You may return to your normal diet immediately. Fluids, especially water, are particularly helpful to keep the flow of urine up. You have no real restrictions, but your bowels may be sensitive to spicy foods or heavy foods (fried, oily, etc). Use your judgment, but your stomach will usually tell you what you can or cannot eat. Proteins (meat, fish, chicken) are very important in the healing process to rebuild damaged tissue. Vitamins are OK, especially if you are not eating a well-balanced diet.
Your physical activity is to be restricted, especially during the first two weeks home. You may walk as much as you feel up to. During this time use the following guidelines:
- No lifting heavy objects (anything greater than 10 lbs).
- No driving a car and limit long car rides.
- No strenuous exercise.
You may have diarrhea because of the bowel surgery and its effect on bowel function. Or because of the use of narcotics for pain relief, you could also experience constipation. If the diarrhea is severe (more than two loose stools a day), we do have medication that can help. If it is not too severe, you can try Imodium AD, a drug that can be purchased over the counter at your pharmacy. If you are constipated then a mild laxative is fine. (Milk of Magnesia 2-3 Tablespoons, or 2 Dulcolax tablets as example). A bowel movement every other day is reasonable. Your bowel function will usually return to normal within six weeks.
You should resume your pre-surgery medication unless told not to. You may be discharged with Iron tablets to build up your blood count. Pain pills (Tylox or Tylenol with Codeine) may also be given to help with wound and catheter discomfort. Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (Ibuprofen) which have no narcotics are better if the pain is not too bad.
STOMAL CARE/NEOBLADDER/CONTINENT DIVERSION
Patients with neo-bladders or continent diversion will go home with catheters in place. Separate instruction sheets will explain the care of the catheters and drainage bags. If a stoma or urostomy was created it will be covered by the stomal therapists and ourselves with other handouts and instructions before your discharge.
You may shower or bathe as soon as you get home.
PROBLEMS YOU SHOULD REPORT TO US
- Fevers over 101.3 Fahrenheit.
- Drug reactions (Hives, rash, nausea).
- Bowel problems (constipation, vomiting, diarrhea).
You will need a follow-up appointment to monitor your progress. Call for this appointment when you get home or from the phone in your hospital room before leaving. Usually the first appointment will be about 1-2 weeks after your surgery.