Here are a few suggestion to prepare you for the surgery:
1) Find the right person to take you there and bring you home. Make sure it's someone who is comforting, attentive and makes you feel peaceful. Some loved ones, while willing, may be anxious and their anxiousness may make it worse for you. Find the person who most helps you because it will be a hard day for you. Something I learned when I was still a kid and had a concussion, don't have people or noise around you that make you feel more anxious, stressed or sick!
Another important note: make sure they are free all day just in case surgery is delayed or you have complications. When I went in for my second procedure a few years ago, they told me it would be about 2 1/2 surgery time and my expectation was that I would be home by noon. I didn't get home until 6 p.m. and my friend who took me was there for a very long day waiting for me. I was so out of it for so long that I had no idea if she knew what was going on all that time, etc. and we had to make some emergency plans to pick up Kiddo at school and have someone available who could watch her into the evening. Prepare for all possible contingencies including that you might end up staying the night in the hospital.
2) Share what's happening with a couple of good friends. I am pretty hush, hush about this kind of stuff, but I've learned as I've gotten older that it's good to let people know what is going on. They can help and will offer and you should let them. When a friend's husband asked what we were doing this week, I realized and mentioned that I had totally forgotten I was having surgery. The next day his wife contacted me and asked if they could bring dinner.
Another friend offered to take me to the surgery if I wanted her to (see #1!). So nice of her and even though The Man took me, she would've been a great choice if I needed her! I also texted with a couple of friends who checked in and with my mom throughout the day. It was good to know people were watching out for me and cared. These are the moments to allow people to care for you, to feel their love and give them an chance to show it.
3) Ask medical professionals all the questions you need to to make yourself feel comfortable. You will talk to quite a few people in the lead up process to procedure. Let them help you feel more comfortable and keep a list of questions you can refer to each time you talk to someone. You may get varying answers from different people so keep asking questions until you feel comfortable.
4) Change the sheets on your bed and make your bedroom pretty and cozy. This is something I wish I had done that I didn't do. I change the sheets often on our bed, but by the time I'd been in bed all day the day of surgery and the following day I was feeling icky. When I got up the next morning the first thing I did was pull all the bedding off our bed and head to the laundry room. I still hadn't put our new comforter on the bed yet so I did that too. It was a good day to make a big change! Other things you can add to make your room comfortable and cheery are: fresh flowers, a diffuser with essential oils, some lotion, a pitcher of water and glass or a filled sport water bottle, and anything else that you might want close by.
5) Get medical/personal care supplies you may need. Depending on the kind of surgery you are having there will be a few medical supplies you will want to have on hand. That may include feminine pads, medical tape, gauze, antibiotic cream, large bandages, etc. If you need to, ask your medical professionals what you will need. They can advise. This is another thing I didn't think much about but was lucky to have what I needed on hand at home already.
6) Prepare for the after effects of anesthesia, dehydration and post-op. I have had mixed experiences coming off anesthesia. It can be easy or it can be rough. Yesterday was rough. My second same day surgery was a very long stay in recovery, I think about 5 hours. Yesterday was 90 minutes and the first hour I felt horrible. The throat, lungs and sinuses take a lot of impact from surgery due to the breathing tube and medication.
- Beverages: Your throat will be sore and you will be dehydrated from fasting for so many hours. I had a dehydration headache for much of the day after I got home. Have a variety of beverages on hand to quench your thirst and soothe your throat. My husband got me a milkshake on the way home. I tried to drink a lot of water and that was hard, so I was glad to have a Vitamin Water XXX and some juices to get my headache under control. It wasn't until about 9 pm that it started feeling better. I was still having a bit of a headache the second day and trying to drink a lot.
- Saline Nasal Spray: From the time I got out of surgery throughout the rest of the day one side of my sinuses was aching, stuffy and then running like crazy. Saline Nasal Spray was a godsend and I used it repeatedly throughout the day. Because it's not medicinal it's something you can use as much as you want. And it helps clear out that congestion.
- Humidifier: I cranked my humidifier to high when I got home to help me clear my lungs and sinuses. When I got out of surgery I wasn't breathing deeply enough to get enough oxygen so the nurses were really pushing me to breath deeper. When I got home I was coughing up some mucus throughout the day. That all had to do with the anesthesia, so prepare for that. A good humidifier makes for good sleeping anytime!
- Tissues: As I mentioned I was coughing up stuff and my nose was running a lot. Having a box in bed with me made things easier.
- Food: What you need here will vary a lot. You may feel like eating nothing, you may be starving. I wasn't hungry much with my first surgery (female stuff), with my second surgery (tonsils, sinus and throat stuff) my throat was really sore so it was liquids for the first couple of days. Wednesday (female stuff again) I was super sick to my stomach right out of the O.R., then after an hour I wanted a nice milkshake and within another hour I was starving and ate a chicken sandwich and a full dinner later. I think it depends on the time of day of your surgery and how long you had to fast as well. Be prepared with some good liquid options and some gentle foods that you enjoy...and just in case you're starving later maybe have a burger or steak on hand in the fridge. Ha.
I also had a few magazines and books around, my phone - Instagram was a good distraction too. Forced resting when you're not feeling well gets boring and irritating really quickly. Maybe have someone give you a good rub or have a hand massager near the bed. Soak your feet in the tub (no bathing allowed usually), get a microwave heating pad for your shoulders. Do whatever you can to soothe your body and soul.
Women seem particularly challenged with resting and holding still. I know I am. So I've been trying to be really diligent about getting enough rest and following doctor's recover orders. It's boring, not a lot of fun, but I'm doing it and trying to give my body and soul the time they need to not just heal, but to heal well. We don't often get forced rest time so I want to make it count.
I'm going to climb into my beautiful clean bed now for a nap. Hope these tips are helpful to you if you or someone you love is having a medical procedure soon or pass it along to a friend who it might be helpful for. If you have any tips to share from your own experience please comment below. I'd love to hear them and anyone who reads this will appreciate it too I'm sure!
I am going to follow this post up next week with what to expect when you get to the surgical center. Have a great weekend!