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How can I prepare for surgery?

If you are getting ready to prepare for surgery there are several things that you can do to prepare.  One of the best ways to prepare is to schedule your surgery (if possible) at a convenient time.  Choose a down time at work or during the school year.  I recently had open heart surgery and scheduled mine at the end of the soccer season but gave myself 2 months to recover before Christmas Day.

How can I prepare for surgery?

By scheduling your surgery and not having to have an “emergency” surgery you can get your affairs in order and prepare.  You can seek out the surgeon of your choice and making certain that you feel comfortable with their bed side manner and skill level.  This gives you time to get more than one opinion, get referrals and do some research on the surgeon.

Tips for preparing for surgery:

Drink plenty of fluids prior to surgery.  By being hydrated your IV process will be easier.  I suggest drinking 8 glasses of water daily prior to surgery and at least 1 Powerade or Gatorade daily.  I always do this for up to 7 days prior to a major surgery.  I am not a good stick and this really helps!

Cut back on caffeine.  This will help with headaches after surgery.  Consider drinking 1/2 caffeine and 1/2 decaf the days prior to surgery if you are a coffee drinker.  Of course after most surgeries they will offer you coffee but your stomach may not be up to drinking it and that will help with headaches.

If you need to lose weight per-surgery consider a physician recommended program like Optavia.  You can easily lose 12+ pounds in 30 days on a program like this and they even offer gluten free and vegetarian options.  It will help with recovery if you are down the weight.

Prepare your family.  Make freezer recipes in advance so that they can eat without having to eat out and that you don’t have to cook during your recovery.

If you are the primary caretaker of your family write lists of things to do and step by step directions in a notebook.  Be sure to include common numbers like the pediatrician, school, vet, and dentist in case of an emergency.  Include activities with pick up and drop off times for the kids and a schedule of who is handling that for you while you recover.  Be sure that if you have bills due while you are recovering that is also included.

Ask for help!  This is hard for me but when I found out about my bypass I called my Mom and she came for 10 days to help me.  Without her help it would have been much more challenging with taking care of my son and the time that we had together during my recovery was priceless.

If you have children consider writing them a note or wrapping a small gift for them to open daily, especially if you are in the hospital for an extended time.  This gives them reassurance especially if they can’t visit you.  I wrote both Tim and Peyton a letter to open on surgery day and I wrapped 5 small gifts and included a card each day that I would be at the hospital.  This really helped me but also them.

I hope these tips help!  If you have any others please leave them here!

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  1. I wouldn’t suggest you drink Gatorade before surgery, or do any type of fasting. Gatorade has tons of sugar in it, which sure isn’t helping with recovery, and the vitamins and mineral can be and should be gotten from real food. If you fast or limit food before surgeries, how can you make sure you are getting enough vitamins, minerals and protein?

    1. This is actually excellent to do for those who are a hard stick (which is what I said in the post). I am an extremely hard stick and my IV Therapist suggested it. Of course you want to eat high protein, veggies and fruits too along with your hydration.

  2. Taking a nice hot deep clean shower.
    Making the bed you are going to rest in before you leave for the surgery.

    Dental stuff– keep room pre humidified for when you return.

  3. I like that you mention consulting with your doctor to know how you can lose weight before surgery. Depending on what the surgery is, it can be really stressful. It’s important to take all the necessary steps to be as prepared as you can and put your mind at ease.

  4. I appreciate your list of how to prepare for surgery, especially your idea to do meal prep. I am the primary caretaker for my family and think that I might need to get surgery on my foot after an injury. That means I wouldn’t be on my feet and be able to feed my kids. I think making freezer meals would be a great idea.

  5. I am getting surgery soon and I have never had surgery before, so I want to be prepared! You make a great point that you should prepare your family by making freezer meals that can easily be accessed. Also, I will definitely drink a lot of fluids a few days before surgery because this will make the IV process easier. I think this is very important for me because I get nervous with IVs and needles, so this will help me to feel more calm about the procedure.

  6. I thought it was great how you said to drink plenty of liquids prior to surgery. My brother was injured while playing football for his University, and he now has to have surgery to repair his torn ACL. It might be a good idea for him to do everything he can to prepare for the surgery, such as drinking lots of liquids.

    1. Yes! It is so important to hydrate before surgery day especially if you are a hard stick like me.

  7. Thank you for the comment about making freezer meals in advance so that you don’t have to cook when you are recovering from surgery. I have been told that I should expect to go in for a surgery soon, but I want to be sure that I am prepared for if I do. Thanks for the article, you helped me feel less anxious about the recovery process.

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