Surgery often makes our lives much better in the long term. But in the short term, the idea of a visit to the operating room often carries an emotional weight that can feel overwhelming. This is a normal emotion for nearly everyone and there are things you can do to self-soothe before your procedure. Follow these tips from the team at Aspen Valley Hospital to prepare both mentally and physically for your upcoming surgery.
What To Do To Prepare for Surgery
Preparing Emotionally for Surgery
Getting your mind ready for surgery is just as important as preparing your body for an upcoming medical procedure. Here are a few steps you can take to properly prepare emotionally and mentally.
Talk with your physician about any fears you have.
Having some fear or anxiety around surgery is completely normal. Discuss your concerns with your doctor to learn more about the implications, what actually happens while you’re under anesthesia, and the recovery process.
Practice meditation and/or relaxing breathing exercises.
This can help calm your mind and give you a go-to point of focus in preparation for the surgery. If you’re new to meditation, there are a variety of apps you can download for a quick guide.
Properly prepare by reading through any necessary materials and talking with your doctor.
Surgery can be minor – in and out in a day – or it can be life-altering. Regardless of the complexity of the procedure, it’s important for you, as the patient, to understand what it means to your body. This includes reading any supporting materials your physician provides.
Bring a friend or family member for support.
You certainly don’t have to go through surgery alone. In addition to the Aspen Valley Hospital medical teams and staff, involving close friends and family in your process can help ease anxiety and increase confidence in your outcome.
Preparing Physically for Surgery
Now that you’ve done the mental work and mind-calming practices to get ready for surgery, it’s time to prepare yourself physically. Here are some key ways to prep your body for surgery.
Enjoy a healthy, balanced diet leading up to your surgery.
Honestly, this is something we should do all the time, but it’s particularly important before major medical endeavors when your body will need additional energy to heal. AVH’s Dietitian Demos are an excellent source of healthy, tasty meal plans, tips and tricks, and inspiring ideas to get you on the right track.
Staying hydrated is another elemental way to give your body a headstart in the healing process.
Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.
Use of either can affect how your body reacts to the physical demands of surgery and anesthesia.
Learn how long before surgery you should avoid food altogether.
Some treatments require an empty stomach to avoid complications with anesthesia. Your medical team can help you develop a pre-surgery food and drink plan.
Understand post-surgery pain management.
This applies to the moments immediately following your surgery to the long-term plan to mitigate any pain associated with the procedure. Talk with your doctor about the best path forward.
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What To Bring To the Hospital
It’s important to feel as comfortable as possible going into, and coming out of, surgery. Make sure to pack accordingly.
Wear comfortable clothing.
Avoid tight-fitting, restrictive clothing, especially if your recovery requires additional hospital time. This is a great opportunity to put your most loved PJs to the test.
Bring a favorite book or binge-ready tablet, and leave the work computer at home.
Giving your mind and body proper healing time is imperative to a successful recovery. To that end, make a point to leave your laptop at home, and let the office know you’ll be unavailable until the doctor gives you the okay to go back to work. Instead, spend time with some easy reading or your favorite movies or TV shows – anything that doesn’t require too much mental strength.
Pack some toiletries.
Throwing in some comforts from home, including shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, and toothpaste, is a good idea. Of course, don’t expose any recent incisions or scars to water until you have the go-ahead from your doctor.
Surgery is an important part of modern medicine. It can fix our overused joints, help remove diseased tissue, save us from spreading cancer, increase our eyesight, and much more. The teams at Aspen Valley Hospital are here to ensure your surgery experience is an exceptional one. Whether an unexpected fall skiing or biking lands you in the caring hands of our award-winning emergency department, or you’re undergoing long-planned expert general or trauma surgical care, we’re here to ensure your mental and physical surgical experience is of the highest quality.