For anyone prepping for a shoulder surgery, keep in mind that everyone heals and handles pain differently. As I stated in an earlier post, I had a full thickness rotator cuff repair that was 90% torn, plus an AC (acromial-clavicular) joint reconstruction. There was lots of scraping and cleaning out involved, so that contributed to elevated pain levels.
Some things to be aware of the first week or so post-op:
1) If you receive a nerve block (highly recommended), be prepared for an onslaught of pain as soon as it wears off. Think, runaway freight train. For me, that was at about 10 hours. I've been told that they can last up to 18 or 20 hours.
2) Allow yourself 5-7 days on pain meds around the clock. Seriously, my husband set an alarm and administered toast and pain meds every 4 hours. There are no awards being given out for least amount of time on pain meds. Your body has to adjust to all it's just been through.
3) Because of the breathing tube, my throat was extremely sore for several days, making swallowing and eating quite painful.
4) Be prepared to "sleep" in a recliner, or at least propped up, that first night. The nerve block spread in such a way that it affected my breathing. I felt like I couldn't take a deep breath for a day or so. Being upright in the recliner helped with that.
5) Prior to surgery, I bought a wedge for my bed so I could sleep propped up - much better than a bunch of pillows! I also purchased several strapless sun dresses that could be pulled up. You won't be able to wear anything that has to be pulled over your head. Men can easily cut the sleeve off of a t-shirt and safety pin the shoulder part together. I actually did this with a few large t-shirts to sleep in.
6) Women, you will not be able to do your own hair for several weeks. I ended up cutting 6 inches off my hair because it was too difficult to even wash it. You may want to plan on having some one available to braid or pony tail your hair. Head bands were a big help. Men, you get a pass on this one - lucky!
7) Have someone open your shampoo bottles in the shower for you and leave them that way until you regain your strength.
8) Set up friends or family to take you to therapy appointments. They will begin about one week after surgery. I was not cleared to drive until week 6.
9) Be mindful that this is a season of healing. It doesn't help to rush the process. Take care of yourself and nourish your body so it can heal well. You don't want to go through this a second time, that's for sure ;)
Until next time... Live well. Be Well. Love abundantly.