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Postoperative Care

When to Resume Eating

The evening after your surgery, you may be able to drink liquids. Most patients will start eating soft, solid food the next day.

Room Service Dining

Howard County General Hospital is pleased to offer the At Your Request Room Service Dining Program. This helpful service allows you more freedom and flexibility with your dining times and meal selections. Once your physician prescribes a diet to meet your medical needs, it is entered into the system, and you can order meals. You can make your meal selections from a restaurant-style menu. Dial x7575 and trained staff in the Dietary Department will help you choose items appropriate for your dietary needs. Your meal will be delivered within one hour. You can also order snacks by dialing x7575.

You are welcome to request food at any time during our regular operating hours: 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Please be sure to order your breakfast early, so you are ready by 9 a.m. to participate in your morning occupational and physical therapy sessions. If you have any special religious or dietary restrictions, please inform your nurse or the patient care technician. Clinical dietitians also can assist you with any nutritional needs.

Visiting with Family and Friends

Your family and friends will be allowed to visit when you return to your room. We recognize the importance of family during the recuperative process. However, we anticipate that you will be tired and need your rest following surgery. You may also want to ask friends and family to limit their phone calls on the first day. Our rooms are private and we are able to allow one visitor to stay overnight. Visiting hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. for your other visitors. Please note that we do not have overnight guest facilities in the ICU unit.


There is usually pain the first few days after surgery. Pain medication will be given regularly, perhaps by a patient-controlled analgesia. You will probably require a urinary catheter until you are more mobile. The fused spine must be kept in proper alignment. You will be taught how to move properly, reposition, sit, stand and walk. While in bed, you will be instructed to turn frequently using a “log rolling” technique. This maneuver allows your entire body to move as a unit, avoiding twisting the spine. You may be discharged from the hospital with a back brace. Your family will be taught how to prepare your home for when you return.

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