Jade35

How long till drive after surgery

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Hi all, I was just wondering how long it took till you were able to drive after surgery. I'm currently planning a sleeve, and have been told I will be in hospital for 3 days. And that I should be discharged on over the counter type pain meds, but with a prescription for stronger meds if necessary.

Were you able to drive immediately after going home? Did anyone drive themselves home from the hospital?  Or were you required to avoid driving for a period/while on meds etc?

I will need to drive to my post up appointments at 2 weeks (2 hr round trip), and will need to drive (short trip) if I want to return to work, (rural so no public transport, and its challenging to get lifts) which I was told should be fine for desk duty from 1 wk. 

Thanks

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I didn't (and couldn't) drive myself home from hospital because I was on heavy pain medication and the hospital wouldn't have allowed it anyway.  You need to be able to move easily and have a quick response time to drive.

It's my hospitals standard procedure for patients having had surgery to be accompanied (with the patient in a wheelchair) to the pick-up point.

I don't know that I'd have been able to return to work at 1 week post-op - even a desk job.  Half days maybe.

Driving wasn't a problem after a week but then I was just making a 6 mile round trip to the Post Office on rural roads.

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I couldn't have driven home from the hospital.  I was there three days, and while I was perfectly capable mentally (only on tylenol at that point) my incisions were still too painful.  It wasn't agony or anything, but I could definitely still tell someone had cut holes through my abdominal muscles!  (Pro tip - make sure you have a pillow to hold against your tummy on the way home.  I felt every bump and jolt of the car on uneven pavement, and the pillow helped a lot.)

95% of my pain was gone at one week.  I would have been physically capable of light desk duty.  But I was still very, very tired - my heart and brain would not have been in my work.  I was also still adjusting to the vastly restricted diet and the regimented vitamin-taking and water-sipping.  I took three weeks off, and the rest and adjustment time was really good for me. 

I was able to drive after one week, though I only took short trips in areas I was familiar with.  Surprise sharp movements could still make my incisions ache at that point, so I was just really careful - no tailgating and super defensive driving!

Honestly, if I didn't work from home I probably would have taken another week.  I think any kind of a commute would still have been a bit draining even at 3 weeks. 

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I was home the next day and had a ride home. The hospital required it. I took pain meds one more day. I was driving five days after surgery, but did not return to work until I was about a week and a half out. 

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I was told not to drive for two weeks by my surgeon. This was partly due to prescription pain medicine, although I was off those quickly, but mostly because he said the movement required to hold yourself up straight for longer than a few minutes, and the twisting/pulling of steering is not kind to freshly torn muscles in your abdomen. My surgeon is pretty conservative, however.

The real answer lies in a) what your surgeon says and b) how you personally feel. Even after I was off pain meds, I was in a bit of a fog for a few days, and two of my port sites were still pretty painful with movement.

 I probably couldve driven around a week out, but had no need to since I was still off work. 

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I had my surgery on a Thursday, discharged Sunday. On the Tuesday (5 days after Surgery) I drove myself from the city back to my rural home....a 4 hour trip!! The caveat here is I didn't take any narcotic pain relief until I got home. I stopped every hour or so and walked a bit. I had a pillow pet between the seatbelt and my stomach. Plus my car is an older but luxury version automatic. If I'd had to drive my manual work Ute....well it wouldn't have been possible. I had an appointment with my family doctor on the Wednesday....when he first saw me walking in he assumed that my surgery must have been cancelled.....he was shocked at how well I was doing.

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11 hours ago, cinwa said:

I didn't (and couldn't) drive myself home from hospital because I was on heavy pain medication and the hospital wouldn't have allowed it anyway.  You need to be able to move easily and have a quick response time to drive.

It's my hospitals standard procedure for patients having had surgery to be accompanied (with the patient in a wheelchair) to the pick-up point.

I don't know that I'd have been able to return to work at 1 week post-op - even a desk job.  Half days maybe.

Driving wasn't a problem after a week but then I was just making a 6 mile round trip to the Post Office on rural roads.

Believe it or not, my WLS was the only time that I was ever required to walk out of the hospital. It was so strange. We were ready and waiting for the wheel chair when the nurse told us that bariatric surgeons are the only ones that require their patients to walk to the car.

I did need to have a driver though. I walked to my car and I was still quite wired on the dilaudid. If memory serves me right, I was allowed to drive after 48 hours of stopping pain meds. I did take the pain meds for about two weeks between surgery pain and the seroma pain.

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Hi All - Thanks for your replies!

I was (and am) planning to get a lift home from the hospital - just wanted to find out if people were a bit better off than I was expecting.  I have previously driven myself home from the hospital from minorish surgeries when I have been in overnight or longer so not potentially under anesthetic.  Unfortunately due to my rural location (though not so bad as Aussie Bear) it is about 1.5 hours each way to the closest regional centre (where i will be having the surgery - for less common things, I have to go to the state capital 4 hours away which is even more challenging). With no partner or family here it is difficult to get a lift to the hospital and home - all my friends work and have families so it is a big deal for them to organise time to do this for me, especially when you don't find out times till the day of, or the night prior.

My experience here in Aus, is that hospitals don't really check if you have a lift home or not - For day surgery they ask, but as long as I say yes - they let me wander down to the lobby on my own to meet my lift. If I was to take a taxi, or even drive myself they wouldn't have known. The same for multi-day stays - they have just asked that I have a way to get home, and let me leave on my own - sometimes I had a lift in the lobby, sometimes a taxi to a local hotel, sometimes I drove my own car home.  I've never been handed over to my pickup person in a wheelchair as such. 

