How to prepare yourself when you are scheduled for an elective surgery

Although surgeries in general evoke the feelings of doubts, uncertainties and panic, elective surgeries present some respite of choosing your own convenience and time. Like any other surgery however, elective surgeries too demand certain preparation by the patient some time before the date. In fact, elective surgeries actually give you that advantage to plan them out better and be prepared before taking the surgery. It is therefore a great idea to take time and talk to your surgeon about the nature of your surgery and the care that needs to be taken. Also, you can plan your date such that you can be ready with all the logistics in place and be well prepared to take the surgery.

Here are a few general points you must prepare yourself for:

1.​ Prepare yourself mentally

The most important care to be taken before any surgery is to mentally prepare yourself for it and try to relax. If you are prone to anxiety or high blood pressure, stressing over the surgery might actually be a bad idea and may seriously affect the surgery or cause it to be postponed. So start practising some meditation and deep breathing exercises to calm your system down or go for long, slow walks to relax.

2.​ Quit your addictions

Some of the habits that really hamper medical treatments and quick recovery are addiction to nicotine and alcohol. These stimulants and intoxicants actually mimic biomolecules and hamper their interaction in the body! So the least you could do for yourself is to quit or cut down on your addictions!

3.​ Have a balanced diet

Prepare your body to be at its best before the surgery by eating a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet. Your body will undergo a lot of stress during surgery and you may have to cut down on certain foods. A healthy diet will help your body recuperate from the surgery stress better and faster.

4.​ Be active

Keep your body supple yet strong by following a mild but regular exercise routine. Go for simple walks or perform simple exercises in consultation with your surgeon. Exercise will help to loosen your body and keep you mentally and physically fit. It might also supplement a faster post-surgery recovery period.

5.​ Check your medication routine

Schedule a consultation with your surgeon prior to surgery to discuss your medication routine and general medicines to be avoided during preparation for the surgery. You may be asked to avoid some over-the-counter medicines too. For example, you may be asked to avoid aspirin as it interferes with blood clotting or some of the medications prescribed after surgery may already be taking care of some of your problems and dosage may get altered. It is of extreme importance that your medications are carefully checked and planned for before the surgery.

6.​ Keep all your documents ready

Surgeries involve a lot of formalities to be done and documents to be signed. It is a great idea to get a fair idea of all the agreements that are usually involved and to keep all relevant documents in place. Get your file with all recent reports in place as well as your important insurance documents if the surgery is covered. These will help you go cashless in the hospital and keep the process hassle-free.

7.​ Get help ready before the surgery

Even though elective surgeries are relatively less complicated and show faster recovery, they still may demand more than a week’s time to about a month of rest for recuperation. It is important to get a relative over or fix a good household help beforehand as you will immediately not be able to take care of work once admitted in the hospital. It’s best to get these logistics in place much before surgery.

8.​ Money matters

Medical procedures and treatments are mostly untimely expenses that crop up without a warning. In cases of elective surgeries, however, you have some time to make arrangements to meet these essential expenses and prepare for them. You may have some of these covered under your medical insurance policy but for the others, or unplanned medical expenses, elective surgeries luckily give you the opportunity to arrange for these funds. So, make sure you chalk out the expense for the procedure and other arrangements required, and fix up for the same well in advance.

9.​ Follow important instructions a day before

You may be asked to keep a gap of atleast 12-14 hours after your last meal. So make sure you have an early dinner the night before. You may also need to have a laxative to empty your bowels prior to surgery the next morning. There also may be some medications to be taken or specific foods to be avoided. Ensure special care to prepare yourself as per the instructions a day before.

A good pre-surgery preparation aids in the entire process of surgery and recovery and goes a long way in springing back to action. So make sure you follow all instructions by the surgeon for a successful surgery. All the best!