Early days at home
When you are first discharged from hospital you will feel tired and find everyday tasks such as having a shower exhausting. This is normal and will improve over time. You should not need to stay in bed when you get home, but you will need plenty of rest, and should make time for a nap during the day.
You may experience some pain and discomfort initially whilst recovering from your surgery. This is a normal part of recovery and you may need to take regular pain relief. There is no need to suffer!
Avoid tight fitting clothing during this period as your abdomen may be sore and swollen.
It is normal to feel emotional after major surgery, so don’t worry if you have ‘down’ or ‘teary’ days to begin with. Talking to family and friends can be helpful – don’t feel you need to cope alone. Your Stoma Care Nurse is there to support you, and there are patient support groups who can help too.
Don’t be frightened to ask for help.
Changing your stoma bag will be slow at first, but with practice and as you gain confidence, this will become part of your normal daily routine.
Tips for early recovery
- It is advisable to go for a short walk daily.
- You should be able to manage stairs.
- Spread tasks over the day and rest in between, but remember you are likely to feel more tired as the day goes on.
- Do not lift anything heavier than a half-full kettle.
- You will be able to make small light meals.
- You must not drive in the early days after your surgery because you are still sore and may have restricted movement.
- Certain medication can affect your ability to drive.
Tips for ongoing recovery:
- Over the next few weeks, increase the amount of activity that you are doing as your body allows.
- Continue to rest when you get tired.
- Continue to avoid heavy lifting due to the risk of developing a hernia.
- If you do need to lift; keep the objects close to your body, bend knees and wear a light support garment. Your Stoma Care Nurse will be able to advise you.
- Household activities such as ironing can be done sitting down.
- Continue to walk on a daily basis, going further over the weeks.
- Avoid stretching up to reach high cupboards.
- You should be able to drive after 3–6 weeks, depending on your type of surgery but you MUST check with your insurance company.
- Continue the abdominal exercises you were taught in hospital.