This article is a collaborative post and includes affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Disclaimer – always verify medical information with your doctor or a professional and follow all laws for your location.
Please note: all articles are written on SimpleStepsForLivingLife are ONLY my opinions and should not replace that of a medical professional. This series of posts are about what I have learned from having surgery and being about to have surgery again. I am not a medical professional at all, please consult with your doctor or a medical professional when it comes to anything to do with your health.
That’s how long I’d been planning, waiting, and researching getting a tummy tuck, lift&augmentation, muscle repair, and umbilical hernia repair. Those six years included lots of time on RealSelf.com which is a website dedicated to helping inform people regarding any kind of plastic surgery procedure you could think of. It also has reviews and journals by people that have gone through procedures and has reviews of doctors. This is one of the ways I found my surgeon – Dr. Holly Wall (who is amazing!).
I just had my surgery three years after my first consult with this surgeon. I’m 3-1/2 weeks out, aka post op, and am going stir crazy. There was severe muscle separation and stuff sticking out where it shouldn’t have been just below where my belly button should have been the last 8 years. That’s part of the reason my lower back started breaking down and I had to have surgery on that. I cannot do anything to mess up my stomach after this surgery! Hourly, reminding myself not to lift this or that. Remembering to sit when I’m feeling a little tired or my stomach feels tight. Remembering to ask my kids to change the laundry, sweep, or other household chores that used to be ok for me to do.
It’s enough to drive anyone crazy!
There are only so many episodes of silly shows on Netflix I can binge watch. I’m halfway through my Suduko puzzle book.
Here’s my list of things to do while on semi bed rest –
- If you know surgery is going to happen ahead of time, try to prepare things to do before it happens. Initially, I was on a restriction to not lift anything over 5 pounds. That was recently raised to 10 pounds until 8 weeks post op. I prepared my art station with the heavy stuff put into place before surgery. Maybe you like to sew and need to setup your machine ahead of time. Maybe you are a gamer and need to setup your seating so everything is accessible. Whatever is your hobby, if it’s heavy to setup, go ahead before surgery and prepare it to use ahead of time so you won’t have to be lifting anything.
- Clean and back up your phone or computer memory. Mine is a mess. I have photos from the last several years that are not labeled or sorted or organized into folders. It’ll be great to have all of this done and what better time than while I can’t do anything physically demanding.
- Watch videos on YouTube that are educational. I’m hoping to hire someone to help me clean up our garage soon. So I’ve been watching videos about storage and organization ideas for the garage. I’ve also starting taking a class about how to identify the grade and value of pearls. When else in my life would I make time for something like this that is interesting to me but something I might never use.
- Read all those books you’ve never had time for. I have a stack of books that I’ve wanted to read for a long long time. And until I just started typing this, I had forgotten. Ok, there’s something fun I can do tomorrow!
- Have fun with some craft or art projects. The week before surgery I finished the background of a 4ft x 5ft mixed media artwork. I set it up to be able to sit in a chair and work on it during my recovery. This has helped my sanity so much. Other crafts can be done on a table top or if you like to crochet or needlepoint, you’ll be sitting or laying down for a while so this is a great time to work on these projects.
- Spend time playing card games, completing a puzzle, or playing board games. My kids love playing a card game called Trash and I don’t play it with them very often because it takes a long long long time. Having surgery has really helped put into perspective that I need to sometimes take a long long long time playing cards with my kids. It has been so much fun. We also started a chess tournament two days ago where all four of us play a game against each of us. So far I was tied with my oldest on a game and lost to my youngest. If I lose to my little girl, I’m in last place. I’m rethinking that chess camp they get to go to in the summertime. LOL
- Relax. In our society, relaxing means once a year you go somewhere for 1 week and stare at the ocean or mountain or frantically try to ride all the rides at your favorite theme park. Somewhere along the way, we have lost the art of relaxing. That’s something I have learned about myself in the past 3 weeks. Being forced to sit quietly should be relaxing, right? But in the back of my mind, I think of projects, and dirty clothes, and wanting to be in control of everything to make sure everything turns out “like it should.” Oh, how my arrogance annoys me. After surgery is really the only time in my life that I feel like, it’s ok to relax. Relaxing doesn’t mean I’m worthless. It means I’m recharging my batteries. I’m healing from my skin literally being peeled off my stomach, muscles that were at least 2″ apart being sewed back together, flesh being removed, insides being stuffed back to where they belong, and more. It’s ok to relax. And when I had back surgery where it wasn’t invasive at all, literally was a 2 in incision, that was ok time to relax. But what’s more, one day a week, when I’m perfectly healed up, it’s still a good thing to relax. We are even commanded to in the Old Testament part of the Bible(Exodus 20).
- Improve your health in other ways. Always wanted to improve your diet? Read up on nutrition and start meal planning. Suffering from an annoying neck ache? Schedule an appointment your local chiropractor after discussing with your surgeon on when would be a good time after healing from the surgery. Having trouble dealing with family issues from the past? Go to a therapist or start journaling. Nowadays, you can have a virtual or Zoom meeting with a therapist so if you are not able to get out of bed or can’t drive yet, you can still get help. Don’t let your enforced bed rest go to waste. It is probably one of the only times in your life when all you have to do is stay home and focus on you and a good way to keep from going stir crazy after surgery.
While you are healing, remember you are healing. It takes time for your body to be put back to working function whether that’s a couple weeks or a year plus. This is the time to slow down and stop to smell the roses of life. It’s not a time to worry about getting this or that completed. You are what needs to be completed. Don’t do too much that it destroys what the surgery was for and then prolongs healing even longer.
How do you keep from going stir crazy after surgery? Please share your ideas below… I could use them! 🙂
For more helpful Prepping for Surgery series articles, click here. For a FREE printable of questions to ask during your preOperation appointment, please leave your email address in the box below.
More articles about surgery …