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Care after surgery? Any comments, suggestions very welcome


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My wife Nancy asked me to see if the support community has any suggestions for post surgery care(Lobectomy & Segmentomy)..Will we need a private or visiting nurse initially?

Nancy has Lupus & Severe Leg & Knee Replacement, etc..

Any experiences that you could share would be gratefully appreciated..


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Tom be sure to do some walking each day. If its to cold outside then walk the length of the inside of your house. Also be sure to take your pain medication and drink plenty of water. Do continue to eat well. The post surgery recovery is a slow process, so take your time and allow your body to heal. Be kind to yourself and patient.

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I've had this surgery twice (UR lobe and a year and a half later, UL lobe). I've also had knee replacement surgery. Putting aside the implications of the two kinds of surgery, I'd rather be recovering from the lung surgeries. It's doable. Be sure to do all of the breathing exercises in the hospital and when you get home. Get out of bed in the hospital as soon as they say you can. Do lots of walking in the hospital - many short walks. Take the pain meds. Don't wait to see if you really need them. You will and they work better if taken before the pain begins. Take things easy when you get home. You probably won't have the energy to prepare your own meals at first, but there are lots of things to eat that don't take much prep. After the second surgery, I found that I was short of breath for a while. Don't worry (do tell your Dr., tho), it gets better. Good luck and let us know how things go. Could your wife post for you while you are in the hospital?


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I was in the hospital for nine days, my team couldn't get my pain under control. Just to prep you, when your chest tubes are removed, they'll tell you to take a deep breath - there just ain't a breath deep enough! :shock:

I was afraid to go to sleep when I got home from the hospital, I didn't think I'd wake up. I took all my medications right on time and didn't start tapering off the pain pills until a week after I got home. Getting comfortable is hard. I slept on our reclining couch because I "gurgled" if I tried to lay down flat.

I believe I used about four pillows and two blankets. Have a pillow (or a nice big teddy bear) to hold against your chest when you cough or sneeze. Continue with the spirometer when you get home, and follow ALL directions on straining, etc.

I am right handed and had surgery on my right side. I found my right arm to be rather useless - and I use it for some pretty personal stuff! I had a stool in the shower and my husband or my mother helped me with showers and washing my hair. I refused to ask for help with the "paperwork" - it's okay to be frustrated and cry in a closed bathroom... :wink:

One thing not told to me was that there is a pretty good chance you'll get acid reflux a week or so after the surgery. It's not real fun, share it with your doctor if you have it (prescription stuff helps), but don't worry too much.

Fatigue is common, as well. Nap when you're tired, listen to your body - to a point. Get up every day and dress, don't allow yourself to sink into a depression (this is something my doctor stressed to my husband - I had to get up every day).

PM me if you need more information, okay?

Take care,


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Hi Tom, I had my upper left lobe removed 6 years ago. Stay on top of the pain, take your pain pills regularly, don't wait for the pain to start or you will be too late. Drink lots, and lots of water. I slept in a reclining chair for the first week or so.

The hospital beds are not very comfortable so for my second surgery, I knew to request an air mattress to put on the bed. I was back to work in about 3 weeks (desk job).

Removing the chest tubes wasn't too bad for me - I have a trick - take your right hand and squeeze the first two fingers of your left hand....really hard. It takes the focus off of where your pain is (taking out chest tubes). Just take it easy and take care of yourself - I am sure you will be just fine.


Nancy B

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Hi Tom, Are you still having VATs? Hopefully it will be much less painful than the good old fashioned thoracotomy. Although lots of us had much pain, you may not. It really helps to have a family member there with you once you get into a regular room. I felt so alone those first few nights because my hubby left at 10pm.

I couldn't eat much the first few days, hubby brought me grapes and watermellon as the hosp food is very unappealing. You should have someone there with you when they bring back the pathology report, as you might not feel like paying attention. They won't let you pick up much more than 10 pounds for about two weeks when you get out.

It's sunday night…they like to do operations monday morning, maybe you'll be going in tomorrow morning. I will be praying for you starting tomorrow Tom. Barb

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Make sure you have somebody to do errands and light housekeeping, and meal preparation for you and your wife since she seems that she could also need some help around the house. Just make it easy on both of you. Just relax and get as much rest as you can until the pain subsided. You can do light exercises just by getting up and doing a marching band exercise infront of your chair. Just take it easy for a couple of weeks and you'll be fine. God Bless.



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