Tips On Surgery Preparation for the Patient
|Tips for You I've Found Along my 40-Plus Surgery Experience|
Preparing for Surgery & What You Should Know About Getting Ready: a patient-to-patient guide
I've included some tips on how to get mentally prepared for surgery, along with how long before surgery should you stop drinking alcohol and your diet prior to surgery.
What makes me the 'patient pro?' Well, I've had over forty surgeries, and along the way I've had lots of questions and many experiences. I'm pretty savvy about what you should pack and what you should have at home for post-surgery care.
PLEASE NOTE: I'm not a healthcare professional. My article here is a personal account of my hospital experiences and what worked best to make my surgeries and after-care a more productive one. Be sure to run your questions by your doctor before any medical procedure.
Prepare Your Body for Surgery
|Before Surgery Invest In a Good Exercise Shoe Like This One|
DO invest in a good walking or trainer shoe! I recommend New Balance for Women and Men like the above shoe: they tend to be wider than many other top competitors' exercise shoe and they're totally comfortable. Obviously, these are women's sneakers, but the men's styles can be found by clicking the same link.
True Story: Surgery That Took Forty-Two Days!I'll elaborate further down right before my surgery tips. You'll see--very clearly-- why my recommendation for meditation (below, here) makes sense. I bet you'll identify with my little story. Don't worry; it's a light-hearted tale.
|How-To Meditation for Surgery Preparation|
Preparing Yourself Mentally for Surgery
|Prepare for Surgery with Proper Diet|
Your Diet: What You Should Eat Before Surgery
|Diet: Prepare for Your Surgery's Success|
The Best Foods Keep Inflammation at Bay So Your Body Can Heal
Popular Questions for Surgery Preparation
Why Can you have surgery if you have a cold?
Why can't you eat or drink before surgery?
Eating or drinking the day of surgery is a no-no and one of my least favorite parts of having surgery. You simply can't eat before surgery as you might get queasy from medication. We all can relate to medications that made someone sick, like an antibiotic where you or a family member threw up (vomited) after taking it. Not eating or drinking before surgery is a necessary precaution. I'm not saying you will throw up on the operating table, but if you sneak, and eat or drink before surgery you are increasing your chances of vomiting while you're asleep! Not good when you have a breathing tube. Just don't do it. Hospitals have to take a lot of seemingly over-the-top precautions, but it's for your own good.
NOTE: I'm not trying to scare you. Be sure you read my tips on down for mental comfort on this one.
How long before surgery should I stop drinking alcohol?Drinking alcohol before surgery should be discussed with your doctor, as alcohol can tax--and even ruin your liver. I won't give you a lecture; just remember that healing will take all of your organs working overtime to heal post surgery. Alcohol is not a good idea. Anyway, if you drink alcohol prior to surgery, it's usually metabolized (gone from your body) with a healthy liver after 24 hours, BUT you can be dehydrated, have fluid retention, and even more issues well after that period. The drink tablets here are a great thing to have before and after surgery. I'll talk more about hydration in the tips section further down.
|Keep Hydrated Before & Post Surgery: Nuun Drink Tablets|
REALLY IMPORTANT: If you drink everyday, your body might go into shock upon attempting to stop drinking completely and all at once: it's a syndrome called delirium tremens, and is very serious, killing 35% of alcoholics who attempt cold turkey cessation. You can't have all this going on while you;re having surgery. You're really going to have to come clean with your doctor about your consumption. Please don't be too proud. Be truthful. YOU control what your doctor is allowed to discuss with your family if you don't want them to know.
Tips On Having Surgery
The Forty-Two Day Surgery!
Often when we hear the words, "surgery," our minds go into a fast-forward spiral, and we have no control to stop the manic anxiety we feel. And because surgery is often scheduled for sometime in the (hopefully) near future--usually about six weeks--our minds have free rein and we're stuck in a vortex of sorts.
Fear can add so much unnecessary stress to even the simplest of surgeries, so a one-day surgery (often called 'same-day surgery') becomes a 21-day, a 30-day, or scarier yet, a 42-day surgery. I'm referring to the amount of time since you are first told about said surgery, added to actual surgery date:
Do you see what I'm trying to tell you?
