Do not lift anything heavier than about 10 pounds (about a gallon of milk) for 2 weeks after video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery and 6 to 8 weeks after open surgery.
You may walk 2 or 3 times a day. Start with short distances and slowly increase how far you walk. If you have stairs in your home, go up and down slowly. Take one step at a time. Set up your home so that you do not have to climb stairs too often.
Remember you will need extra time to rest after being active. If it hurts when you do something, stop doing that activity.
- Do not do yard work for 3 to 4 weeks after surgery. Do not use a push mower for at least 8 weeks. Ask your doctor or nurse when you can start doing these things again.
- You can do light housework 2 weeks after surgery.
It is probably okay to start sexual activity when you can climb 2 flights of stairs without being short of breath. Check with your doctor.
Make sure your home is safe as you are recovering. For example, remove throw rugs to prevent tripping and falling. To stay safe in the bathroom, install grab bars to help you get in and out of the tub or shower.
For the first 6 weeks after your surgery, you must be careful how you use your arms and upper body when you move. Press a pillow over your incision when you need to cough or sneeze.
Ask your doctor when it is okay to start driving again. Do not drive if you are taking narcotic pain medicine. Drive only short distances at first. Do not drive when traffic is heavy.
It is common to take 4 to 6 weeks off work after lung surgery. Ask your doctor when you can go back to work. You may need to adjust your work activities when you first go back, or work only part-time for a while.
Your doctor will give you a prescription for pain medicine. Get it filled on your way home so you have it when you need it. Take your pain medicine when you start having pain. Waiting too long to take it will allow your pain to get worse than it should.