Recovery, days 1-5
December 6, 2007
Hmm, I am trying to accurately remember details. All I did with my time was sit on a recliner in my parents house and watch bad TV. Although, bad TV becomes good TV when you’re off work.
The day after the surgery (Day 2) was the worst.
I stayed overnight in the clinic (highly recommended) and before I left they gave me a strong painkiller, along with my supply of prescription painkillers, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories (Difene). So although I was stiff and sore, the pain wasn’t that bad. When my parents collected me I was kind of giddy and happy in the land of No Pain. My mother wanted to stop at Dundrum Shopping Centre (as you do, when you’ve collected your daughter from a plastic surgery clinic) and I was like, yeah great let’s go shopping. BAD IDEA. This is why taking strong painkillers ends up hurting you more–because the pain is masked, your body thinks its OK and you act normal, using your arms a lot etc. I suffered for this later on when the drugs wore off. I also got really emotional and started crying. When we got home I just burst out crying, it was weird. I’m blaming the anaesthetic.
Anyway Saturday I just ate and slept. I felt a bit sick and shaky. Sunday I lay around watching TV and trying to remember the times I had to take all the different pills. I couldn’t use my arms much, have a shower, anything. But it’s not really pain, like stomach cramps or period pain. If you’ve ever had a sports injury/muscle injury you might know the pain. The scars don’t hurt or anything, but my whole chest area was really tight and stiff. It’s kind of hard to explain. Also because of the sleeping propped up nightmare, my neck and back were killing me.
On to what I had to wear: they made me put on this boob-tube style tight bandage, that just looked like a top. A top that people in hospital would wear. I looked pretty big in it because it was so tight it kind of squashed them together and held them up. After a week of that thing, my nipples were becoming inverted.
But every surgeon has different advice, which is weird. You’d think there would be a standard set of instructions. Some say massage, some say not to; some say don’t wear underwire for three months, some say six weeks. My instructions were not to shower for a week, don’t get the incisions wet, keep the bandage top on for a week, and try and exercise to get circulation flowing to area. Exercise! Yeah, right.
I felt a bit better on Monday, although it takes a few hours every morning for the ache to go. I got dressed, and got my sister to wash my hair for me over the bath, so I felt semi-human. The next few days are not very interesting. My friends called in, took a look, and said they looked “really fake” (thanks). They do at first but they soften up. I’m just kind of letting them do their thing while I wear a sports bra and nipple padding every day (because nipple visibility is high at the moment). A few days after surgery I started to get twinges inside, especially around my upper ribcage and abdomen, I presume where the muscle was cut into. But this was manageable.
So in summary, fellow breast fans, I would say my recovery period was more boring and mentally problematic (worrying about risks, infection, what would I look like etc) than physically painful. Just give yourself time off work and make yourself comfortable. The pain is bad for about two, three days but just sleep and take your painkillers to get through it.
My advice for anyone recovering from a boob job:
1. Have someone with you- I wouldn’t have been OK on my own the first two days. If you’re worried about telling people, don’t. All my reactions have been positive which really surprised me.
2. Be prepared for some uncomfortable sleeping arrangements. There is, however, a way to arrange your pillows, which took me four days to find. It involves using three pillows and two cushions. Put the first pillow propped up against headboard in the normal way. Don’t use too many pillows because your back and neck will be aching. The second one goes vertically to support your back, then the third on top of that normally. Then put the cushions under your arms. It’s all about elevation. And sleeping pills–if you can get those, even better, because you won’t wake up.
3. Have these things at home for when you come back: bottled water, lots of food, comfy clothes that do not require bending down or stretching over (putting on socks isn’t fun); lots of books, magazines, DVDs etc. I gorged on Buffy boxsets which cheered me up enormously. I may be in pain, (I thought to myself), but at least I haven’t had to sacrfice myself to save the world, only to go through the turmoil of having my friends drag me back from the dead.
4. If you’re not telling people about your op (except your family and close friends, like me) invent some story beforehand. My mother told people I hurt my back when they saw me hobbling around the house in my PJs. Of course, this story was ruined slightly when my aunt came into the room and saw me Googling “breast implant scars”. Try recovering from THAT one.
5. Have clear post-op instructions from surgeon and follow them, even if you disagree, think it’s stupid, or want to wear a nice bra and look all new and sexy. Before my surgery I thought it was a few days of badness and then back to normal–definitely not the case. My body is still healing almost two weeks later, the scar tissue is still forming, the implants are trying to settle in, all that jazz. Wearing wired bras, or having no support at all, and moving your muscles a lot will not be good for them. I may have done too much in the beginning because this week I’m just tired all the time and still sore sometimes.