Postoperative Day 1If your Surgeon feels you are ready, you will advance with your diet. You should start with clear fluids and avoid very spicy or heavy foods at first. Your family can also bring in your favorite foods for you. The hospital kitchen takes special requests for specific dietary restrictions, and will do their best to accommodate your diet.
Following a flap, you will still be on bed rest but will be encouraged to move your legs around in bed and to flex your calf muscles each hour. You will also be instructed on the use of an incentive spirometer (ICS) machine to help exercise your lungs while you are in bed.
Your bladder catheter will remain in place while you are in bed. As many of the medications you will be given will make you constipated, you will not likely have a bowel movement for the first three to five days after surgery. Do not worry about this! You will be given stool softeners and a laxative as needed if you have not had a bowel movement by postoperative day 5.
Subsequent Postoperative DaysDepending on how you are feeling and your Surgeon's instructions, your Nurses will help you get out of bed and in to a chair. You may feel some discomfort during this process due to the incision sites. The Nurse will encourage you to use your pain medication. This is all done to promote healing and your recovery.
When your Surgeon thinks you are ready, you will be transferred to the Medical-Surgical third floor (Med-Surg Unit). With each passing day, you will be encouraged to get out of bed more often and walk in the hallways, advance your diet towards a regular diet, and wean off IV fluids and IV pain medications, all in your preparation for going home.
As your diet and activity increase, you will also be expected to have a bowel movement prior to going home. Depending on your activity tolerance, your bladder catheter will be removed when your Surgeon feels you are able to get up and use the bathroom. Depending on how you are feeling, you may also be allowed to take a shower with a female attendant who can help you before you go home.
If you had an implant for reconstruction, you will be advised to avoid showering until the drain(s) are removed to avoid infection of the implant. You will be allowed to take a sponge bath, shower the lower half of your body only, and wash your hair in the sink with help.