Preparing for your Hysterectomy or Abdominal Surgery

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Sometimes things happen in life and catch us off guard.  Like being told you need surgery.  No one expects that to happen (well, those who do are an entirely different subject).  Thankfully when I was told I needed to have a hysterectomy I had two weeks to get myself and the house ready.  If you or someone you know is going to have surgery here are some things I did to prepare for post surgery when I knew I wouldn’t be able to do much.  My first post about my hysterectomy can be seen here and the second post is here.

Preparing the House

Typically I use the upstairs bathroom and spend a lot of time in the bonus room.  I knew the stairs were off limits for a while so I focused on the downstairs bathroom and living room as well as the kitchen.  One of the best things you can do is put everything you think you will need at waist level.  This eliminates reaching, bending and lifting.

Let’s start with the bathroom.  I placed a shelf on the counter by the sink for extra space.  My skincare went into a tray that I could easily move.  I had a folding chair in the bathroom to sit down when putting on pants, brushing my teeth, etc. (it was lightweight which made it easy to move around).  Our shower only has one small shelf so I added some baskets with suction cups at waist level.

 

In the kitchen I placed frequently used items on bottom shelves of the upper cabinets.  Any food I knew I would want was placed on shelves that could easily be reached in the refrigerator and pantry.  Don’t have a pantry?  Place things on a counter.  I know some people find it annoying to have things on the counter but I promise you will be glad you put it there.

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The living room is where I knew I would spend most of my time so I asked myself what would I want throughout the day?  The end table became my spot for things such as lip balm, hand cream, my face mist, kleenex, magazines, a nice candle, etc.  I kept a couple of blankets (one lightweight, one heavier) and lots of pillows.  I placed something at each end of the couch to act as an end table, and a tray on the ottoman.  I also had a power strip to attach several cords for things like charging electronics or a clock (I used my toe to turn the power cord on or off).

A few things that came in handy

  • A reacher grabber with rubber tips – my husband couldn’t be there every second so I kept one in a neutral place where it would be easy to get to.  Came in handy many times – including when I would drop a pill and had a dog on my heels.  Now it comes in handy when I drop something behind the dryer.

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  • lip balm – bedroom and living room
  • hand cream – bedroom and living room
  • slippers
  • cotton button up nightgown and granny underwear – my skin was sensitive after surgery so I couldn’t stand anything touching my skin below my waist.  I found if the underwear is cotton the elastic at the waist needs to be covered in the cotton fabric.  Light support brief panties are a good option and have worked the best for me.  My favorite have been Vanishing Tummy Retro Briefs by Soma (bonus: they have stay-put silicone strips on the back at the edges by the legs so there are no visible panty lines).
  • Body Pillow – this made it much easier to get comfortable in bed and on the couch.  I was able to lay on my side with the pillow.
  • Satin or Silk pillow case – good for your skin and hair, plus it’s more comfortable than the average cotton pillow case.
  • Facial cleansing cloths – the first few days I didn’t feel like washing my face so I had pre-moistened cleansing cloths that did not require rinsing (Koh Gen Do is worth the splurge)
  • Baby wipes for those first few days at home that a shower just feels like too much effort.
  • Prepare meals ahead of time that can be frozen and cooked later.  One woman told me she knew when she had her surgery people would tell her to let them know if she needed anything.  She posted on her Facebook account that she was having surgery and would appreciate meals.  She scheduled when the friends would bring meals so they didn’t all come at the same time.  My mother-in-law brought a few dishes of lasagna that my husband could thaw out and put in the oven.  I wish I would have thought of the social media idea!

There are many other suggestions on preparing for surgery but it partly depends on you, your lifestyle and how much help you have after you get home.

If you have any suggestions I would love to read your comments, or if you have any questions ask away!

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One thought on “Preparing for your Hysterectomy or Abdominal Surgery

  1. This is such valuable information. Thank you for another amazing post. And for talking about something important for women that isn’t talked about enough.

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