If you identify with the worry I talked about, go back and revisit the meditation materials I featured. You can find other materials at the link. You owe it to yourself and your family to find relief in a practice that will last you a lifetime. Once you learn meditation, teach your family--kids included.
I'm not saying don't plan for your surgery; I'm saying don't worry!
Here's some things you might want to have on hand and at home before you get home.
more tips on having surgery after these gotta-haves
Things to get before having surgery (small things, first)
|Buy a Pill/medication Organizer Before Surgery|
- Will you need a locked compartment?
- Do you need a timer?
- Do you need easy-open (think had surgery)
- Pill splitter/magnifier
- Will you need a large pill compartment?
- Save money by asking your doctor for generics, if available
- Some tablets can be split in half. Buying larger-dose tablets saves money
- Make sure you know any medication that is time or extended release; NEVER break these tablets!
- Take a picture or video with your cell phone of each pill next to the bottle's label in case you get confused
Thermometer. A thermometer--one that works well--is a must. Period. You don't want to have to go out at midnight for a thermometer. I can guarantee when you call your doctor for any problems, she'll ask if you're running a fever. Fever is your body's indicator of infection. If you're having surgery you need a thermometer. No questions asked: it could save your life.
|Prepare for Surgery with a Thermometer|
- Will you need easy-to-read?
- Does your present thermometer have a case?
- Do you need a light-up?
- This one is cheap, has a case; is fast & easy to read
- Be sure to open the package and use the thermometer before your surgery
- Make sure you can see the numbers easily
- Become familiar with the read time
- Have your OWN thermometer
How to Know What Monitors You'll Need After Surgery
|Post/After Surgery Blood Pressure Monitor|
Blood Pressure Monitor
- Wrist or Upper Arm?
- Large Read-Out?
- Can You See the Pulse Rate?
put everything into a box like this cheap tackle box.
|Prepare & Organize for Surgery $12.99|
It's good to have a box away from kids' and your significant others' fingers. Trust me, you'r not gonna want to course the entire house looking for a thermometer.
Not fun after surgery.
Things To Do Before Surgery Tips
- Make a list; add to it as you find things you need
- Get your small items first; large items that take up room can really clutter up your home too early
- Prepare your meals using inexpensive BPA-free lunch trays (dishwasher safe) with covers
- Cook larger lasagnas, double-size chili, vegetable soups (use frozen organic vegetables--especially corn), any dish that you can prepare in double or triple batches if great. It only takes a little extra effort to cook food like this, and if your surgery is scheduled a few weeks in advance that's time you can use when cooking for your family's dinner.
- Ask a friend or family to help out with shopping and cooking until you have a month's worth of prepared food in your freezer. Canned foods tend to have way too much salt! Don't forget the anti-inflammatory cookbooks.
- Rice and pasta dishes are great post-surgery diets but ask your doctor first
- If you don't have a rolling office chair, get one! These office chairs are a godsend. You can wheel yourself from kitchen to toilet without stress on your hips, back, knees, etc. Anytime I had surgery where I was told to stay off the affected area, I broke out my office chair. Don't get one with arms; keep to the 'task chair,' where you can transfer and move your arms.
Your Surgery Preparation:
- Keep hydrated--especially before surgery. If you've had enough fluids going into the hospital, your I.V. will go in a lot easier! I added the tablets earlier in his post to make hydration easier.
- Tell the nurse you want lidocain added to keep the I.V. insertion less painful.
- You will have an appointment with your anesthesiologist before any surgery when you have general anesthesia (putting you to sleep). Tell the doctor what you want. Do you want to be full-out asleep? Maybe a 'twilight' (my fave) sleep? I often prefer to be on my own oxygen but put out enough not to know what's going on. Also, I ALWAYS insist that I don't wake up in the O.R. (operating room). Too, if I'm having say, a foot surgery, I tell the doctor I want a block plus the sleep anesthesia, so I wake up pain free (due to the block) and with light sleep gas, I'm pretty alert and recover faster.