Preparing yourself physically and emotionally for surgery


    Often patients think that the major part of a surgical procedure is in the surgeon’s hands, but that’s not exactly the case. The healthcare specialist indeed plays a vital role, but the patient’s part is just as important. 

    If you are planning for an upcoming surgery, you’ve probably taken the time to find the right specialist and scheduled the medical procedure. But as the patient, you need to address everything related to the surgery, from the pre-operative health to the post-operative care. The efforts you make now affect your recovery. You don’t afford to neglect this step. 

    Don’t simply wait for the day of the surgery to come. Take the following actions to be healthy and strong and speed up your recovery. 

    Here is how to prepare your body and mind for the surgery.

    Make healthy lifestyle choices

    The stronger and healthier you are before the surgery, the easier your recovery will be. Therefore, you should focus on three things to ensure that you step into the surgery room in top shape: nutrition, physical activity, and giving up bad habits. 

    Nutrition is of crucial importance before the surgery and, in some instances, even requisite. Sometimes doctors recommend losing weight before surgery or following a particular diet. Even if you received no specific diet plan, eating meals rich in nutrients (calcium, zinc, Vitamin C and D) and protein can support healing. Don’t restrict calories before the surgery or embark on a drastic diet. Eat a healthy and balanced diet to stay strong. 

    Physical activity improves your cardiovascular health and supports muscle recovery (supposing you need physical therapy). If you exercise regularly, continue as regular (unless your surgeon recommended otherwise). If you neglected it before, add cardio exercise, but don’t push your body too much. Remember the goal is to improve your fitness, not overexert yourself before the surgery. 

    Quitting cigarettes, drugs and alcohol should always be considered before undergoing any medical procedure. Giving up these bad habits help you stay healthy in the long run and improve your post-operative outcomes. Substance addiction and smoking increase the risk of extended ventilator care, vascular constriction, scarring, hospital readmission, and similar health complications. 

    Organise your finance

    Having surgery is stressful enough without the added stress of dealing with hospital bills. Surgery expenses include both hospital stay and recovery (physical therapy or home care). Here is what you should do to have peace of mind. 

    Ask your employer what options you have for sick or vacation time. Some companies offer supplemental disability coverage to provide patients with additional income if they cannot come back to work immediately after the medical procedure. 

    Speak with your doctor to determine what tests you need before and after the surgery. Often tests and inpatient/outpatient services require pre-authorisation from your healthcare insurer, and if they don’t authorise these tests, you may have to pay them out of pocket. 

    If your surgery aims to repair damage resulting from medical negligence, consult an educative resource like to determine what the process implies. When you’re the victim of medical malpractice, you can claim compensation for your injuries. When it comes to medical expenses, never assume anything. Double-check with your personal injury solicitor if you aren’t sure whether you need particular paperwork. 

    Ensure there’s someone to help you when you come back

    Despite what you might think, there is no such thing as minor surgery. There are indeed some less invasive procedures, but they also require a recovery period when you must limit your physical activities. 

    Even if everyone describes you as a superhuman, do yourself a favour and take a break after the surgery to ensure that your body is recovering properly. The more you rely on someone to help you, the faster you’ll be independent and on your feet. 

    Here are some suggestions on how to arrange for help:

    – Hire childcare services or ask a family member or friend to care for your kids while you’re in the hospital and recovering after the surgery. 

    – Get someone at work to fill in for you when you’re recovering from the medical procedure and provide them with all the information required to do your job. 

    – Ask a friend or family member to care for your home while you’re at the hospital and the period you’re recovering. Don’t assume that you can drive home and get back to your daily activities because you have an outpatient procedure as nothing happened. If your friends cannot drive you home, hire an Uber or car service to help you. 

    – Hire home care services to assist you during your recovery period. Some insurance providers cover home health care services. 

    – Schedule physical therapy in advance to ensure that you get the best care. 

    Research possible surgical complications

    You hope for the best when you schedule surgery because having a positive outlook can speed up your recovery. But it’s essential to be aware of the possible complications associated with anaesthesia and surgery. Be a good patient and research what to expect from your kind of surgery. A qualified surgeon will also inform you of the most common complications and tell you how you can avoid them or limit their effect. It’s crucial to recognise and treat complications immediately to prevent them from worsening your health. 

    The bottom line

    It probably took you by storm, finding out that you need surgery to treat the medical issue you’re struggling with. Don’t let your medical diagnosis overwhelm you, and focus your efforts to understand your options. Is surgery the only solution, or can you choose an alternative? If you need surgery, do you have to schedule it immediately, or can you wait until you come up with a plan? Can you choose from multiple medical procedures? Ask your surgeon to explain the differences between them and discuss all the steps with them. Schedule more than one consultation if you need further clarifications. 



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