel and peppermint are good
Books or other reading materials
Music MP3 etc
Money for the trolley
Spare PJs and a very big, baggy dressing gown
Slippers - because you do have to walk up and down the wards to get mobile again, and in the loos!
Wet wipes or other preferred wipes for freshening up
Little disposable toothbrushes like the ones you get in service station loos
And your mobile phone or laptop to keep in touch with the rest of the world!

I am sure others will add their own top tips too.

Good luck, and do keep in touch and let us know how you get on!


Lilian Wiles
Head of Patient Services
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It's good to be alive!

« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2012, 12:55:46 AM »

Hi Sparky! Welcome to our forum and sorry that you've had cause to seek us out!

Lilian as usual is spot on with her advice and there is little I can add.

Visitors:- Make sure someone co-ordinates who comes, when and for how long they stay, I couldn't believe how tired visitors made me feel and it's not easy to ask them to go. After your op one of the side effects of the anaesthetic is you get very emotional, which is heightened by tiredness and pain

Pain:- As well as an epidudural another form of pain relief post op is morphine administered through a pump (or something!) that you can top up yourself by pushing a button, the nurses will explain how to do it if you have this regime. As Lilian says, do keep on top of your pain, after one surgery I thought I'd 'be brave' and do without my pain relief and couldn't work out why I felt so rotten...... until one of the nurses on here said, "Alison, you are taking your pain killers aren't you?" Doh!

Diet:- If you haven't already been told about diet after your operation make sure you know exactly what foods to eat and what are 'No, no's'! I didn't know and suffered badly! Basically as Lilian says, stick to bland food, you will be guided for the first couple of days, but may be left unaided in your choices after that, it seems to differ from hospital to hospital. Bland foods are soups without 'bits' in (at first) especially veg, white bread, white pasta, plain white rice, milk dishes like yoghurt, custard, rice pudding, then a bit later onto chicken and fish, mashed potato, plain biscuits. Once you've established that you are Ok on these sorts of foods, gradually introduce other meats and a few veg that mash, mostly root veg, chew everything very well and you will grow more confident with each new food you introduce. If you have problems, start a diary and this may show some pattern. Don't do as I did on day 4 in hospital and eat a lovely healthy salad with loads of raw onion! I enjoyed the meal very much, but paid for it by being extremely ill for over 3 days after! If you have an ileostomy/colostomy and have very watery stools eat marshmallows and jelly babies, they help thicken the stools.

Clothes:- After your op you will be very tender around the tummy area, my surgeon told me they are quite rough with the instruments inside you, twisting and turning them all the time! So you end up quite bruised and swollen for a time so take very loose pyjamas with you and invest in jogging bottoms or trousers with elastic in them and probably a size bigger than you would normally use for your journey home and for recuperation at home.

At home:- Sleeping when you get home can be quite a problem as you get used to the electric beds Lilian mentioned, which enable you to sleep/rest with your legs bent at the knees and your back and head raised. Of course at home you just have a flat bed, you probably have a few spare pillows to put behind your head/back to let you lie in the sitting position, but a 'V' shaped pillow is better and if possible try and get a 'wedge' to put under your knees or at least a couple of pillows so that you can bend your knees. If you try to lie too flat straight away, it will pull at your stitches/clips and be uncomfortable in the already bruised tummy area!

It's not all doom and gloom though, if you're well prepared recovery can be steady, but take each day at a time, don't run before you walk, don't expect miracles, eat sensibly, little and often, drink plenty, especially water, try and walk a little each day and go a little further each day, when you feel like it set goals and when you're tired tell the family! You don't have to be brave all the time!

Best of luck, do let us know how you get on and ask any other questions as and when they pop up!

Best wishes, Alison

Come with me on a journey, no map, destination unknown and I'll travel your path with you. We'll hold each other up when the road gets steep, we'll laugh and cry along the way, because I feel your pain and you feel mine.
Feel free to read my blog:-'Why not me?'
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Posts: 244

« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2012, 10:22:36 AM »

Hi Sparky

Good luck with the op, follow all the advice on this forum  and you'll be fine. I went in for my op being told I would be 14 days - but i escped after 5 days - wanted my own bed and home comforts! It wasnt all plain sailing but if you take it a day at a time and keep reminding yourself of the small steps you are making to recovery you'll get there . Also try to be as fit and healthy as you can before you go in. Keep positive

take care

stef x
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