Whether it’s an emergent, urgent or elective surgery, no matter how major or minor, surgery can be scary! And what about going home after? It’s important to be prepared.
You’ve been waiting and waiting for the perfect time to have your surgery. Or maybe you unexpectedly have to be rushed to surgery. Whatever the case may be, your post operation recovery at home will make or break your recovery experience. I have been fortunate in the past where I pre-planned my recovery space and my caregiver support. My post op experience went very smoothly, everything lined up, and even though it was a bit rocky with my symptoms, I couldn’t have recovered smoother. On the other hand, I’ve also had the misfortune of a rushed surgery, it was emergent and nothing was ready; not a caregiver, my space, my food. It brought on a lot of stress. Although there wasn’t a lot I could control, I much prefer being ready and having all my ducks lined up in a row.
OK enough about me, let’s talk about you. Let’s get you ready for recovery at home. Keep in mind, that there are 3 areas to have ready for a smooth recovery at home.
Nutrition after surgery and what to have at home
- Have clear liquid food ready at home like gelatin, broth, clear juices and popsicles. Food you can see through.
- Advance to full liquids that are milk like in consistency. Examples would be protein shakes, fruit juices with pulp, ice cream, yogurt and creamy soups. Try to incorporate foods with protein to support immunity, support wound healing and maintain muscle mass for when you are being a couch potato.
- When you are able to tolerate full liquids, it is ok to advance to soft foods like apple sauce, banana, scrambled eggs and soft fish.
- High protein is key to healing, have these foods ready at home.
Your space after surgery
- Go to surgery in comfortable clothing so that when you have to get dressed to go home, you can just slip them on easily like pajamas, and be a couch potato in them afterwards. A loose-fitting top and stretchy pants are ideal.
- Have a thermometer at home to monitor for fevers and infection.
- Have your medications ready and picked up. The most common are antibiotics and pain medications. Ask your doctor to prescribe them before surgery so that they are already home and waiting for you.
- If your surgeon cannot prescribe them earlier, make sure to have your pharmacy information ready and that it is conveniently located for your driver.
- Your favorite water container right there at your bedside to keep you hydrated.
- Keep your remote control, phone, laptop and charger right there at your bedside.
- Have lots of pillows and blankets handy for comfortable positioning.
Caregiver support after surgery
- Plan to have help after surgery
- Transportation from the surgery center to home
- Help with meals
- Help with your kids
- Help you with your first walk
- Pick up medications
- All other basic needs while you recover at home
- All so you can focus on eating well, resting and healing
These are the 3 main areas to focus on when preparing for post operation recovery at home. I don’t like to have to bother my friends and family to help me recover, so if I have these things ready beforehand, it will make healing less stressful and more manageable.