Tips For Health Care After Surgery

In The Operating Room

Surgeons at work in the operating room
Surgeons at work in the operating room | Source

When Your Doctor Wants To Operate

What is the first thing you think of when the doctor tells you that you need surgery? You may immediately think of how your bills will get paid or who will be there to take care of you. These are important things to consider when you need surgery. You might also want to discuss whether there are other options and exhaust all options before going to the operating room.

However, when surgery is the only option, then it is time to prepare for both the surgery and the post surgery. You may not be able to do many of the things you normally take for granted right after having surgery. Much depends on what type of surgery you will be needing. The following tips and suggestions may help you get through this rough time a little bit easier.

These tips and suggestions are for anyone facing surgery, but they can be extremely important to the elderly or anyone who lives alone.

Crutches May Be Needed After Surgery

Walking with crutches may hinder some of a person's activities
Walking with crutches may hinder some of a person's activities | Source

Talking With Your Doctor First

The first thing you must do is to learn what the doctor recommends in your situation. This is a list of some of the things to discuss with your doctor prior to surgery.

  1. Know everything you need to know about the procedure you are having done. Ask questions if you don't understand the need for surgery
  2. Find out how long you will be in the hospital or if you will be released the same day of surgery
  3. Discuss with the doctor the type of work you do and how long it will take you to recover to return to your job.
  4. Make sure you understand what you will be able to do when you go home. There may be restrictions such as no lifting or certain foods you may have to avoid. In some cases, you may have to keep an arm or leg elevated to reduce swelling. Understanding and following the doctors orders will help you heal and get back to normal faster

Getting Ready For Surgery

Prepare Before Surgery

There is no way around it. You are going to have surgery and may be off of work for weeks. How will you pay your bills until you can return to your job? Will you be able to take care of your own personal care or will you have to arrange for help?

  • Hopefully, you have a short term disability insurance that you either pay privately or through your work. This would pay you a certain amount while you are unable to work
  • If your surgery is not scheduled for a few weeks, try to save as much as you can during that time. You actually should have an emergency fund that will get you through a few weeks or at least a month
  • If possible pay bills such as car payment or mortgage in advance.
  • Speak with any creditors and try to make arrangements in advance. Most banks will work with you if they know what is going on. For example, my bank will let me skip my car payment and pay only an interest payment for that month.

If you have family that lives with you and can help look after your needs then you are indeed a lucky person. But many people. especially older people live alone and this can be a serious problem for them. Here is a list of some preparations to make in advance of your surgery date.

  1. Stock your cupboards, refrigerator and freezer with easy to prepare meals. Another idea is to cook soups that you like or meals and freeze them. They are easy to reheat. Make sure you have soft foods for the first few days, jello, puddings and applesauce in those small individual containers are good to have on hand.
  2. If you are not going to be near the bathroom or need help, a portable bedside commode might be a good solution
  3. If possible arrange for someone to stay with you a few days
  4. Let friends and family know that you may need some assistance for the first few days. Even just having someone that can stay long enough to make sure you can get a shower is a big help
  5. If you take medications on a daily basis, be sure to have your prescriptions filled the day before surgery so that when you come home you don't suddenly find that you are out of a necessary medication
  6. Since you will be able to do very little for a few days you should plan how you will spend your time. If you like to read, stock up on books. For movie addicts, you can plan on watching some movies or shows you haven't had time to watch. Some people like to sew, crochet or knit. The important thing is to be prepared with activities you can enjoy while resting.

Post Surgery Care

After surgery is a rough period for a few days or even weeks. It is important that you rest and follow your doctor's orders. If you experience extreme pain, bleeding or other unusual symptoms, call your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room.

Follow up with your doctor's appointments and begin to increase your activity as the doctor allows you to. Make sure you know what your medications are and take according to directions and be aware of any medication side affects.

Planning ahead down to the smallest details can help you make it through the weeks after surgery.

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