No matter how safe you know a procedure is, no matter how proven and how routine it’s become, there’s always an innate fear when you’re scheduled to go under the surgeon’s knife. You don’t know what to expect after the effects of the anesthesia have worn off, and you’re not really mentally prepared before they wheel you into surgery. I’ve been through three surgeries in as many years; none of them were for life-threatening reasons, but I still felt my heart pounding heavily all the same before I went under. But after the first one, I realized that you’re able to cope better mentally and recover faster physically if you know what to expect, how to take the necessary precautions, and think positively. So if you’re scheduled to go into surgery anytime soon, here are a few things to bear in mind:
Follow your doctor’s orders:
No matter what other people tell you to do, it’s best to stick to your doctor’s orders. Don’t do anything that they’ve advised you against and always talk to them before you include all kinds of vitamin supplements and health enhancements in your diet. If they’ve asked you to stop certain drugs, do so immediately. Following your doctor’s orders could be the difference between an easy and painful recovery, or even life and death, post surgery.
Make sure you’ve told your doctor all that they need to know:
You must be completely honest with your doctor so that there are no surprises during the surgery and during your recovery period. If you smoke, drink regularly or do drugs, now is the time to come clean. Show them your prescription if you are on any kind of medication, and also ensure that they know if you’re allergic to any drug or chemical substance.
Talk to your doctor about post-surgical care and recovery:
Some surgeries are easy to recover from; you’re usually home in a few hours or in a day and can resume normal activity immediately. Others are more complicated and you may have to stay in the hospital for a few days before you go home. You may also need someone to help you around for sometime before you regain total independence. So talk to your doctor about your options and arrange for a loved one to assist and support you through the process.
Follow your post-surgical instructions carefully:
Once the surgery is over, you may be in a certain amount of pain. While this will subside over the next few days, ask your doctor what you must do in case the pain becomes unmanageable and under what circumstances you need to call for emergency help. Follow instructions so that there are no untoward incidents hampering your recovery process. Don’t jump the gun in resuming normal activities or going to work. Allow your body and mind time to heal and relax before you resume your regular life.
A surgery need not be a frightening process if you’re well prepared mentally and physically, and if you have loved ones to support you throughout the procedure.
This article is contributed by Shannon Wills, who regularly writes on the subject of surgical technologist schools. She can be reached at email address: [email protected]. She invites your comments and questions.