Operation 21

Help your body recover from surgery or serious illness

Surgery and sickness are great tribulations to the body. With proper rest, exercise, and diet, the body recovers from stress.

How to prepare for future surgery?

Surgery causes a stress reaction in the body that is stressed both physically and mentally. Therefore, it is advisable to take care of the good general condition well in advance of the surgery.

You should check that there are no hidden infections in the body that would slow down recovery. For example, teeth must be treated before surgery.

Generally, before surgery, blood samples, including hemoglobin, are taken. It checks that the patient is not suffering from anemia. If the value is low, iron medication is prescribed. It is important that the blood has enough iron to support the recovery of the body. Smoking must also be stopped before surgery.

How surgery affects the body?

In anesthesia, people are artificially anesthetized, and breathing is supported by giving pure oxygen to the facial mask.

In particular, the anesthesia affects the respiratory and circulatory system. After surgery, it takes some time before the vital functions return to normal. There is also a wound and the healing usually takes 5 to 10 days.

In addition to the physical strain, it is important to take into consideration the mental side. Cuts frighten nearly everyone in advance. Some of the fear can be so powerful that it hampers normal everyday life. Untreated fear and anxiety hinder recovery.

What are the main things about recovery from surgery?

Immediately after surgery, it is important to avoid creating additional problems. The patient should be honest to the nursing staff. Then, possible pain can be treated effectively, and the healing process will also be the best start.

It is very common for patients not to mention their pain because they are afraid of prolonged stay in hospital. In fact, effective pain relief reduces body fatigue and at the same time accelerates recovery.

In addition, after the surgery, various pleasure substances have to be avoided. Smoking and alcohol consumption should be kept to a minimum, as they may slow down recovery.

What kind of diet will help before and after surgery?

A normal, varied diet is enough for most people. Dietary supplements are usually not needed because they are at risk of overdose. The nutritionist may, however, provide personalized guidance to those in risk groups.

Immediately after surgery, it is important to drink enough fluid, as drying slows down the recovery. It is also good to eat plenty of fiber. Painkillers often cause constipation, and the fluid together with the fibers helps the feces stay loose.

The wound needs protein to be able to heal and therefore it is important to eat meat, fish or legumes in the main meals. For example, you may eat dairy products such as yoghurt, such as protein.

What kind of exercise will help recover from surgery?

Immediately after surgery, it is important to move as soon as possible. In the bed you can already swing your hands and feet and rotate your joints to keep them moving. After that it is good to walk in the hospital corridors and, if possible, go outside.

The vertical position accelerates recovery and improves mood.

When the wound has already begun to heal, it is best to make calm muscular movements with small weights. Later, it is worthwhile to train the muscles that are particularly stressed in surgery. Exercise instructions are usually taken from hospital physiotherapists.

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What are the most important things when recovering from a serious illness?

It is important not to be left alone with the illness. In difficult times, person needs support. It can be provided by a family member, relative, friend, or professional.

If there is not anyone to talk to nearby, you can also get help from a hospital pastor for example. With the hospital pastor you can talk about all the things that matters and those do not have to be religious in any way. In addition to speaking, your own feelings can be clarified by writing a diary, for example.

What kind of diet can help to recover from a serious illness?

The most important thing is to keep your diet as varied as possible and your meal rhythm steady. A good rhythm is to eat something every 3-4 hours to keep the digestive system running. For example, berries and fruits are a good source of recovery because they contain a wide variety of nutrients.

However, symptoms of many serious diseases include loss of appetite for food. If you do not crave to eat anything, it's important to eat atleast something than fasting altogether.

What kind of exercise will help to recover from the illness?

Exercise must be proportionate to your own condition and endurance. If you have to be lying down, you can wave your hands and feet and make the moves you can at that moment.

If you are able to stand upright, walking and climbing stairs are good for you. In addition, yoga-like types of body care are good because they can move completely at their own pace. Walking outside in nature may also stimulate the mind.

How can you protect against infectious infectious diseases after surgery or illness?

After surgery, it is very important to take good care of the hand hygiene. Most pathogens get infected by the hands.

It is also advisable to avoid contact with possible catheters or wounds. Viruses and bacteria can easily penetrate the body from the broken points of the skin.

Both after surgery and in the case of an illness, it is good to use only personal hygiene products and to ensure that the clothes, linens and towels are clean.

In a hospital, you should make sure that the visitors are healthy so they will not accidentally bring any extra bacteria to the patient. It is also not advisable to sit on a patient's bed so that external bacteria can not infect the patient.

How to recover mentally if surgery or illness has affected self-esteem?

Some of the surgeries leave external traces, and those can be psychologically very stressful. For example, scars in the visible areas of the body or breast removal will inevitably change the body image.

Usually talking with the family members helps. However, if you feel that you no longer want to be around people, you should go talk to a professional.

Sometimes the worst place you can be is in your own head.  Often the problem is in your own mind larger than what others feel. It is also worthwhile looking for patient organizations on the internet. They often have peer support activities where their own experiences can be shared with others.

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