The days and weeks before any type of surgery can be full of anxiety and worry. They can also be filled with doctor’s appointments, pre-operation visits and meetings with the surgical team. However, during these busy weeks, it is essential for a patient to make preparations before their surgery that will help to ensure that they have a positive outcome. Just knowing that they are prepared for their surgery can help to ease many of the concerns that a person will have before their surgical operation.
1. Patients should research their surgery thoroughly by reading medical literature and having frank conversations with their doctors. If they are unsure of something, then it is best to ask questions before the surgery occurs. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight! It is ok to take medications with sips of water, but only enough water to take medication. Eating or drinking several hours before surgery raises the risk of complications during anesthesia, and the surgery may be postponed or even canceled due to this.
2. Patients will need to arrange for care after their surgery. Most hospitals require that a person be driven home after an operation, so potential caregivers should be able to perform this important duty. On the topic of medications, take all medications as you would normally unless told otherwise by your physician (for example, no blood or platelet thinners like aspirin or Coumadin).
3. The patients home may need to be rearranged to help them to accomplish their daily tasks. For example, someone who just had hand surgery might need to have items available that they can use with only one hand. Make sure to have all required lab testing and work-up by the anesthesiologist done before the date of the surgery. The anesthesiologist has to make sure you are stable enough for anesthesia for surgery to minimize complications.
4. Patients should arrange for their personal care. This might include purchasing slippers instead of shoes, or they may need to purchase a chair for their shower. Confirm your date and time of surgery with the physician’s office.
5. Patients should discuss their after-care with their doctors. Right after surgery, many patients may not fully comprehend their after-care directions. Knowing before the surgery what they should expect and how they can help their healing is essential to being fully prepared. Make sure you have a ride with you to take you home after surgery. After anesthesia, you will not be aware and mindful enough to take care of your own transportation.