Home care after colon resection surgery?

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Since: Jul 12

Laguna Hills, CA

#1 Jul 27, 2012
I am scheduled to have a colon resection at the end of September. I have been told by my surgeon that I will probably stay at the hospital for 5 days.

My concern and question is this:

What kind of care do I need once I am released from the hospital? It is only my husband and myself at home. My husband works during the day and to be honest, he is not a very good caretaker.

Other than someone doing grocery shopping for me, do I need additional help?

I would be most appreciative for any advice you can give me.

Thank you!
Benjamin

Sacramento, CA

#2 Jul 27, 2012
Well, I am going in for a resection in 19 days, so I have been thinking about this, too.

Eighteen months ago, I had abdominal surgery which is supposed to be comparable to the pain, etc, of the resection. For that surgery, I was amazed to come home on only day two and find that I didn't need anyone to help me at all.

On day two, immediately upon my release, I stood in the pharmacy for my own medications, got home, stayed up all day (in a chair and walking around, not in bed!) watching movies and stuff. On day three, I went for a two mile walk. By the end of the day, I was walking two or three miles per day.

(Which is, by the way, the reason, per my surgeon, that I healed so fast: I walked a lot!)

Anyhow, LoveDusty, I live alone and was not at all afraid to stay home alone. NO problem at all. I just made sure that I had groceries and stuff - everything I needed - at home prior to surgery. Also, I did all the laundry, etc. I did put out easy-to-fix foods and stuff on the kitchen counter, thinking that maybe I wouldn't be strong enough to to bend over and get into cabinets and stuff, but that proved to be not the case.

Just make sure you don't lift anything heavy. I think the weight restriction is five pounds - and that means that a gallon of milk is too heavy.
Benjamin

Sacramento, CA

#3 Jul 27, 2012
Excuse me, I meant to say that 'by the end of the WEEK I was walking 2-3 miles per day'.

Since: Jul 12

Laguna Hills, CA

#4 Jul 27, 2012
Benjamin wrote:
Well, I am going in for a resection in 19 days, so I have been thinking about this, too.
Eighteen months ago, I had abdominal surgery which is supposed to be comparable to the pain, etc, of the resection. For that surgery, I was amazed to come home on only day two and find that I didn't need anyone to help me at all.
On day two, immediately upon my release, I stood in the pharmacy for my own medications, got home, stayed up all day (in a chair and walking around, not in bed!) watching movies and stuff. On day three, I went for a two mile walk. By the end of the day, I was walking two or three miles per day.
(Which is, by the way, the reason, per my surgeon, that I healed so fast: I walked a lot!)
Anyhow, LoveDusty, I live alone and was not at all afraid to stay home alone. NO problem at all. I just made sure that I had groceries and stuff - everything I needed - at home prior to surgery. Also, I did all the laundry, etc. I did put out easy-to-fix foods and stuff on the kitchen counter, thinking that maybe I wouldn't be strong enough to to bend over and get into cabinets and stuff, but that proved to be not the case.
Just make sure you don't lift anything heavy. I think the weight restriction is five pounds - and that means that a gallon of milk is too heavy.
Thank you for your response Benjamin. I will try and follow your example and try and walk as much as possible. I am happy that your recovery went smoothly. I also wish you a successful colon resection and recovery. I will be thinking of you and sending positive thoughts and prayers.

Again, thank you!
Benjamin

Sacramento, CA

#5 Jul 27, 2012
Thanks!

My best advice is to get up and walk around the hospital unit within 24 hours of surgery. My surgeons have admitted that people who walk, especially within the first 24 hours, heal fastest.

Best of luck to you!
DianaL

San Carlos, CA

#6 Jul 27, 2012
Not to rain on your parade but really, I highly suggest you enlist a friend or relative to be with you the first couple of days.

Of course it depends on how extensive this disease is for you, how healthy you are going into surgery and the extent of the surgery itself but come on, you need to give your body the BEST opportunity to heal as you can. Maybe you can do all sorts of things but that energy may be better spent resting and healing (and walking).

No time to be macho here. Let people help you and be the best patient possible.
Benjamin

Sacramento, CA

#7 Jul 28, 2012
It's not about being macho. Seriously. When I lie in bed after abdominal surgery, I hurt. Turning over makes me hurt. Getting in and out of bed makes me hurt.

Standing and walking - and even sitting up watching movies - does NOT make me hurt. In fact, I feel great when I sit or stand or walk.

My surgeons have repeatedly told me that those who lie around in bed after surgery have the slowest recoveries. We are just not made to lie around in bed. My surgeon just told me the other day, "The problem with patients and recovery is, they don't want to get up out of bed because of the pain, so they lie in bed all day." I don't plan to be one of those patients.

