In the hospital
- Take four or five pairs of underwear one size larger than you normally wear – your abdomen will be sore, and the looser waistband takes the pressure off.
- A drink bottle with a straw will make the first few days easier. The drugs from the operation will leave you feeling groggy, and you may not be able to drink out of a glass without spilling water everywhere.
- Hospitals are notoriously lacking in entertainment. Taking your own music and a set of headphones can help to pass the hours and potentially block out your noisy roommate.
- A few days of daytime television will leave you begging for a book. Take a couple in with you to avoid ending up with a well-intentioned copy of Twilight.
- Be prepared for the catheter. You will have it for a number of weeks after you are discharged from the hospital, so make sure you or a family member knows the dos and don’ts.
- Take your laxatives. After the operation you will be completely unable to tense the muscles in your abdominal region. The only way you will be able to use the toilet is if everything is flowing by itself. Stopping them early, even if you are feeling better, could be a very painful decision.
- Have a pair of braces on hand for the day you stop wearing pyjamas. Braces will be more comfortable than a belt for keeping your trousers up.
- Once they remove the catheter you will have varying degrees of bladder control. Be prepared for it by purchasing a packet of adult incontinence pads beforehand.
- At some point your doctor will show you how to do pelvic floor exercises. These exercises are designed to build up your bladder control again – doing them as regularly as your doctor recommends is the fastest way out of the adult incontinence pads.
- You must do the walking. Your doctor will tell you to walk a little bit as many times a day as possible. Walking will rebuild the muscles damaged in the surgery, and the more you do it the faster you will be back to full strength.