Recovering from a Hernia Repair Operation

On Wednesday 24th November 2010, I went into Uckfield Community Hospital for an Inguinal Hernia repair. This was my first time in hospital so didn’t really know what to expect other than what I had been told by the consultant.

Uckfield Community Hospital is a really nice modern and clean hospital. The nurses were all really nice and although I was a bit anxious, they really do know how to put you at ease. After a bit of form filling, I was visited by the anaesthetist as well as the surgeon who told me, in just enough detail, what was going to happen. I was second on the list with each hernia repair taking about 45 minutes.

When it was my turn to be wheeled through to the theatre, I didn’t have time to be worried. It was all hands on deck with one nurse putting a needle in my hand and another attaching various things to my chest and finger, all the while, chatting and telling me what they were doing. This didn’t really last long as in no time at all, I was waking up from what seemed like a really deep sleep.

Back at the ward, the man who had been number one on the list was sitting up and chatting as though nothing had happened to him. Although I was still quite groggy, I was looking forward to recovering to his standard within the next 45 minuted. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Obviously, different people recover from a general anaesthetic in different ways.

It was about 3 hours before I felt well enough to be allowed to go home. At home, I went straight to bed and was able to put myself in such a position that the pain was just a dull ache.

Apparently, I have a 3″ incision under a shower-proof plaster which has to remain in place for one week. It will get taken off by the nurse at the local doctor’s surgery when I have the wound checked next Wednesday.

The next day, the pain did increase but only if you moved or stood up. Blokes, you’ll know what I mean when I say that the pain was similar to being kicked in the balls only, as soon as you are comfortable again, it stops and doesn’t linger.

Today is day three and after a good night’s sleep, the pain is considerably less than it was yesterday although as the day has worn on, the pain has increased but not as much as yesterday.

Update (9th December 2010) – Last week, 7 days after the operation, I went to my local GP to have the wound checked. I’m told it’s healing very well. The removal of the plaster has revealed a 3.5 inch scar; much bigger than I expected.

It’s now 2 weeks and 1 day since the Hernia Repair Operation. I was hoping that I’d be feeling a lot better than this by now. It seems that as each type of pain goes away, a different type of pain comes along. The ‘kicked in the balls’ pain has almost gone but I now have a tightening sensation in the area which, by the end of the day, is a really uncomfortable dull ache.

I was told not to drive for 2 weeks and only to return to driving if I was able to perform an emergency stop. I tried this today without any problem. I didn’t go far but within a couple of miles, the tightening sensation was getting quite uncomfortable.

I suppose it is still early days yet, as people keep telling me. The trouble is that most Hernia information sites out there tell you that the pain is minimal and that you’ll be ready to go back to work within a couple of weeks. I now realise that the sites which tell you this tend to be adverts for private clinics etc. who have an interest in not alarming potential patients. All I know is that I’m not quite there yet.

Update (17th December 2010) – It’s 3 weeks and 2 days since the operation. I am definitely on the mend but I still have problems towards the end of the day. In the morning, I can lay in bed and I don’t have any pain at all. When I get out of bed, if I’m careful as to how I stand/stretch/move, again I don’t have any pain. The problem comes when I get up from a sitting position. I get a pain somewhere under the scar. Depending how energetic I’ve been, by the end of the day, that pain becomes a tiring ache which I am only able to ignore by sitting in a reclined position.

Another problem is bending down to pick something up from the floor; nothing heavy. I suppose it’s due to the tensing of the stomach muscles and the fact that the fold of the leg at the hip is just under where the scar is.

The area below the scar is still numb to the touch.

Update (3rd January 2011) – Almost back to full strength, 6 weeks after the operation. The recovery, since the last update, has gone very well. In fact, I went out for a 30 mile cycle ride this afternoon (click here for report). The area below the scar is still numb to the touch. Don’t know how long that will take to get back to normal but it’s actually not a problem. There is a little bit of discomfort but nothing that puts you out of action. It just reminds you that you need to be careful. In fact, I’m going back to work tomorrow.