I don't have kids. When I come home from surgery, my groceries are ready, my apartment is clean, there are fresh sheets on the bed, my laundry is done, and my computer and Netflix are waiting. All I have to do after surgery is eat, sleep, watch movies, walk. And I don't need any help with that. Been there, done that.
DianaL

San Francisco, CA

#8 Jul 28, 2012
And that is your experience Benjamin. Again I say not realistic for many others and it is better to err on the side of taking it easy. I didn't just lie around and if you read these threads you'll see that the veterans all recommend walking. There are people on here who did too much, too soon and had set backs. Maybe your disease was not as extensive as others? Maybe you are very young and snap back quickly but for others, and those who ask, I personally would recommend they get assistance at home for the first couple of days so they can concentrate on rest.

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#9 Jul 28, 2012
Benjamin,

You shouldn't need any help. I was able to do everything for myself after getting out of the hospital (three days in the hospital and had open surgery, 11 inches removed). I walked out of the hospital room, down the elevator, and out to the car by myself (with a 10-lb bag slung over my shoulder). I was 59 1/2 at the time. I walked into the pharmacy to get my Vicodin prescription on the way home, but since I had open surgery and a leakage at the belly button a week later (that lasted for two weeks until the little hole healed up), I took the Vicodin regularly for about four weeks. As long as I took Vicodin, I was fine. I did lay around in bed a lot, though, watching movies on Netflix. A friend stayed here for a few weeks, but I really didn't need her help. Your situation might be different, but I have a feeling you'll do just fine. Good luck!
Mom

Overland Park, KS

#10 Jul 28, 2012
I had my resection in April. I wound up with an unexpected illiostomy. I am still dealing with complications. I have been able, since right aft the surgery, to manage things like showers, and able to walk. I have trouble with up and down, rolling over, etc. I still have a hole in my abdomen that is a complication from the illiostomy take down. I have had help. My family and friends and my church have been a big help--and thank goodness. I was instructed to increase my daily protein intake to 1.5 grams of protien times my ideal body wait. It has helped me heal some of my various surgical wounds from the resection and complications. Having people around helped keep my spirits up. I would recommend, if your husband isn't a natural born caretaker that you invest in some frozen dinners you like that have high protein that he can just microwave for you. Buy some protein bars and boost/ensure to drink. Ice helps with the discomfort. If you freeze a couple two liter bottles with water in them, it will reduce pain and stay frozen for a long time. Greek yogurt has 12 to 14 grams of protein and other nutrient without having to eat much in volume. You can prepare some meals in advance so they just have to be warmed. Netflix is a big help. I have kept moving as it does help with healing, but be smart about it and don't do anything without talking to your surgeon about it. The hospital will have a dietitian. Ask to see her/him. If you have others to help, ask them.

Since: Jul 12

Laguna Hills, CA

#11 Jul 28, 2012
Thank you all for your suggestions and advice. I really appreciate it!
Benjamin

Sacramento, CA

#12 Jul 28, 2012
Great advice, everyone.

Since: Jul 12

Laguna Hills, CA

#13 Aug 11, 2012
My husband and I had dinner a few nights ago with a friend( he is now 59 years old) we had not seen in a few years. He told us he had a colon resection a year ago.

The reason I am sharing this with you is because of his recovery time. It was ONE WEEK before he went back to work! I could not believe it. But of course knowing him well, I do. He is a man of few words and not one to exaggerate.

His resection was due to a cancerous tumor that was luckily and accidentally found in his colon while he had an emergency appendectomy. What a blessing.

He told me that it is very important to get your core ( abdominal muscles) in shape before surgery. This, he says makes a world of difference. Also, as Benjamin recommended, to walk as much as possible.

He now eats just about anything except stays away from high fat foods.

I am in awe of him and I hope to be as lucky as he for my upcoming surgery. even if it triple his recovery time.

Since: May 12

Location hidden

#14 Sep 1, 2012
Benjamin wrote:
Great advice, everyone.
Benjamin

Have you had the surgery?

Please let us know how you are doing. I hope well
Sick and Tired

Kodak, TN

#15 Sep 8, 2012
How amazing Benjamin! You must have some super healing powers. I had a perforated colon, was cut from above my belly button, approx five inches, to my pubic section..Twenty eight staples and I did not get out of the hospital for eight days and they did not want to release me then, I insisted. I was back in the hospital the following Friday. I consider(ed) myself to be a fairly strong woman. I could do the work of any man, and I do mean any, but this surgery has kicked my ass. It has been one year and three months, I am basically home bound. Why? I can't leave the house because of the bowel incontinence and PAIN! Also, a direct result of the surgery I now have a hernia, that flares every single time I try to push a vacuum cleaner. Every day is hell for me, not everyone is skipping rope and walking three miles a day in a week or two after this procedure. There are always two sides to every story, in my case, I wish there wasn't!

