First Post-Operative Day
On this day, you will be offered a full liquid diet (e.g. milk shakes, custards, cream soups), and you may also have jello or other clear liquids. You should not force yourself to eat, but let your appetite guide you as to what you feel is appropriate. Also on this day, it is very important that you be out of bed walking in the halls with the assistance of the nursing staff. In some situations, the bladder catheter can be removed on this day, whereas in others, it should be retained for 1 or 2 more days.
It is also important on this day to use the "incentive spirometer" to take deep breaths. Small inflatable "socks" will be attached to your calves while you are in bed, to intermittently squeeze the calf in order to keep the blood flowing in this area, again to diminish the chance of post-operative complications.
Second Post-Operative Day
If you have done well with the full liquid diet on the first day, you will be offered a regular diet on the second day. Again, there is no need to force yourself to eat, but you may eat what you like if you are hungry.
Once you are eating, you will be offered pain medicine to be taken by mouth, and once you are taking enough liquids to avoid dehydration, we can get rid of the intravenous fluids. Also, if the bladder catheter was not removed on the first post-operative day, it may be removed on this day.
Again, it is very important to walk in the halls a minimum of 3 or 4 times on this day, despite the fact that it will be somewhat uncomfortable in your incisional area. There is no harm or danger to the incision by doing this.
Third Post-Operative Day
During this day, recovery continues. If you are able to take pain medicines by mouth, do not require intravenous fluids or other intravenous medication, and are able to get around reasonably well, you may feel well enough to go home and continue your recovery there, in more familiar surroundings. There is no need to wait in the hospital to have a bowel movement, which usually does not occur until the fourth, fifth, or sixth day after surgery.
Fourth Post-Operative Day
For those patients who were not able to go home the third post-operative day, this is the general day of discharge.