I'm also hoping to take two weeks of leave prior to returning to work, interesting that my surgeon said one work is usually ok for a desk job but most disagree. I should be able to work from home, if I'm not up to actually going in.

Thanks :-)

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38 minutes ago, Jade35 said:

 

My experience here in Aus, is that hospitals don't really check if you have a lift home or not - For day surgery they ask, but as long as I say yes - they let me wander down to the lobby on my own to meet my lift. If I was to take a taxi, or even drive myself they wouldn't have known. The same for multi-day stays - they have just asked that I have a way to get home, and let me leave on my own - sometimes I had a lift in the lobby, sometimes a taxi to a local hotel, sometimes I drove my own car home.  I've never been handed over to my pickup person in a wheelchair as such. 

 

I'm in a similar situation as you Jade. No family here and the friends that drive all work. Unfortunately my local hospital does check after day surgery. Your ride not only has to front up to pick you up, they also have to agree that they will stay with you for 24 hours. The only time I've had to do the wheelchair exit was after my foot surgery....no surprise there at all!!!!

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I could drive as soon as I was off prescription pain meds.  6 days, as I took them at night.  

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15 hours ago, Jade35 said:

Hi All - Thanks for your replies!

I was (and am) planning to get a lift home from the hospital - just wanted to find out if people were a bit better off than I was expecting.  I have previously driven myself home from the hospital from minorish surgeries when I have been in overnight or longer so not potentially under anesthetic.  Unfortunately due to my rural location (though not so bad as Aussie Bear) it is about 1.5 hours each way to the closest regional centre (where i will be having the surgery - for less common things, I have to go to the state capital 4 hours away which is even more challenging). With no partner or family here it is difficult to get a lift to the hospital and home - all my friends work and have families so it is a big deal for them to organise time to do this for me, especially when you don't find out times till the day of, or the night prior.

My experience here in Aus, is that hospitals don't really check if you have a lift home or not - For day surgery they ask, but as long as I say yes - they let me wander down to the lobby on my own to meet my lift. If I was to take a taxi, or even drive myself they wouldn't have known. The same for multi-day stays - they have just asked that I have a way to get home, and let me leave on my own - sometimes I had a lift in the lobby, sometimes a taxi to a local hotel, sometimes I drove my own car home.  I've never been handed over to my pickup person in a wheelchair as such. 

I'm also hoping to take two weeks of leave prior to returning to work, interesting that my surgeon said one work is usually ok for a desk job but most disagree. I should be able to work from home, if I'm not up to actually going in.

Thanks :-)

Wow! Here they ask us a million times who our driver is before the surgery. Plus, the driver has to sign a form saying that they will stay with us for 24 hours after driving us home before we can be released.

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On 5/5/2018 at 10:35 PM, Jade35 said:

Hi All - Thanks for your replies!

I was (and am) planning to get a lift home from the hospital - just wanted to find out if people were a bit better off than I was expecting.  I have previously driven myself home from the hospital from minorish surgeries when I have been in overnight or longer so not potentially under anesthetic.  Unfortunately due to my rural location (though not so bad as Aussie Bear) it is about 1.5 hours each way to the closest regional centre (where i will be having the surgery - for less common things, I have to go to the state capital 4 hours away which is even more challenging). With no partner or family here it is difficult to get a lift to the hospital and home - all my friends work and have families so it is a big deal for them to organise time to do this for me, especially when you don't find out times till the day of, or the night prior.

My experience here in Aus, is that hospitals don't really check if you have a lift home or not - For day surgery they ask, but as long as I say yes - they let me wander down to the lobby on my own to meet my lift. If I was to take a taxi, or even drive myself they wouldn't have known. The same for multi-day stays - they have just asked that I have a way to get home, and let me leave on my own - sometimes I had a lift in the lobby, sometimes a taxi to a local hotel, sometimes I drove my own car home.  I've never been handed over to my pickup person in a wheelchair as such. 

I'm also hoping to take two weeks of leave prior to returning to work, interesting that my surgeon said one work is usually ok for a desk job but most disagree. I should be able to work from home, if I'm not up to actually going in.

Thanks :-)

Hi Jade, I could drive the day after I got home. My pain regimen included acetominophen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (naprosyn), and an opiate. I tried to take the opiate just at night which allowed me to drive during the day.

re: returning to work, I was able to do some things the same week and would think two weeks is very reasonable. I had to take more time because a lot of my initial recovery period was also oriented towards physical therapy for my hips and back; I ended up doing exercise of one form or another (principally walking and swimming) for 2 hours a day then. 

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I was discharged 23 hours from the start of my surgery.  Was told not to drive until my followup appointment in 10 days, although physically I could have.  I think post-op pain is maybe less for sleeve than bypass, and I only needed/used stronger pain med at night.  My nausea and dry heaving would have been the problem though; I dry heaved evey time I moved for about the first 48 hours.  I took 2 weeks off work, but could have done at least half time earlier.  The fatigue is the limiting factor I think, not so much the pain.

Even though there is not that much pain, we have to remember it is major surgery and it takes awhile to be back up to full steam.  It is also tricky in the beginning getting the "eating" and drinking thing down; that in and of itself seems like a full time job lol.

 

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