How to prepare for a surgery

Sascha GallardoMay 11, 2021

After so many doctors appointments, you finally have a diagnosis. And as part of the treatment plan, you have to undergo a surgery.

Although each type of surgery is certainly different from the other and would require some specific preparations, having a general idea of what needs to be done before the operation can help you better cope both with the surgery and recovery.

Below are some general recommendations when preparing for a surgery.

1. Ask your friends at Ben’s Friends

Many of your fellow members in the Ben’s Friends community have already gone through the procedure you’re about to have. Someone might have already posted their experience including some of the things that they have learned from which others could benefit from. Make sure to search the site for related posts.

If you’re not able to find previous posts related to your upcoming surgery, ask your fellow members any questions you might have and those that have gone through the same procedure would be happy to share useful information with you.

2. Get in good shape

Improving one’s physical fitness before surgery can lessen the chances of complications and result in faster recovery. Doing some light exercises a few weeks before surgery, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding stress and anxiety triggers are just some of the ways to better prepare for an operation.

Each one’s physical condition, however, is different so it is always important to consult your doctor on the type of exercises and diet most suitable for you.

3. Plan for restrictions that might result from the surgery

Depending on the surgery you would undergo, there might be a few things that would be difficult for you to do while recovering.

Some surgeries can affect one’s mobility so it might be good to rearrange a few things at home prior to it. If your room is upstairs, you might need to transfer downstairs in the meantime. If bladder control might be a problem, consider a work-around.

You might also need to have easier access to the kitchen or have a big enough table in your room where you can place your meds and other necessities.

If talking would be difficult for a while, you might want to keep a notepad and pen near your bed or ensure that you always have your phone so you can send a text message when needed.

4. List the things where you would need to ask help

Of course, there would be instances where you would need help from other people. You might not be able to do household chores for a while or you might not be able to drive to buy medicine. Make a list of all those things and ask family members or friends if they could help.

Also, make sure to have a list of phone numbers and email addresses of people who can help. This includes the names and numbers of your doctors. This will come in handy when your helpers need to contact them. The doctor’s receptionist is also a key person to know in case of a problem!

5. Make your room comfortable

You might also want to consider preparing things that can make your room more comfortable such as blackout curtains, scented candles, special pillows, or a music player. And consider whether your bed will need to be raised to help you get in and out of it. Being able to relax and having a good sleep can contribute to better recovery.

6. Stocking up on appropriate food items

What are the types of food you can and can’t eat after the procedure? For instance, solid food might not be ideal for you so it would be good to stock up on soup based food or protein shakes.

You might also want to cook and freeze ahead as well as stock the ingredients that can be used by friends or family to make easy meals.

7. Shopping for essential supplies

Imagine coming home from the hospital and realizing you’ve run out of toilet paper, laundry detergent and dishwashing liquid. It definitely won’t be a pleasant experience.

It’s a good thing that deliveries have become popular these days and you can replenish your stash when necessary. But make sure to have enough that would last for at least two weeks so that you won’t have to think about them right after coming back from the hospital.

If you’ve never done online grocery shopping, get good at it before you need it! I know, we all want to personally inspect and select our vegetables, but like surgery, sometimes you have to trust someone else to do what you can’t do for yourself!

8. Plan how to keep yourself busy while recovering

The surgery will require you to stay at home for a while to recover. Not having anything to do during that period could not only make one bored, it also has a tendency to make you focus on negative things like worrying about side effects.

To avoid this, you might want to plan in advance how you will keep yourself busy while recovering. You can buy a few books, sudoku or crossword puzzles, or a knitting kit. Maybe even try an online game with friends. Just make sure these activities won’t strain you but would help your mental health.

9. Prepare the things to bring to the hospital

As the day of the surgery comes close, make sure to have a checklist of everything you need to bring to the hospital and prepare them in advance. These can include clothes, toiletries, plastic bags for soiled clothes and trash, and other things that are essential for you. But don’t overpack: after surgery you really won’t care whether you’ve got the right shade of lip gloss.

10. Check out your Ben’s Friends community

Having to undergo surgery can be challenging. You might need to talk about it but no one seems to understand exactly what it is you’re going through.

As always, your fellow Ben’s Friends members are always ready to hear you out. Whenever you feel the need to express how you feel, just make a post on the community site.

If you or anyone you know are affected by a rare or chronic illness that is included in our list of communities, we invite you to sign up so that you can have a safe and supportive online community.

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