Today, I rode my bike for a short ride ( I know I was supposed to wait 10 days, but just had to ). This is my third surgery, ( falling apart ), for sure but here is what I have learned:
1) Get as fit as you can before the surgery. Work out, walk, ride, lift, stretch, do everything to prepare your body for the upcoming stress.
2) As soon as you can get out of bed safely after surgery, walk. Walk your butt off. Try to work up to 5 minutes per hour, then nap, and repeat. There is nothing like blood flow to help promote healing. We can’t do much, but I believe walking is one of our best options. It helps clear your lungs, avoids clots, brings meds and healing where it is needed. After all, how much TV can you watch anyway.
3) Breathe, deeply… when you are walking do deep abdominal breathing. This gets oxygen into you, ( which helps prevent infection ), massages your internal organs, and gets them blood since they have been asleep too while you were out. For me coughing was very painful, so I was able to clean the phlegm out of my lungs while standing by breathing in deeply though my nose, and steadily exhaling a strong stream out my mouth which pushed the mucus out without coughing.
4) Take fluids and eat. Recover, force yourself to eat and help your body restart after the anesthesia.
5) I am a big believer in going in with no extra scratches or openings to allow bacteria an entry point into my body, so I don’t shave for a week before surgery ( I have a beard, but I use clippers for my neck ), but on this one, I would have trimmed my chest hairs with a #1 clipper a week ahead of time. That gives it time to close up, and man that tape on my chest hairs was a real pain!
6) Be nice to the nurses. Make them want to help you.