Let’s begin with being told you need surgery and you being ready for it. Most Doctors are more willing to help you with your issues of broken bones or pain if you yourself admit you need their help and want it. When I was diagnosed with ruptured discs in my neck, I honestly did not want surgery and wanted to find any other way possible to fix it. I went to chiropractors, therapists, home remedy therapists and to my avail, I waited too long until it was SO bad that I said, “I’m done.” I was finally ready. Our emotions about surgery sometime get the best of us and we are not willing to admit our issue is bad enough until the fact that much more damage is done. Sometimes, yes, it pays to be stubborn and wait it out, but many times over, it does not. In my case, my neck was much worse ten years after the fact than when I started. The idea of surgery and being “put out” under anesthesia frightened me, but much more, the “what if’s” that went with it. What if I died, was I ready? What if I was paralyzed, what would happen to me and my family? What if, what if, what if? I was worrying myself sick!
I am a very religious being, but the emotions did creep in. I knew I had to take a step back and trust God to help me. I started thinking of the verse in The Bible in Philippians 4:6-7 that tells us to be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which
surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Matthew 6:34 reads to not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. And other verses about worrying started to fill my brain. I knew I had to get back into perspective that God has this. Of course, I still worried some.
In my worrying, I turned things around. I had to get prepared. Even though I hurt profusely and paid for everything I did that night or next day, things had to get finished. I knew that they told me after surgery that I wasn’t going to be able to do ANYTHING for a while and that included not getting into a vehicle for a month. I had to get my home in tip top shape and game on! My husband was going to be able to take off for a week after surgery, but he had to go back to work so I concentrated on meal planning and putting dinners in the freezer for later dates.
Some things beside the home and food may include things like the bed and where you will sleep. For neck and shoulder surgery, I recommend sleeping elevated as much as possible. You will be required to do so for some surgeries. If you do not have a lift bed, buy a wedge pillow or two. You will be limited on regular household chores. To bend and pick things up off the floor, nah, don’t plan on it. If you can find a cheap enough hand gripper that reaches to the floor and you can squeeze from your hand to open and close on the object, that would be a pretty good idea. Picking up a gallon of milk or other objects of weight will be an issue as well. Try freezing drinks in empty water bottles that you will be able to lift appropriately. Bringing pillows and a cover for the ride home may be something to keep in mind. This will help alleviate the bumps or curves in the roads. Keeping your mind set on prayer and preparation will help the worry disappear. Be sure to follow all of the surgery instructions faithfully so you are prepared for that day. So my advice to anyone emotionally worried about your upcoming surgery, give it to God and just breathe. Prepare your home however you need to. Occupy your brain with what will help you after surgery.
The day of the surgery, I have learned from my neck, lower back, left shoulder, and right knee surgery that it is a whirlwind. Of course, you will sign all kinds of permissions and forms and sign in to the hospital. This is normal and can be lengthy, but it must be done. Patience on your part may wear thin, but you got this. You will have the opportunity to speak with your Doctor and the anesthesiologist before surgery. If you have ANY concerns at all, DO NOT hesitate to ask them. Remember, they are being paid by you to do a service for you. Do not be intimidated by the fact that their job may seem more important. You are just as important and your needs and concerns must be met. I have seen many rude patients who have no care of concern for their caregivers and remember to be nice and respectful when asking questions or concerns.
You will be poked for blood and pic lines and what nots, but be prepared that it may hurt just a little, but soon it is over and once the IV’s are in and the proper drugs start pumping, you should will be properly monitored. The special someone with you may not be allowed to be with you during these blood processes, but they are usually allowed with you after and up until they take you back for surgery. I had the desire for prayer and my husband and family with me prayed. It is a comfort for myself and may be for you as well.
After surgery, they will have you in a recover room where they will monitor your blood pressure and any other issues that may come up. They will keep a close eye on your progress coming out of your anesthesia. Usually, you are in great shape and a lot loopy. At this time, the Doctor usually goes to your family member or whomever brought you in for surgery and give an account as to how things went. They will know ahead of you what went down and had to happen. When they see fit that you are ready, they will usually bring you back into the same room you were in when they put the IV’s in. Here, you will be able to be with your loved ones again. If your family is anything like mine, they will try to have a bit of fun with the idea you are “loopy” and ask you strange things or tell you oddities. Just smile and humor them!
And finally, if you do not have to stay in the hospital, they will send you home. For my neck surgery, I did have to stay overnight in the hospital, but for the others, they were all out-patient. The one thing I stress the most is BE SURE TO FOLLOW YOUR AFTER-SURGERY INSTRUCTIONS!! Read them yourself and have the individual/s read them as well. Be sure to pay attention if there seems to be anything wrong at all! Usually your gut will let you know and don’t ignore them. For example, and this is not to scare you, but I know someone not long ago who had surgery and a few days after he was home, he was filling up with his own feces because his colon was accidentally severed. The ER sent him home after just an IV of antibiotics. Some things do happen, just be sure to know your body and listen to it. Do exactly what they tell you and if you are sent home with the appropriate drugs and instructions for pain and infection, be sure to take them on a regular basis until you feel yourself that you are ready to stop taking them. If you let the pain get too far out of hand, it can be a big issue. With each surgery I had, each was very different with the affects of nerves and other issues. Be sure to contact your Doctor if they are not helping you or if you are having issues with anything!! Stay on top of everything!