Thursday, March 28, 2019

10 Things You Need After a Hysterectomy

I had an abdominal hysterectomy on Valentine's Day. The recovery time for the surgery is six weeks consisting of a few nights in the hospital and then resting at home. I wasn't in much pain by the time I left the hospital, but I couldn't just go back to life as usual. Here are a few things that helped me feel more comfortable during recovery from surgery.

Maternity Panties: Your tummy is going to swell a lot. Plus, I found that the elastic waistband of my normal bikini briefs hit exactly at the incision spot, making them impossible to wear. Ask your nurse to hook you up with extra pairs of the mesh maternity panties before you are discharged. (You can also buy more mesh panties on Amazon.) They expand to accommodate the swelling and are incredibly comfortable.

Modeling mesh maternity panties during my second night at the hospital.

Pill box: At times, you may not feel very clear headed so you or a family member will need to prep your pain meds so that you avoid overdose. I used four sandwich baggies and labelled each with the time I was supposed to take the dosage it contained. If you need something child and pet proof, this 7 day, 4 times a day pill box seems perfect. You could also cram the baggies of meds in one child-proof pill bottle which you can probably get for free from your friendly pharmacist.

Pantyliners: These come in handy when experiencing light spotting and when confronted with the reality that you are moving slowly and can't make it to the restroom as quickly you could before surgery. Seventh Generation Pantiliners are a good choice since they're made without fragrances, deodorants, or chlorine processing.

Laxative: Anesthetics, pain relief meds, and not being able to walk much will constipate you. I've been drinking a cup of Traditional Medicinals Organic Smooth Move Tea each night before bed to get back on track. Small smoothies with greens and flax seeds (or a half scoop of fiber-rich vegan protein powder) thrown in are also really helpful, as are prunes.

Water bottle: It's important to stay hydrated when healing. Once I woke up from a nap and saw my cat Lucy drinking out of my water glass, I realized it was also important to use something with a lid. I love using this tumbler because the straw makes it easy to drink while reclining.

Throw Pillow: Place a small pillow or a stuffed animal on your lap when sitting and over your midsection (over the blankets) when sleeping. I did this and it kept my big lap cat Patrick from jumping onto my sore incision site. He's been respecting the boundary and cuddles up against my legs or in my armpit instead. Holding the pillow against you when you laugh, cough, or sneeze is supposed to stop it from hurting. That didn't really work for me--I almost split open watching SNL-- but it's worth trying.

Cozy Robe: Eventually the nurse will make you walk a bit down the halls of the hospital. Call ahead to see if your hospital provides robes. If not, pack a cozy robe or a long sweater in your hospital bag. Otherwise your mesh panty covered backside will totally be exposed in your hospital gown. Yikes!

Comfortable loose and/or stretchy clothes: You need clothing to accommodate your swollen tummy. I've been pairing Kuhl Mova pants (which feel like PJs but look like skinny jeans) with loose tunic tops. I've also been wearing Hue sweater tights (because they do not have a control top) under shift dresses. These are things I already owned. If you don't own anything that would expand to fit comfortably, check out thredUp. ThredUp is the largest online consignment and thrift store. There you can easily find new, like new, and gently-used popular brand clothing up to 90% off retail. (I reviewed it here.)

Sleep Mask: It's important to get plenty of sleep so that your body can heal while you're resting. This means you'll find yourself doing lots of day napping. A sleep mask and earplugs make the quality of sleep better.

Napping with Patrick. Pillow on tummy. Earplugs and pills nearby.

Step stool (or something like that): If your bed isn't under your butt when you stand up next to it, you'll need a little boost to get in and out of bed properly. I'm using a stack of two cork yoga blocks that I already had.

3 Totally Unnecessary Things That Will Make Absolutely Make You More Comfortable After A Hysterectomy

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Libby is my favorite app for borrowing audiobooks from the public library. It's super easy to use and getting started is fast and free. (No credit card needed!) Just be sure to sign up for a library card before your surgery! You can also check out e-books on Libby, but I've been too tired to read.

Robot vacuum: Up to six weeks after surgery, you're supposed to be taking it easy and not lift more than 10 pounds, which rules out hauling a vacuum across your home. Unfortunately, the pets are still shedding and crumbs are still falling. A dirty home stresses me out and stress is not conductive to healing. I let my Deebot robot vacuum take my troubles away! You can get a certified refurbished Deebot for under $100.

Glasses (instead of contact lenses): I totally regret not getting prescription glasses before my surgery. Multiple times a day, I experience the gross feeling of lenses sticking to my eyeballs after I fall asleep in them. If you wear contacts, do yourself a favor and get a pair of glasses. Glasses at Fetch Eyewear start at $95 and 100% of their profits go to animal welfare. Wear those to the hospital and wear those around the house while you recover.

Have you had an abdominal hysterectomy? What would you add to this list? Please share in the comments. If you or someone you love is considering having the surgery feel free to ask me questions about it too. I'm happy to answer!

Olivia Cleans Green is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon's website. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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