Going into surgery, no matter how minor the procedure, can be scary and nerve wracking for most people. A great way to calm these nerves and settle your fears is by properly preparing for the surgery. Preparing can make the procedure go much smoother and put you into the proper mindset before going in.
Days Before Your Surgery
Before going into surgery, there are a few things you need to cover. First off, it’s important to gain a full understanding of what your surgery is for, what the surgery is aiming to accomplish in terms of health, and the risks involved. While it may seem counterproductive to look over the risks of the surgery, it is imperative to know what you’re signing up for. Make sure to ask your doctor whether you’ll be given a general anaesthetic, a local anaesthetic or light sedation because you’ll need to prepare differently for each type.
Another important discussion to have with your doctor is about your medication to know if it’s safe or unsafe to take as usual leading up to your surgery. This is particularly important for people with diabetes when they are required to fast prior to surgery. Be sure to list every medication before going in. Whether it is prescribed or over-the-counter, it can affect your surgery. Also be sure to discuss foods you can and cannot, if alcohol consumption should be reduced, or help to quit smoking prior to the procedure. Smoking can increase complications during surgery and recovery.
The Day Before Your Surgery
Depending on the anaesthetic, you may need to avoid eating and drinking some hours before your surgery. Generally, your doctor or anaesthetist will let you know beforehand when you should stop eating or drinking. While most medications with a sip of water are safe to take the day before surgery, medicines such as anticoagulants, aspirin, or diabetes medications require special instructions.
Beyond bodily expectations to worry about the day before surgery, it’s best to plan how you’ll be getting to and from the hospital. It’s also good to have a family member or friend along with you to help get you home and be there for moral support.
On the day of your surgery, be sure to report to hospital reception, meet with your anaesthetist, and discuss post-surgery recommendations with your doctor.
The Days After Surgery
Preparing for before surgery and after surgery are equally important. On the days leading up to your surgery, you should always ask the doctor how long they expect you to stay in hospital afterward. While some operations will only need patients to stay in the hospital for a few hours, others will need multiple days in the hospital after surgery. Be sure to prepare for the amount of time you’ll be spending in the hospital post-surgery. You may need to bring spare clothes, books and electronics to keep you occupied, and a friend to take care of your household while you’re away.
Also, be prepared if you will need rehabilitation after surgery. Talk with your doctor to plan for rehabilitation treatment at home or in a rehabilitation unit.
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