TheLadySkye wrote:... The nurses had a thin blanket they folded into a square, med taped that way, and drew a smiley face on. Every time I had to cough or sneeze, I was told to hold that as tight as was comfortable (in other words, not very tight!) against my abdomen. This helps limit movement during coughing/sneezing and helps with pain and the possibility of tearing the surgical site. Honestly, that silly thing was a lifesaver for me after surgery. Especially when I would get up to walk, coughing seemed inevitable for awhile....
You have brought up a very important point that I think should be emphasized for all patients undergoing CRC surgery: it is the possibility of tearing of surgical site
due to any unusual, vigorous activity that puts stress on the new incision(s). This condition is called an"incisional hernia" when it occurs at the site of the main LAR or APR incisions, and it is called a "parastomal hernia" when it occurs near the ileostoma incision site. These two conditions are to be avoided at all cost because they can cause considerable problems later on and can reduce the subsequent quality of life.
The good news is that incisional hernias and parastomal hernias can be avoided -- but only if the post-surgery patient takes extreme care not to allow unusual tension at the incision sites. This means, among other things:
- Absolutely no lifting of any heavy objects in the post-surgery period.
- No lifting yourself up or pulling yourself up out of bed in the post surgery period. (Call the nurses if you need assistance in getting up out of bed.) Do not try to use the hand rail or overhead bar to raise yourself up, or you risk the possibility of tearing the surgical site.
- No coughing or sneezing allowed during the immediate post-surgical period. If this is unavoidable, then I think you should insure that you have some kind of abdominal support to hold the surgical incision site(s) firm. Devices like abdominal binders might be appropriate in this case, if approved by the doctor. If you develop uncontrollable coughing and sneezing, then you could damage the incision site, causing delayed healing and eventual incisional hernia.
This is just my own personal opinion, and the reason I am mentioning this here is that there seems to a constant reminder that we have to "walk, walk, walk" just after surgery, but there is rarely any mention that in order to get up to walk you have to first get out of bed, and the maneuvers that you use to get yourself out of bed could easily cause problems to your new incisions.