Since: Jul 12

Laguna Hills, CA

#16 Sep 8, 2012
Sick and Tired wrote:
How amazing Benjamin! You must have some super healing powers. I had a perforated colon, was cut from above my belly button, approx five inches, to my pubic section..Twenty eight staples and I did not get out of the hospital for eight days and they did not want to release me then, I insisted. I was back in the hospital the following Friday. I consider(ed) myself to be a fairly strong woman. I could do the work of any man, and I do mean any, but this surgery has kicked my ass. It has been one year and three months, I am basically home bound. Why? I can't leave the house because of the bowel incontinence and PAIN! Also, a direct result of the surgery I now have a hernia, that flares every single time I try to push a vacuum cleaner. Every day is hell for me, not everyone is skipping rope and walking three miles a day in a week or two after this procedure. There are always two sides to every story, in my case, I wish there wasn't!
Sick and Tired, So sorry about your experience(s). A perforated colon is nasty. Thank you for sharing your story and I do hope you continue to heal and that your bowel incontinence is resolved.

Sending you lots of positive wishes.
Colmel

Chattanooga, TN

#17 Jan 25, 2013
This is great advice, did anyone get a walker for the first week? My doctors nurse suggested it. She said it was a great help when getting up from a sitting or laying position. I will have someone in the house with me during the day but they sleep (works midnights) so I really don't want to have to wake them to help me get up and down
Thanks for any advice

Since: Jul 12

Laguna Hills, CA

#18 Jan 25, 2013
Colmel wrote:
This is great advice, did anyone get a walker for the first week? My doctors nurse suggested it. She said it was a great help when getting up from a sitting or laying position. I will have someone in the house with me during the day but they sleep (works midnights) so I really don't want to have to wake them to help me get up and down
Thanks for any advice
A walker is great idea. I used a stepping stool( a child's stool) to help me get out of bed. I had a small sturdy table next to my bed along with the stool. When I need to get out of bed, I would place my feet on the stool, grab onto the table and use my arms to help me get up and out. I also had a cart on wheels next to my bed that would hold my medicine, a carafe of water, tissues, my computer and anything else I needed during the day and night. I have an adjustable bed and it was a tremendous help. I would divide my days between resting and walking. It seems so long ago now but it was only 3 1/2 months ago. It was a long recovery and the pain was unreal but every day there was an improvement. My advice to anyone is to have patience, do not compare yourself with anyone else and their recovery , follow your surgeon's instructions, call him if you are truly concerned about your recovery, eat small meals, take good quality supplements, drink lots of water and walk, walk, walk.
Be good to yourself. One other thing that is not mentioned much is that it may take weeks for the anesthesia to completely leave your system. It can cause depression, tiredness and in my cause a heightened sensitivity to most emotions. Good luck
Colmel

Chattanooga, TN

#19 Jan 26, 2013
Thank you so much for your advice, I was recently in the hospital for 7 days due to the most recent flare up. During that time they gave me very strong pain meds, I came home and did not use them 48 hours later I had a total meltdown, I could not stop crying, and the thought of getting out of my bed was overwhelming !! Luckily I was much better in 24 hours, but it made me understand how ones body reacts to chemicals. Again thank you so much for your advice.
lovedusty wrote:
<quoted text>
A walker is great idea. I used a stepping stool( a child's stool) to help me get out of bed. I had a small sturdy table next to my bed along with the stool. When I need to get out of bed, I would place my feet on the stool, grab onto the table and use my arms to help me get up and out. I also had a cart on wheels next to my bed that would hold my medicine, a carafe of water, tissues, my computer and anything else I needed during the day and night. I have an adjustable bed and it was a tremendous help. I would divide my days between resting and walking. It seems so long ago now but it was only 3 1/2 months ago. It was a long recovery and the pain was unreal but every day there was an improvement. My advice to anyone is to have patience, do not compare yourself with anyone else and their recovery , follow your surgeon's instructions, call him if you are truly concerned about your recovery, eat small meals, take good quality supplements, drink lots of water and walk, walk, walk.
Be good to yourself. One other thing that is not mentioned much is that it may take weeks for the anesthesia to completely leave your system. It can cause depression, tiredness and in my cause a heightened sensitivity to most emotions. Good luck

Since: Jul 12

Laguna Hills, CA

#20 Jan 26, 2013
Colmel wrote:
Thank you so much for your advice, I was recently in the hospital for 7 days due to the most recent flare up. During that time they gave me very strong pain meds, I came home and did not use them 48 hours later I had a total meltdown, I could not stop crying, and the thought of getting out of my bed was overwhelming !! Luckily I was much better in 24 hours, but it made me understand how ones body reacts to chemicals. Again thank you so much for your advice.
<quoted text>
You are more than welcome. I fought having the surgery even though every emergency doctor that I saw and both my internist and gastro doctor recommended the surgery. I finally relented after I was experiencing one attack after another in a 4 month period. I was constantly on antibiotics and was on a low residue diet. I had a poor quality of life. Now I feel terrific. I have not felt this good in years. I went through hell but it was all worth it.

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