Another X on the calendar, and you’re one day closer to the thing you’ve been dreading: your big operation.
It doesn’t have to be such a stressful process, however. While post-operative rehabilitation can help you get back into fighting shape following surgery, it’s just as important to be well-prepared beforehand.
Here’s some advice that will help get you to read and hopefully reduce your anxiety.
Ask Lots of Questions
The key to preparing for any operation is to be your own best advocate. You need to take an active interest in your health and treatment. Remember that your doctors are not there to act as parents or teachers; they are there to help you. Help them help you by engaging in serious discussions with them.
Write down any concerns or questions you might have beforehand, and don’t be afraid to follow up if you think of something you forgot later on. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if you’re confused about anything, either. It’s literally your life at stake, and you deserve to be well-informed about what is going to happen.
Discuss Your Lifestyle
Just as you need to be able to make educated decisions about your health. It’s important that your nurses and doctors are likewise educated about your lifestyle. That includes your dietary intake, any medications you use (both prescription and over-the-counter), how much exercise you regularly get, and any other aches, pains, or issues you have been living with that you may not have considered serious until now.
In addition to what you’re being operated on for, you may have other medical conditions without realizing it, simply because you just assumed your symptoms were “no big deal.”
Plan for Post-Op Living
While rehabilitation can help get you back to your previous standard of living, even if your surgery or medical condition doesn’t come with any significant life-altering side effects, in the immediate period following your operation. It’s probable that your daily existence will require some big changes. Knowing what to expect early on can help you plan and prepare for that.
For instance, you may need to temporarily alter your sleeping arrangements, schedule time off from work, or get daily assistance from a friend or caregiver. Or, if you’ll be using special equipment like an oxygen tank or wheelchair. You may need to move the furniture in your home to accommodate it.
Try to Stay Relaxed
The worst part of most operations isn’t the procedure itself or even the post-op aftermath. It’s waiting. Surgery is not scary, and that’s because surgery is never without risk. That’s why the above steps are so vital; they increase your chances of success without complications.
Even still, it’s not unusual to worry, and as the day of the operation draws closer, your anxieties will likely increase. Try to find a relaxation technique that works for you, whether it be meditation, self-distraction, or talking to someone about how you feel. Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health, so do your best to take care of it.