The first way that a Whipple procedure affects the life of a patient who undergoes it is that she must spend at least a week or two in the hospital, and at least one night in the intensive care unit, according to the MUSC Digestive Disease Center. The patient is then moved to the surgical unit.
While the patient is still in the hospital, she is not allowed to eat for several days, says the MUSC Digestive Disease Center. She has a nasal tube in her stomach, a catheter to remove her urine and drainage tubes in the surgical site. Still, the medical staff encourages her to get out of bed very soon after surgery for a short walk. Her pain is managed by a pain pump until she can eat solid foods. At that point, her pain is managed through oral medication.
When the patient goes home, she wears bandages for a week or so until her medical support tells her she can take them off, notes MUSC Digestive Disease Center. She only takes showers, and is always careful of the incision. Fatigue is prevalent for at least two months.
When the patient starts to eat solid food, she eats many small meals and tries a variety of foods to see if her body can still tolerate them, reports the MUSC Digestive Disease Center. She takes supplements, drinks lots of fluids and avoids foods high in fats. She should not do strenuous activity for at least six weeks.