Rehabilitation After Surgery

RehabilitationAfter my stroke and brain tumour surgery, I was told to expect to be in hospital and rehab for at least three months.

I was lucky that I had not been left with any major physical disability after the stroke, which made rehabilitation after surgery a lot less than it might have been.  My disabilities were all in my head (brain)! My inability to read, not being able to recall names and specific words and my total confusion with numbers, dates, months etc. were the results of my stroke, rather than from the brain surgery.

Before the removal of my brain tumour, I was looking at an unknown future as I did not know just what damage may be done to the brain. The surgeon had no idea either about just how much (if any) of the brain would be damaged as he had to go seven centimetres inside the brain to reach and then remove the tumour. Of course, he told me of many possible scenarios (like paralysis), but he just did not know what would happen until he was inside my brain.

As it turned out, I had very little after effect from the surgery. The worst was constant vomiting and nausea for three months as the part of the brain that controlled this was bruised. I had to wait for the bruising to clear up before the symptoms left me. The left side of my face drooped for a couple of days too, but it was back to normal before I saw it.

I did have some loss of balance. I would be walking along and find myself bumping into a wall. My poor balance stayed with me, but is not all that noticeable.

So, instead of being in rehab for three months, I was home from hospital on day seven! My rehab consisted of follow up appointments with the audiologist as my left ear went deaf for a few months. I was given a hearing aid, but did not need it for long.

I had one visit with a physiotherapist for my balance and one visit with the reading therapist. After two years my reading ability has improved, but it is still a struggle. Both therapists felt that I was doing exactly what was needed and did not need them to assist or guide me.

How different was my experience to that of my husband, Peter. He had a total knee replacement and after four weeks he was still experiencing severe pain. He has to return to bed every day and was loaded with pain killers.

He had physio exercises to do at home each day and went to a therapist group twice each week. He also went to hydrotherapy once a week. This went on for some months.

Peter was warned by his surgeon that he would suffer a lot of pain and that it would take 12 months before he would feel ‘normal’ again.

With my life threatening illness my disabilities will probably be with me for life. But I do not suffer a lot of pain. Pete had a lot more suffering than I had, but at least he can look forward to a complete recovery. But we both found it essential to do the follow up rehabilitation after surgery to ensure that we had the best possible chance of a good recovery.

If you would like to read the full story of my stroke and brain tumour trauma and how I sped up my recovery you can read my book.

Hints and Tips

Do not be slack with any rehabilitation exercises you are told to do. The results can make an invalid of you if you don’t work hard at recovery. In some cases, you can truly say ‘no pain, no gain’!

25 thoughts on “Rehabilitation After Surgery

  1. Jack J

    Nice read, unfortunately I have a few friends who have been through rehabilitation and have seen how taking your exercises important is a must even at the toughest of times.

  2. Dan Reid

    Definitely agree that it’s the little things such as exercises, stretches and mini-walks that do make the greatest differences on someone’s road to recovery. They’re so fundamental to redeveloping our most learned and basic functions. It’s okay to start from scratch. You’ll be a pro again in no time!

  3. Jennifer

    Hydro therapy is the best thing. Oddly enough like my grandmother I went through it too. I did to regain the strength I lost in my burn accident. But watching her do it first was amazing. The doctors were great in North Carolina. I couldn’t of imagined than how much it helped her.

  4. suzanne mosso

    My husband has had back surgery. I must stay at home with him for at least 3 months. I need to have some income while he recooperates. He needs constant looking after. this is a perfect job for me!

  5. Samantha R.

    No pain no gain is what I was always told growing up. The more people push themselves they’d be amazed with what they can achieve.

  6. Ana B.

    Yes, rehab is so important to ensure a good recovery. You may not ever be exactly the same as before your surgery, but it helps tremendously even though it can seem overwhelming at first.

  7. sarah

    Rehab is so important, I agree 100%. My neighbor was lucky enough to have the rehab specialist come to her home a couple of times a week. I wish this for everyone because it really made a difference for her.

  8. Michael

    Do not ever skip your rehab exercises! I had TMJ in my jaw and had to have surgery to fix it. After my surgery, no matter now painful it was, I had to open my mouth a certain size every twenty minutes so my jaw wouldn’t heal closed. I still can’t open my jaw as wide as I used to be able to, but it is much more than if I didn’t do the exercises at all!

  9. Vatrecia

    I agree! because in order to get better you will need to take it easy and get plenty of rest, what ever the doctor orders is his given wishes to be able to help you get better.
    but being to eager is just like saying I don’t want to get any better, but you will most definitely get better if you are able to relax.

  10. Kris H

    This is great advice. I once hurt my elbow and went to phsyio therapy. I was given a set of exercise to do weekly. After several weeks and feeling better, I stopped doing them altogether, only to have the pain come back which still lingers after workouts years later.

  11. Nicole Evans

    It always astounds me how you manage to still look out for others while being so effected by your own illness for the rest of your life. You find the compassion to say to others “look, just because your signs/symptons are different, doesnt mean they are less valid” .. i always come away from your blog with your advice stuck in my head (and some of it on post it notes around the house!) and thinking that i can do whatever i set my mind to.

  12. Max Torini

    I know the feeling of the constant vomiting and nausea, it is not fun! Although your injuries are for life, i am glad to see you have such a positive spin on everything! You persevere through things that come your way in life, that would crush majority of people. You are an inspiration to us all, keep it up!

  13. Gary R

    Being disabled by COPD which is known as Chronic Obtrusive Pulmonary Disease I must adhere to a very strict exercise regimen. I must use the treadmill , lift weights, eat properly. If I don’t follow this daily routine I could become seriously ill.

  14. austin

    A really helpful source to learn how to rehabilitate after surgery. The article really goes into depth and provides you with a lot of knowledge.

  15. Debra Owens

    It is true that you may never be 100% of who you were. However, you are now
    going through the hardest part and whether you like it or not it is a new beginning!
    Stay strong, keep your faith in Gods healing, and give yourself some time to become
    the person you want to be now!
    Good luck and God Bless!

  16. Tara

    After surgery is very important for patient. I agree with this article. Rehabilitation after surgery usually takes a long time we feel helpless. Family help us.

  17. Nicolas

    Sometimes these are the things that make you realize what are the most important things in life. It’s nice that you and your husband are supporting each other 100% with these surgeries.


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