Welcome to Part 2 in my How to Prepare for Surgery series!
This post deals with what you should consider doing in the days leading up to your scheduled surgery.
1) Clean your house. What?? Besides the fact that a cleaner house is nicer to come home to, consider how painful a sneeze or cough might be after you’ve had surgery. In my husband’s case, a cough or sneeze could blow his hernia right back out. To help prevent the onset of such occurrences, we swept, dusted, vacuumed and cleaned the bathrooms so that there’d be fewer irritants in the air.
2) Figure out what you take for granted. Who knew that changing out underwear, rolling out of bed, feeding your pets, driving, or even checking the mail on your own could be impossible in the first few days after surgery? Think about what your physical limitations after surgery might be and plan accordingly.
3) Wash the sheets. If you’re going to be in bed for several days, it’s so much nicer to be in discomfort on clean sheets rather than dirty ones. Resting in a pleasing environment helps the healing process.
4) Do the laundry. Specifically, make sure that you wash all of your favorite comfy clothes. You’ll want loose, comfortable clothing at the hospital so that you don’t have too-tight clothing that rubs on the incision. And, you probably won’t have laundry at top of mind in the days following surgery, so you’ll want to have your faves washed and ready to go. If the patient will be home alone at any point during the first week of recovery, make sure that these clean, comfy clothes are in an easy-to-reach place.
5) Do the dishes. Most people don’t want to do dishes during normal situations, so you’ll most likely put dishes at the bottom of your list during post-surgery. If you don’t want to have your clean dishes, glasses, and utensils ready to go, then make sure that you have disposable goods on standby.
6) “Take out the papers and the trash!” Just like laundry and dishes, who wants to fiddle with trash when you’re in recovery? Plus, wastebaskets are usually on the floor, which is not an easy place to reach if you’ve just had surgery. Give yourself empty trash receptacles to start with.
7) Go vegetarian in the days leading up to surgery. (Warning: TMI to follow!) After my husband’s first surgery, he experienced tremendous discomfort from constipation, which is caused by the various drugs that patients receive during surgery and take during post-op. Not even stool softeners could come to the rescue fast enough. Just like coughing or sneezing, an aggressive push to attempt to clear the colon could also lead to a hernia recurrence, so we couldn’t have that. This time around, we vegged out starting three days before. Oatmeal and berries for breakfast. Fruit for lunch. Salad and some type of non-meat protein for dinner. Prune juice following breakfast and dinner. On the morning after surgery, my husband experienced “smooth sailing.” Since he was on pain meds following the surgery, we continued with the veggie-mania. Each day after brought the same success.
8) Have groceries on hand. The day before surgery, pick up enough groceries for at least a few days so that you can go into nesting mode and just stay at home, focusing on healing. Include body wipes on your grocery list in case you’re not permitted to bathe for several days.
9) Prepare your convalescence materials. Do you like to read? Do you like to watch movies? Do you like to do puzzles? This is your chance to lounge! What would you like to do (besides sleep) while you’re in recovery? Keep in mind that sitting up might be uncomfortable for the first few days depending on your type of surgery, so have something ready that you can do while lying down. What items will you need to have nearby? Tissues, water, phone, books on your nightstand?
By prepping ahead of time, you’ll be able to relax, rest and focus on your healing.
This was Part 2 in my How to Prepare for Surgery series.
Be sure to catch the rest:
Part 1 – what to do as soon as you find out you need surgery
Part 3 – what to do the day of surgery and in the days immediately after