If you are booked in for a surgical procedure, you might be feeling apprehensive about this experience. Let’s face it, nobody wants to have surgery – it is a necessary, often life-saving event, but that doesn’t make it much fun!
If you have never had surgery before, you might be wondering how you will get to grips with the preparation and recovery from your procedure. Procedures like knee replacement surgery, heart surgery, or spinal surgery have a long recovery process, so you need to be ready to take it easy.
In this post we will take you through five things to do to prepare for your surgery. Let’s get started!
1. Prepare your support system for post-surgery recovery.
During difficult times in your life, you realize how much you need your friends and family. While many of us like to think we are independent souls who don’t need anyone, being put in a vulnerable position like having surgery makes us realize that no man is an island. You need a support system!
If you know you are having surgery some time in the coming weeks or months, start preparing your friends and family for the extra support you might need. Support looks different for every person, but common ways your family can support you include:
- Cooking meals. Moving around after surgery can be challenging, let alone cooking meals and cleaning up afterwards. Someone knocking on your door and bringing some meals for you to freeze can be super helpful.
- Driving you to check-up appointments and other social events. If you need to go places but still aren’t mobile enough, getting a lift from a friend can make all the difference.
- Offering you some company. Sitting in the house recovering from a surgery can be very lonely at times. Sometimes the best support is the simplest: eating lunch, watching TV, or just chatting with someone for a while.
2. Find a friend or family member to accompany you on the day of the surgery.
The day of the surgery will go by in a flash – you’ll be asleep for most of it! – but it can weigh on your mind if you are nervous. It is understandable to be apprehensive; even though you are going to be in the good hands of experienced surgeons, it is normal to feel worried about what will happen during surgery.
That is why it is crucial for you to find a friend or family member to accompany you during the day. Get them to help you check in and settle down. They can also assist you in packing a bag full of essentials and fun things, such as:
- Spare socks and underwear
- Your phone and phone charger
- Your favorite book
- A toothbrush and toothpaste
- Plain, light snacks such as nuts, seeds, or crackers
- A notepad and pen
- A deck of cards
This way, you’ll be prepared to wake up after surgery and have a few things to pass the time. You can feel quite sick after coming off your anesthetic, so finding little things to pass the time can be helpful.
3. Speak with your doctor about pain relief during recovery.
Although whatever is causing you to have the surgery might be painful, unfortunately, the pain isn’t over just yet. Recovering from surgery can be quite an arduous process, meaning that in order to make the best of it, you need a pain relief plan that works for you.
Before the surgery, ensure you discuss this at length with your surgeon or consulting doctor. This way, you’ll feel better about going into the surgery knowing that you have a pain relief plan set up and ready to go when you get home.
In addition, you could have worries about the pain medication you will take and how it might affect you long term. If you have questions about medication addiction or the side effects of the medications you are being recommended, speak with your doctor before agreeing to the proposed treatment plan.
4. Get to grips with the recovery time.
Recovery times can vary wildly depending on the surgery you have had. Knee surgery, for example, can have a recovery time of several months; you can find more on what to expect after knee replacement surgery here.
You will be informed of the approximate recovery time before your surgery begins; this is the most crucial time for your body. You will need to discuss this recovery time with your employer, your family, and any other people for whom you are responsible to ensure you can modify your routine during this time.
In addition, there is an emotional aspect to getting through your surgery recovery. Some days can be very difficult, others will be good – but ultimately, focusing on your healing process will put you in good stead for the future.
5. Make a roadmap back to your normal, healthy self.
Ultimately, you want to get back to normal, right? That’s the endgame. You will be aware that this won’t happen overnight, but instead will be a result of hard work and consistent self care while you are recovering.
Making a roadmap out of your recovery and into your normal life again can be very helpful, both mentally and practically. Your roadmap to your normal-health self could include:
- A treatment plan with a physiotherapist.
- A slow weaning off your pain medication.
- An increase in physical activity that correlates with your body’s healing process post-surgery.
- Balancing your work duties with the necessary rest you need after surgery.
- A slow decrease in reliance on crutches or a wheelchair.
- Setting goals, such as walking up stairs without stopping or driving a short distance
If you are getting surgery soon and are wondering how best to prepare for it, use our guide to assist you in getting ready! Surgery can be a scary thing, but with the help of your support system and doctors, your recovery time will pass much more smoothly.