You might feel scared and overwhelmed when your healthcare provider tells you that you need to undergo major surgery. Yes, it may be necessary to fix a serious health problem or to improve your quality of life, but it’s not an enjoyable experience.
Unless we have experience in navigating the healthcare system, we might not know what to expect in the months and days leading up to the surgery date. We also probably don’t know what we can expect afterwards. Not to mention, many people feel nervous about undergoing general anesthesia and enduring the other invasive tasks associated with an operation.
Getting surgery is a complex process, but you can feel more confident leading up to your surgery when you equip yourself with the right resources. As a result, you can play an active role in ensuring that your experience goes as smoothly as possible. In this article, we’ll share four approaches that you can embrace for your surgery preparation so you feel ready for the big operation.
Do your research
Undergoing surgery is a big decision. It’s crucial to do your research to ensure that you are giving informed consent, and actively participating in your healthcare. Let’s break down what “doing your research” means for your surgery preparation.
First off, it’s crucial that you ask as many questions as possible. To set yourself up for success, you can read credible online medical sources about your procedure and condition before your pre-operative appointment. That way, you can prepare the right questions for your surgeon to feel fully informed about the risks and benefits.
Beyond asking about the actual procedure, it’s helpful to ask questions so you can manage your expectations – especially if you’ve never had surgery. Make sure to ask about pre-operative protocols and what will happen during postoperative recovery.
To increase your confidence, you can read reviews about the hospital, as well as your surgeon. If you feel unsure about their course of action, you could ask for a second opinion from another surgeon.
Prepare your body
Besides doing your research, it’s important to work on strengthening your body as part of your preparation for surgery. That way, you can increase your chances of a successful operation and shorten the recovery period.
Many lifestyle changes can help you prepare your body while minimizing complications and pain. Of course, always consult your healthcare provider to ensure an activity is safe.
To begin with, it can be helpful to take care of the basics: eating well, drinking enough water, and engaging in physical activity. When it comes to eating, you can prime your body for surgery by focusing on cutting out inflammatory foods and ensuring you have a good fiber intake.
Preparing your body also means preparing yourself emotionally. Major surgeries can cause a lot of stress on the body and the mind. To help you cope, you can work on incorporating mindfulness techniques like meditation or start journaling. In some cases, seeing a therapist can also be beneficial.
For other ideas, check out our recent article “Five Lifestyle Changes You Can Make To Reduce Your Risk of Falling”. We share concrete actions that people can take to protect their health and keep their bodies strong. These lifestyle changes also help people minimize their risk of injury, which can help you in the days leading up to your surgery, while recovering and beyond.
It’s crucial that we prioritize injury prevention to lead longer, healthier lives – and reap the potential benefits from our surgery. When it comes to bathroom safety, we can help you create a safer bathroom with an accessible walk-in bathtub.
Create a space that facilitates your healing
Preparing your home is essential to the success of your recovery. You’ll be spending a lot of time at home, so you need a space that makes it easy to accomplish your basic activities of daily living, like eating and bathing.
Having a clean and well-organized space will make it easier for you to navigate your home. Before your surgery, make sure that you complete all your laundry. That way, you’ll have enough clean clothes and won’t have to worry about engaging in strenuous tasks. It’s also important to tidy and remove clutter so that you come home to a peaceful and calming space.
You can also buy tools to optimize your recovery, like putting in a toilet seat riser or a bidet, as well as a shower chair. If you don’t already use a mobility aid, you can consider renting one.
Beyond surface-level changes, you can consider making long-term structural alterations to your home. By improving your home’s accessibility, you can support your healing from surgery. More permanently, you’ll also help protect your body and reserve your energy for the activities that matter to you.
For example, many people with limited mobility struggle with entering and exiting their bathtub for a shower. Transforming your existing tub into a walk-in bathtub can make the process smoother. You will more likely be able to remain independent while bathing. Additionally, you can consider installing a permanent tub bar and shower grasp bar to enhance your bathroom safety. Visit our Accessible Bathtub product page to learn more about how we can help people in the Greater Toronto Area with walk-in bathtub conversions.
The tips we’ve discussed so far all have one thing in common: planning ahead. You can make your surgery experience more pleasant and easier by being proactive. Effective planning is the key to successful surgery recovery. When you aren’t feeling well after surgery, you can save yourself the stress and avoid unexpected obstacles.
Before your surgery, plan how you will get home from the hospital after your doctors discharge you. Ask what your discharge plan will be in advance, and make sure you get what you need. This includes setting up your appointments for follow-up care with your physician, physiotherapist, and other necessary healthcare providers. You will also benefit from packing a hospital bag with medications, toiletries, and other necessities.
It’s also wise to ensure that you have someone at home with you for a few days post-surgery to help out. Beyond that, you need to determine what you will need for recovery and do all your shopping in advance. This includes preparing meals and stocking your pantry and freezer. You’ll also be grateful to have comfortable, and simple clothing – so make sure you have access to some options.
In our recent article, we also discussed how “planning ahead” can help seniors stay independent in their homes and lifestyle for longer. Click here to read: Four Tips To Help Seniors Maintain Independence.
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash