Concerned about husband's extreme tiredness after ileostomy surgery


Hello, so I've previously explained that I'm here for my husband in our new journey... he's home today after having an ileostomy 1 week ago. He is literally just sleeping, is this normal? Sorry if I sound ignorant, I've had surgery before myself and I know it knocks the stuffing out of you, but it's like he can't stay awake or even focus his eyes for more than 5 minutes and it's frightening me. He's asked for a drink but not stayed awake long enough to drink any of it. Now I don't know whether to chivvy him into bed or just leave him on the sofa.


I'd say let him sleep but I'll also say that I got an infection a few days after surgery and I went downhill quick. So, watch him and if he's not better tomorrow, take him in.

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Hi Anji, I'm no doctor, but I have to say that I'm not sure this is normal. Is he still on pain meds? Are they opioids? If this is the case, it may just be the meds. How old is your husband? I've had four surgeries in the past two plus years, and I was never that tired that long after surgery, and I'm 70. I know everyone recovers at their own pace. Can you contact his surgeon, or an ostomy nurse? If it is just the meds, are they even still necessary, or at least in the amount he's taking? I think I would feel more comfortable contacting a professional about this. Good luck!



Hi, I remember being very lethargic after my stoma operations (4). He is probably still on some form of painkillers, which may be why he is not responding, but we are all different. Calm down, you getting upset will not help. Seek advice from the medical people/doctor/stoma nurse if you are really badly concerned. It will be many months before he will be acting/sleeping/eating as he used to. Do not expect too much too soon. Best wishes, we have all been there.


As you can plainly see from the previous good answers, medical guidance may be called for here.  On this site, we're really not qualified to provide that, just practical advice.

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Yes, it's very normal, hun. First week home, I sat and slept sitting up in the corner of the sofa...

Sleep is important to recover, but he has to wake to drain, eat, and drink, etc. Give him a cool wipe down to help wake his senses...

Stay calm and carry on. Sleep is one of his best medicines. Sleep equals healing...


Past Member

Yeah, my first operation I was similar, not much moving. Not interested in TV or looking at anything, talking to anyone. Just in a funk. The second surgery was less invasive and, in turn, I rebounded in a couple of days. It's never, ever a bad idea to call his doctor's office with concerns.


I'm 11 almost 12 months and still quite fatigued.


Hi Anji,

So are you saying he literally is never awake? Does he eat? You're making it sound like he's almost never awake.........which if that's the case I'd say something is wrong. Even on pain meds, he should be awake a decent part of the time. Note how long he is actually awake, write it down if you have to, and if it's really as little as you're alluding should at least give his doc a call and ask if that's normal. It sure wasn't for me, for any of the times they split me open and zippered my back shut. After a week in the hospital.....I think the longest I was there was 5 days............I didn't need much pain meds (and I hate taking them), but I didn't sleep that much. A bit more than normal yeah.........but way longer than you're describing. He should be going back for a follow-up, or to have his stitches removed (if they still do that) about a week, so keep an eye on him and if he's not spending more time awake each day you need to reach out and let someone know. Better to be sure than let things get out of control. Let us know how you make out!!




Let him sleep. That is the way the body recovers and one week after surgery is not a long time. Checking for an infection is a good idea like Alex says. It can make you tired and sleepy. Many of us have the opposite problem, a lack of sleep or finding it hard to go to sleep in the first place. Sometimes all that cutting and stitching can sever something. Don't serve too many alcohol or caffeine-based drinks, they can disturb the sleep cycle. Hopefully, everything will be under control soon. Best wishes.

ron in mich

Hi Anji, the last time I had surgery for resection surgery, I was out of it for 2 days due to the anesthesia. But after 5 days, I was up and about with nurses' help and emptying my pouch myself. So, I'm thinking your hubby should be checked out.


Hi again, will you let us know how things go with your husband? Wishing you both the best.



Thank you everyone! He seemed a bit more with it today! Not much energy but awake more and watching TV. He's on Tramadol but they don't usually affect him as he's been a long-term user because of other medical problems. He literally wasn't sleeping well in the hospital, so he was maybe catching up... sorry I'm a worrier!!

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