This week marks my sixth week post-operation. The recovery process has taught me a great deal about patience and about appreciating little victories. Many, if not most of us, will need to undergo surgery at some point in our lives, so I have compiled my observations for those who may be preparing to start their post-surgical recovery journey.
Appreciate the Baby Steps
- One of the most important lessons you can take to heart while recovering from surgery is to appreciate the small progressions you make in regaining your strength and mobility. When you go from being unable to walk to being able to bear 40% of your body weight on your operative leg, that is something to feel good about! While I was still wishing I could go for a run or go hiking, I had to practice patience and appreciate my baby steps in the progression towards walking normally.
Caregivers Should Learn to Practice Patience Too
- When recovering from surgery, there will be days when you are just going to be fed up. You’ll be tired of depending on people for assistance in tasks that were once easy for you to do on your own – getting in and out of the shower, standing up from a seated position, getting in and out of the car, etc… Keep in mind, this is a temporary phase, but it may cause you to feel angry, sad, or depressed nevertheless. Friends, family, and caregivers can help by understanding how this lack of autonomy can be tough on the patient, and they can practice patience by allowing the recovering patient to express this frustration openly.
Be Kind to Yourself
- When you’re not progressing as planned or when you have a “bad” day (needing ice, having a lot of pain, feeling like you’ve taken a step back), take a moment to thank yourself and your body for the progress you have made. If you need a day “off,” discuss this with your doctor or physical therapist. They will most likely reassure you that this is normal to the recovery process, and you should take the time you need to get back on track so you may begin moving forward again. Be kind to yourself and give your body and mind the time and patience they require to progress at their own pace.