My husband is recovering from surgery to repair a hernia. He spent most of the first five days after the surgery lying in bed. The anesthetic made him extremely nauseous for a day and a half. He was in pain and hated that the prescription pain medication made him feel “fuzzy”. Having never had surgery before, he didn’t know what to expect and was nervous that what he was feeling was abnormal. He was scared to do “too much”. Then, about a week ago, he had the follow-up appointment with the surgeon. The surgeon had a few well-chosen words for my husband; and, it was like a switch was turned on. Now, my husband is helping out around the house again, going for short walks in our neighborhood, and even ventured out to the mall to do some Christmas shopping over the weekend. He is still sore and gets fatigued easily; but, the worst of it is over, both physically and mentally. My husband should be able to lift up our daughters in the next couple of days and should be completely back to normal in another couple of weeks.
Are you curious about what exactly the surgeon said? I paraphrase here, but his key point was that people without much muscle tone tend to recover more slowly from procedures (yeah a bit harsh, but it was the verbal kick-in-the-behind that my husband needed). He said that the reason my husband felt so crummy was because he was too sedentary and that the best way to recover was to get up and move! He also advised eating nutrition-dense foods and lots of protein. There’s a take-home message for all of us here. Being fit is about more than just looking good. It’s about physical (and mental) resilience so that we can fight infection and “bounce” back after injury. Being physically fit is also critically important for our quality of life as we age.
The whole affair has my husband thinking very seriously about his health and how to fix the fact that exercise has fallen off his priority list. He is making some New Year’s Resolutions aimed at getting into better shape. Exactly how much time he can carve out for what activities remains to be worked out, but he has lots of great ideas. He likes running so he’s going to try to get a couple of evening runs in a week (while I’m working on my lovely blog!). I have suggested that he could easily leave me to put the girls to bed a couple of evenings a week to go to our local YMCA to lift some weights. And he’s planning on doing some push-ups, sit-ups etc. at home every day. I thought this was the perfect excuse to get him a chin-up bar for Christmas (and I kinda wanted one anyway). So one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to do whatever I can to support my husband’s fitness efforts. I am really proud of him for making such a positive change in his life. And I look forward to watching him reap the rewards of physical activity.