Colostomy: A Patient's Perspective (cont.)
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So You Made It Home
Now that you are home keep walking regularly (often). It is just as important to walk at home as it was in the hospital. The more walking that you do the sooner you get to feeling better. Take any medications when you are supposed to, the doctor didn't prescribe them as an exercise, he prescribed them because they are part of your recovery therapy and he expects you to take them.
Once you start feeling a little stronger you might try backing off the pain pills a little so you don't become too dependent on them. You will find that after a few weeks you won't need them and if you have been doing your exercises, you are getting around pretty well. It seems to take about six weeks for everything to feel OK. I have my own business and I didn't have the luxury of taking time off of work so I had to work lightly after I had been home for about a week. After two and a half weeks I was working at about 80% and after five weeks I was working normally. Again it is important to not over exert yourself and when you get tired, take a rest or a nap. Your recovery attitude will dictate your recovery speed for the most part. It seems like it was about 2 1/2 months before I went through the whole day and didn't think about any aches and pains. After about 4 months I felt really good (normal). I understand that with such a serious operation it probably takes about a year to really recover and for everything to be normal.
You may notice that your incisions leak or bleed a little. This is not unusual and it should not last long, but always consult your doctor if you are not sure or you are uncomfortable about it. Always keep your incisions clean.
By couple of weeks after your operation your doctor will remove your sutures or staples. You may notice that the area around the incision is hard and irregular. Don't worry about this, time will take care of it. After a few months, the lumps and irregularities will even out and the hard area will become less hard. Like the saying goes "Time Heals All Wounds", there is a lot of truth to it. You can try a lotion with vitamin E and lanolin to help soften the skin and reduce itching.