Surgery can be a challenging process to go through both physically and mentally. You may have undergone other operations before or be almost entirely new to a hospital environment. Either way, knowing how to prepare will help to make both your surgery and the recovery go as smoothly as possible.
Treatment waiting lists are currently at a 14-year high in the UK – but if you’ve been lucky enough to get a set date, here are some of the ways you can get ready.
Learn what to expect
The more you know about your surgery, the more confident you’ll feel going in. The type of surgery you’re undergoing will influence things like who’s on your surgical team, the equipment they’ll use and recovery times. Getting a gastric bypass to help with weight loss usually requires spending two to three nights in hospital, for example.
Researching other practical details like when you need to arrive on the day and what to take with you will also help to minimise pre-surgery stress or delays.
Look after your physical and mental health
Entering hospital in the best state possible will aid your recovery, so aim to eat a balanced diet, stay hydrated and exercise as advised in the run up. You may then be required to fast for a short period of time beforehand.
You can also prepare mentally by practicing relaxation and deep-breathing exercises. Try to focus on the improved quality of life you’ll enjoy afterwards rather than dwelling on the operation itself.
Talk to people
We’re in an age where talking about worries is encouraged and known to make us feel better, so make sure to have honest conversations with those around you.
Ask your doctor all the questions you feel you need to and don’t be afraid of sounding silly. Part of their job is to fully inform you of what the surgery involves and to put you at ease.
Speaking to friends and family meanwhile could help you get extra support both before your surgery and afterwards.
Prepare for recovery at home
The bulk of your recovery will take place at home, so it’s worth doing what you can to make it as comfortable and suited as possible for your return.
Prepare anything you might need such as fresh sheets, extra pillows and cushions. You may also want to stock up on painkillers and other general medicines, as well as frozen meals and store cupboard ingredients.
Removing trip hazards and improving lighting will reduce the risk of a nasty accident setting back your recovery. You could collect entertainment options too like books, puzzles, movies and music – or ask your partner or loved one to!
Undergoing surgery is bound to feel daunting in some aspects, for example if you had surgery because of spine health issues. Follow the tips above to prepare yourself for what’s to come and make your recovery after surgery procedure easier.
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