Five Things to Do Before You Have Surgery


Having surgery can be nerve-wracking. It doesn’t matter if you are going in for a common procedure, like an appendectomy or a tonsillectomy, or if you’re having a more serious, less common procedure done, you are likely worried about everything from the procedure itself to how easy it is going to be for you to recover.

Preparing ahead of your surgery can help. Not only will it help you make sure your surgery and your recovery go as smoothly as possible, but it can also settle your nerves by giving you a sense of control over a procedure that’s just around the corner.

Choose the Right Surgeon

Are you one of the over 50-percent of Americans who believe that professional misconduct is a big problem in medicine? Or maybe you don’t realize just how serious medical malpractice is? Either way, you definitely want your surgery to be completed without any complications.

Instead of scheduling your surgery with the first surgeon you are referred to, shop around. Research surgeons, you’re interested in and don’t be afraid to ask questions about their experience and techniques. Not only can it help you find a doctor who is less likely to make a mistake in the operating room, but you may also be able to find a surgeon who knows how to do a less invasive procedure.

Follow Any and All Guidelines From Your Doctor

When you settle on a surgeon and you’re ready to schedule your surgery, make sure you follow the requests given to you by the nurse. They will likely tell you what to eat and drink if you can eat and drink at all. They may have special soap they want you to wash with the night before your surgery, and they may have rules about shaving, nail polish, and makeup.

Make sure you take your time to look over the list of demands so you can ask questions as you’re reviewing the requests with the nurse. You should also make sure you have a number you can call if you have questions when you return home. The nurse should be able to give you a direct number to the surgeon’s office so you don’t have to be transferred five times before you get the answers you need.

Modify Your Home

Some surgeries, like knee and hip surgery, require extensive home modifications that are much better to make before your procedure than after, but there are things you can do in your home to make life easier for you after you return from the operating room, no matter what procedure you’re having done.

A few modifications you can make ahead of your surgery include:

  • Picking up and rearranging furniture so you’re less likely to trip and fall
  • Clean the house so you don’t have to do it while you’re recovering
  • Put items, like snacks, drinks, and blankets next to the couch or bed

Ask Friends and Family For Help

Having support from friends and family has been shown to have a huge impact on recovery time post-surgery. Instead of trying to reach out when you’re feeling down and out on the couch, let your friends and family know you’re having the surgery ahead of time. Then, don’t be afraid to ask for and receive their help.

For example, a friend could bring over dinner so you don’t have to cook, while a family member may be willing to stay the night with you after your surgery. A spouse could take over driving the kids to and from school, and even young children can grab you a snack from the kitchen.

Find Things You Can Do to Stay Busy

Relaxing on the couch and watching TV is fun at first, but if your recovery is going to take longer than a day or two, it’s a good idea to find fun activities you can do on your own to pass the time.

A few ideas for things you can do while you’re recovering include:

  • Reading books
  • Knitting
  • Painting or drawing
  • Learning to play an instrument
  • Learning a new language
  • Writing
  • Doing puzzles
  • Building models

By thinking about how you want to pass the time before your surgery, you can be prepared when you return home. You can order puzzles online, buy knitting supplies, or get your hands on the instrument you want to learn ahead of your procedure.

Don’t let surgery take you by surprise! Prepare ahead of time and you can make sure your surgery and your recovery go as smoothly as possible.


By Susan Melony


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