Post Operative Instructions Following Your Surgery

By Leslie Kendall Dye

Keep leg elevated at a 36 degree angle. Take one aspirin daily to prevent blood clots. Please remember to rent the following prior to surgery, you daft creature: wheelchair, walker, crutches, bed tray, side table, voice-activated light switch, dank gray shower chair, and elevated toilet seat. Trust us. Elevated plastic toilet seats are the ticket. Just hope on your crutches you get there in time. Remember you will be completely helpless the moment you get home. Act accordingly.

Take the blue pills half an hour before taking the peach ones, but not 45 minutes before — then you are an asshole.

We are not sure how many of the peach ones you should take, but always cut them in half before taking one or five or eight. Take white pills in odd number amounts only. Take yellow pills to counteract side effects of white pills. You took them in even numbers, didn’t you? DIDN’T YOU? Now you have to wait it out. Something will happen. We aren’t sure what, so that’s why you have to wait it out.

Take the liquid stuff for nausea. Any liquid stuff. Liquid Plumr if that’s all you’ve got.

You’ll be fine. Do not look at the scar. If there is a jagged scar, we did not cause it, some other surgeon did. You were never even at our hospital. If the scar looks beautiful, never mind, that was us. Take six pink pills. We didn’t prescribe any pink pills, but it’s a pretty color, no? Always have ice. Raid Walgreen’s and construct an igloo. Think of post operative care as camping, but with more sobbing. Think of your pelvic bone as a twig that we snapped in two for your own good. Know every moment how lucky you are to have access to this kind of care.

If you begin to think of how much of this your insurance won’t cover, take more pink pills. Walk as much as possible while bearing no weight on legs. You need to walk or you’ll get rigor mortis. You also need to sit completely still, so the bone can heal. In fact, best not to walk. Don’t walk. But walk. Don’t bend your hip. Bend your hip or your hip flexor will shrivel up and never fire again. Then you’ll never walk again, which is fine because you shouldn’t be walking, the bone can’t bear any weight! As we learned in medical school . . . wait, we’ve forgotten everything we learned in medical school. Stop all narcotics the moment you leave the operating room, while making sure you are never in pain. Pain slows healing. Percocet slows bowels. You pick.

Take the pills before the pain reaches a 10, or you’re a goner. Treat the pain by the time it’s like a five, or maybe seven at the most. If you don’t think of pain in terms of numbers, we can’t help you. We can’t help you anyway, you just had surgery. The Liquid Plumr might help. Might. Anyway, stop with the pain pills, there’s an opiate epidemic. Just take Tylenol. If you believe, it works. No one believes, that’s the trouble.

Are you wearing the compression tights? No? You’re done for. Blood clot to the lung for sure. Have you begun lifting arm weights yet? Why not? Let us know if you find pink pills and also that little sea shell soap that used to be in our grandmother’s bathroom. Don’t eat sweets, you’ll get diabetes. Eat only meat — to renew the iron you lost in surgery. We told you about the bleeding out, right? We really thought the transfusion would help, but you still haven’t got a speck of iron in your body. We didn’t mention it? Never mind.

Just eat meat until you get gout. If you get gout, then you’ll know you’ve had enough meat. You can also get a condition called pseudo gout, which we recommend because what the hell? That’ll have your friends googling for six months. We advise not trying to sleep, why set yourself up for failure? Resolve to weep all night and you’ll feel accomplished by morning. Stay positive, but if you find a reason to live, stop kidding yourself. Plan to return to the gym in six months. We will not laugh in your face, only when you leave our office. Go take some blue pills, but don’t fucking wait 45 minutes to then take the peach ones! Call us if you have a question, no matter how trifling.

You won’t bother us; we never pick up the phone. Go to bed now, for god’s sake you’ve just had major surgery. But don’t sleep. If you can find a tolerable position, you can snooze for five minutes. (You won’t be able to, but anyway.) When you awake, let out a bloodcurdling scream because you are so stiff that a geyser of pain just poured through your very soul. This will release tension or cause the cops to show up. If the latter occurs, great, they can make you some tea. If the neighbors knock, yell that there’s a cadaver in your house. They might bring babke. Don’t eat it, you’ll get diabetes. Cry a lot. Cry enough that your face becomes unrecognizable, allowing for disassociation and with luck, a psychotic break. Either might ease pain. They won’t though. Still. Try crying.

We told you to get tissues, right?


Lead image: flickr /Earl

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