Going Home

Day of Discharge

Expect to go home on the third to fifth day after open surgery, the first to third after laparoscopic surgery, and the first or second after closure of an ileostomy. Make provisional arrangements in advance unless instructed otherwise. Some patients may be able to leave earlier than this, and some may have their discharge delayed for medical reasons.

Discharge is generally before 11 a.m., although this time is more variable for those being discharged on the first or second postoperative day.

After Discharge

When you leave the hospital, expect to be able to drink freely and eat a little. You will be on oral pain medications for any residual pain or discomfort. You will probably be passing flatus and may have moved your bowels. Expect to be more tired than you were in the hospital, as you get more rest in the hospital than you realize. Keep up the walking at home to help keep up your strength.

If you live alone, you may wish to make arrangements with family or friends in advance to stay with them for a few days or to have someone stay with you. If you live a long distance from Cleveland, you may wish to make arrangements with a local hotel to stay nearby for a few days before going home.

When you go home, your appetite may take several weeks to return to normal. Because you do not feel like eating much at any one time, you may find it easier to take frequent small meals: breakfast, lunch and an evening meal with an additional mid-morning snack, mid-afternoon snack and something before bed.

If you do not feel like eating solid food, remember that it is important to keep drinking plenty of liquids so as not to get dehydrated. Drinks like chicken broth and Gatorade® are good as they replace salts as well as liquid.

A useful and economical dietary supplement is to make milkshakes by blending Carnation Instant Breakfast® with ice cream, which can be taken between meals.

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