How to Prepare for Surgery: Top 6 things to do the day of and following

Welcome to Part 3 in my How to Prepare for Surgery series!

This post deals with what you should consider doing the day of surgery, as well as in the days immediately following.

1) Have your list of questions. If you haven’t already asked, be sure that you know the answers to these before you leave the hospital:

              When and what can I eat?

              When can I bathe?

              When can I remove the bandages?

              How long should I stay in bed?

              How often should I get up to walk?

              When can I start exercising? What kind do you recommend?

              When can I drive?

              When should I come in for a post-op examination?

              What are warning signs that I should come in before then?

2) Have your list of contacts. Chances are, there are more than one or two people who need to be updated about what’s happening. But when you’re worried about your own situation, it’s easy to forget who all you’re supposed to contact. Have your list of contacts for emailing, calling or texting so that you don’t forget who to update. You can always post on Facebook, but if you don’t want the world to know your personal business, have your list ready.

3) Have food ready. There’s no telling what time you’ll get home. If you’re not the patient, you’ll need some nourishment while your loved one is in surgery. If you end up getting home late, you’ll want a meal that’s ready to go – but healthy and one that promotes regularity. If anesthesia is being used, your stomach won’t be able to handle anything too heavy or spicy. Soup is usually a safe option. We had chicken-cabbage-carrot soup ready to heat up, so no cooking was required that day or the next.

4) Have help ready. If you live on your own, ask a friend or family member to stay with you. Just having another person there will give you comfort. You may not sleep well because of pain and discomfort, but you’ll feel better knowing that help is only a yelp away. If you live with someone, ask that person to take off work the day after surgery. Both times we’ve found that Day 1 wasn’t so bad because there are still remnants of industrial strength pain medication in the system. It was Night 1 and Day 2 that were tough. Having someone there on standby is reassuring.

5) Ice up. We had ice packs and baggies of ice ready. The surgeon suggested having bags of frozen peas on hand because they conform to the body better than ice packs. We used a combination of those and rotated them throughout the day.

6) Write the purpose on your medication bottles. Huh? We noticed that none of the medication bottles clearly indicated what the medication was for. The name of the drug was in bold. The dosage was clearly typed. But the condition that the medication was supposed to alleviate was either not written anywhere on the container, or it was so tiny that we had to hunt for it. If you’re in a bind, you won’t want to take the time to search for the words “pain” or “nausea” or “stool softener” on a bottle – nor would you want to take the wrong medication. Use a Sharpie marker to write what the meds are for in nice, big, bold letters.

As I mentioned in my first post of this How to Prepare for Surgery series, this might seem like an odd subject for a time management and productivity blog. But if you’ve ever peeked at any of the books that I’ve written, you know that I’m a firm believer in self-care. After all, if you don’t care for your mind and body, you won’t be able to make better decisions about how you use your time.

By prepping ahead of time, you’ll be able to relax, rest and focus on your healing. And get back soon to being productive.

This was Part 3 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 that you need surgery

Part 2 – what to do in the days leading up to the surgery

About Helene Segura, M.A. Ed., CPO®

As The Inefficiency Assassin™, Time Management Fixer Helene Segura empowers professionals on the go with the tools to slay lost time. Personal inefficiency at work leads to increased stress levels, lower morale, higher absenteeism, more turnover – and rising spending on employee health care and hiring. Why not improve productivity, decrease stress levels, and increase profits instead?The author of four books – two of which were Amazon best-sellers – Helene Segura has been the featured organization expert in more than 200 media interviews. She has coached hundreds of clients to productivity success and performance improvement by applying neuroscience and behavioral modification techniques to wipe out destructive, time-wasting habits.Helene turns time management on its head by sharing both client case studies and pop culture examples to teach her mind-bending framework for decreasing interruptions, distractions and procrastination so that companies can spend more time generating revenue.

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