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Your Surgery Journey: Patient Guide

After Your Surgery

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​You and your family are an important part of the healthcare team. You can help yourself to feel better sooner and recover faster by being active, eating healthy, and drinking fluids. It’s also important to stay in control of your pain and nausea and keep your lungs healthy by doing breathing exercises. You can use tools such as whiteboards and handouts from your healthcare team to help you reach daily goals.

Be Active

Get out of bed as soon and as often as possible.

  • It may be hard to move around right after surgery but moving will help you heal faster. Moving soon after surgery can also lower the chance of having a complication such as blood clots or an infection in the lung (pneumonia).
  • In most cases, your healthcare team will ask you to get out of bed on the same day as your surgery.
  • Take short​ walks at least 3 times each day (after the day of your surgery) and try to add more activity each day.
  • Sit in a chair to have your meals.

Eating and Drinking

Eating and drinking after surgery can help you heal faster.

  • Eat and drink soon after your surgery to keep your energy up. Only eat as much as you feel like.
  • Drink oral nutritional supplements (such as Ensure Protein Max) several times a day. Think of these like a medicine that gives you extra protein and energy to help you heal.
  • Drink other fluids to make sure your body gets enough water to help you recover from surgery.
  • Your IV is removed when you are able to drink enough fluid on your own. It will be easier for you to move without an IV.
  • You are weighed every day to check if you are holding on to extra fluid (called fluid retention).
  • Chew gum because it may help get your bowels working again after surgery. If you can’t chew gum, you can suck on a hard candy.

Pain and Nausea

Make sure your pain and nausea are controlled so you can feel better sooner and recover faster.

  • Some commonly used pain medicines (opioids) have side effects such as drowsiness, nausea, and constipation (trouble having a bowel movement). These side effects can make you feel worse and lead to longer hospital stays.
  • Your healthcare team will work with you to keep your pain and nausea under control by offering you regular pain and nausea medicine.
  • The ERAS Care Pathway uses a combination of medicines to control your pain. Expect to have some pain after surgery, even when you take pain medicine.
  • The nurses will ask you to rate your pain using a pain scale from 0 to 10. Having no pain at all is a 0 and 1​0 is the worst pain you can imagine. Asking you to rate your pain will help your healthcare team know how much pain you are having and how it can be treated.
  • Good pain and nausea control helps your recovery so you can move around, eat and drink, feel relaxed, and sleep well. Let your nurse know if your pain or nausea makes it hard to move or eat.

Current as of: May 31, 2019

Author: Surgery Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services