When you leave the hospital (with a friend or family member driving - you'll be in no condition...) you will probably not be feeling any pain at first while the anesthetics wear off. You will also be saying a small thanks that you remembered to wear loose fitting sweat pants or similar. Since you won't have eaten for many hours, do that FIRST (unless you've been made really sick by the anesthesia.) Wait 15 minutes after you've eaten and then take your first pain med, don't wait until you actually start feeling pain. Don't take the prescription pain medication with any kind of acidic beverage like cola or fruit juice since all those acids mixed together can make you nauseous.
Many surgeons are now using a long acting anesthetic in the wound which won't wear off for several days, if it's day 4 of post surgery and suddenly you are experiencing pain, this is probably why. Just to put your mind at ease, it's ok to call the surgeon's office and ask if he/she used a long-acting anesthetic in the wound.
You will be moving very slowly for the first 4 or 5 days until some of the swelling goes down in the wound. Be careful going up and down stairs and bending over - picking up heavy objects (like a 2 year old) is not a good idea in the first week. Your post operative instructions will probably say something about no driving for 4 days, pay attention and plan ahead. You will most likely be heavily medicated and sitting down will be the last thing you want to do so put the car keys away!
Plan to spend the first 3 days in bed or on the couch, laying on your side. Sitting will be NO FUN. I admit, I was on my computer checking email the day after surgery but it was not at all an enjoyable experience and I certainly didn't hang out there long...
Remember to eat. A starving body is a body that won't have enough energy to heal.
Remember to drink. Dehydration is a terrible way to start off a recovery period.
One of the big questions everyone has regards using the toilet in a Pilonidal post-surgery world. Fear not, you will be able to "go" normally just like you did prior to surgery. You will need to "sit down" rather slowly at first since you will probably be a little stiff and have a wad of bandaging and tape plastered across your upper behind. While it is not necessary, many of us used baby wipes or moist towelettes to do some extra clean up after "number two". Otherwise, just keep everything clean and wash your hands like Mom always told you to!
One of the side affects of some pain meds is that they can cause constipation, go ahead and handle this as you normally would. Stool softeners are just fine and will not interfere with your recovery.
You will be able to shower as normal and it's a good idea to rinse your hair after shampooing to one side. Some doctors think that one of the ways that loose hair embeds in the skin is when it is washed down from the head and catches in the buttock cleft. Anyone with Pilonidal Disease is smart to do this as a normal part of their daily hygiene.
Your first dressing change probably won't be for a day or two, from here on, your life is all about wound healing.
This page last updated: 11/05/2010