Home Sweet Home: After Surgery
As I wrote about in a previous blog post, having surgery is sometimes a part of life. And feelings of anxiety can come up when it is your turn to have surgery. Getting yourself ready, talking with people you trust, and asking questions can all help with anxiety before surgery. But what about after surgery?
Post surgery questions
Once you have had your surgery and you’re ready to go home, there may be more anxious feelings. A few common questions people ask before going home after surgery include:1
- How much pain should I expect?
- If there is a problem, who do I call?
- How long will it take before I feel back to normal?
It is important to keep talking with your doctor about fears you may have about going home. Learning about what to expect can help lessen anxiety and fear. Once you have talked with your doctor, be sure to talk to your support system, too.
Talking with your support system about what to expect after surgery is helpful. It is helpful because it informs them of what to expect from you. And it allows you a chance to think through things with someone you trust. Another good reason to talk to your support group is so you have help setting things up at home.
Getting your home ready
Making sure your home is ready to receive you after surgery could help lessen anxiety. And it can feel like a lot to do but having support and making a list can help. Here is a list of eight tips to help you ready your home.2
- If you live in a house with more than one story, put your bed on the ground floor. Walking after surgery can be painful. And walking upstairs after surgery can be very painful. If you are able, put your bed on the ground floor so you won’t have to go up and down stairs a lot.
- Have a bathroom or a portable commode on the same floor as your bed. Having a bathroom near your bed can make going to the bathroom easier. You don’t have to walk as far, and as I wrote earlier; walking can be painful. Having a toiler or portable commode on the same floor as you can give you better access and help you be more comfortable.
- Stock up on bathroom needs and personal items. When you are healing after surgery, you don’t want to be worried if you’re going to run out of paper towels or toilet paper. If you are able, be sure to stock up on items you use in the bathroom, so you won’t run out.
- Create or make frozen meals that are easy to heat up and eat. Part of healing after surgery is making sure you are eating. Food is a source of fuel that our bodies need to heal. Having frozen meals you can easily make will help ensure you are getting good nutrition. For example, my husband and I always have a few frozen meals in our freezer in case one of us can’t make dinner one night. You don’t have to get out of the house and it is easy to make.
- Make sure you can reach what you need without having to bend down or stretch upward. After surgery you want to make sure you don’t put unneeded stress on your body. Sometimes, stress on the body can look like bending down or stretching up.
- Put supplies in a place that is in-between your waist and your shoulders. One way to keep from having to bend down or stretch up is by making sure everything is at a good height for you. For example, clear a bookshelf that is in-between your waist and your shoulders. You can place medicines, drinks, or snacks there so you can grab this easily and without pain.
- Place kitchen items you use on the counter and not in drawers. You may be thinking, “But wait, a drawer is in-between my waist and shoulders.” And you’re right, but drawers can get stuck and pulling on them can cause stress on your body. It can also cause pain. Keep things easily available during this time by not putting them in drawers.
- Make sure you can get to your phone. It is so important that you have access to your phone. If it is possible, set your phone charger next to your bed. By doing this, you have a better chance of keeping your phone charged. That way if you need help, you don’t have to search for your phone and hope it is charged.
You may need help getting your home ready for after surgery. Talking with your support system and letting them know you need help will make it feel less overwhelming. And making sure that you are in a safe, comfortable space during recovery. This can help ease your mind. Remember that healing doesn’t happen over night and to give yourself grace during recovery.
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