During your hospital stay, there are nurses and doctors around making you feel a bit more at ease, but when you come back to the quiet of your home it's a totally different story. The feeling of being all alone after a surgery is frightening, and understandably so. You aren't quite sure exactly what the doctor said or what to do.
That's exactly why physical therapy exists - to guide you through this stressful time and help you get better by doing the right things and avoiding the wrong things! As with injuries, after a surgery you will have pain, swelling, inflammation and weakness. The idea is to make all these variables better one by one through an appropriate rehab regimen specific to your type of surgery.
You will have a post-operative note from your doctor and many times even a specific protocol they like to follow. I use both of these documents and liaise directly with your doctor to ensure everyone is on the same page.