At some time in life, you may need surgery. It can be minor or major, but one thing it all has in common is that it is not fun. No one enjoys the stress in the lead-up, the pain in the aftermath, and the subsequent lifestyle changes that may result. There are, however, ways to make the process less stressful and aid in a quicker recovery.
Ask Questions – Before your procedure, you will meet with your surgeon who will discuss what will happen and how you can prepare yourself. This is the best time to ask any questions such as:
• What are the risks and benefits?
• What do I need to do to prepare? Blood tests, fasting, change to medications, etc.?
• What type of anaesthesia will I be having and who is the anaesthetist?
• Will it be keyhole surgery or require a larger incision?
• What can I expect for my recovery?
• What will be my financial cost and is it covered under my insurance?
• How will my GP be involved?
Take your time in your appointments and ask all of your questions. Enquire about what the surgery will include, what to expect in the aftermath, and make sure you are convinced the procedure will adequately benefit you. General advice is often supplied in writing so you can refer back to it, so make sure you don’t lose it.
Exercise – Exercising could keep your body in good shape for surgery. While being careful not to overdo it – if you require surgery you most likely have an ailment or injury that would prevent certain exercises – keeping an appropriate fitness regime, that you have discussed with your doctor in the weeks preceding your surgery can give your body a beneficial boost.
Eat Healthy – Scouring packages for nutritional information is never fun, but when you are preparing for surgery, eating healthy is a must. By filling your body with vitamins and nutrients, you can boost its performance and drastically cut-down on recovery time, but as always check with your doctor first because some vitamins could have an unwanted effect.
Lower Stress and Anxiety – Of course going into surgery is going to be a stressful situation, but by keeping yourself calm, you can reduce the risk of higher blood pressure. A famous saying is: ‘Knowledge is power’ and the more information you have, the less stressed you will feel. Read reputable articles about your condition and the procedure, consult the surgeon with any concerns or queries, and talk to friends and family members who have been through similar surgeries.
Medication Levels – As you get closer to the day of your surgery, your doctor or operating surgeon may alter the dosage of the regular medications you have been taking. Blood thinners are sometimes stopped, as they can lead to excess blood loss. Always keep your surgeon and other medical professionals informed of the regular medications you are taking; consult with them before making any medication decisions and discuss when to resume.
Support Person – Having a support person there on the day is important. You will often need someone to drive you to the hospital or clinic and home again. Your support person can also monitor you for at least a few hours when back home. They can be great moral support, and remember any important information.