Most women will have at least one surgical procedure in their lifetime. Unless you are having emergency surgery, there will likely be some time before the operation to make all the necessary arrangements. Use this checklist to ensure a speedy and easy recovery.
Talk to your doctor
Write down all the questions you have for your doctor relating to the surgery. The doctor should be able to tell you about how the procedure will be performed, possible complications, length of recovery, how much time you need to take off work, how painful the procedure will be, and how to prepare for the surgery. Many hospitals provide the patient with a pre-surgery checklist and instructions.
Make work arrangements
Your manager and the Human Resources department should be able to advise you on how to apply for short-term (if available) and long-term (if necessary) disability. Arrange for a replacement in your absence, train a co-worker on your job duties or arrange for a temp worker from an agency. It is a good idea to document all your job duties and detailed instructions for the person who will have to pick up the workload when you are away. Don’t forget to leave an out-of-the-office response with the name of the person to contact in your absence. You may also discuss the possibility of working from home after your surgery until you are fully recovered.
Call your insurance company
If you have private insurance in addition to your provincial coverage, contact them about your coverage. You may be eligible for a private hospital room, registered nurse visitation, rehabilitation and physio, and medical equipment in case you need it after the surgery, such as wheelchair rental or crutches.
Meet with the medical staff
A few days before your surgery you will likely meet with a member of medical staff (usually a nurse) for final surgery preparation. During that meeting, the nurse will provide you with the final instructions, and ask questions about medical history and any medications you are taking. Make sure to mention any prescription pills, as well as supplements and vitamins you are taking, as they may interfere with the anesthesia and the drugs you will be prescribed as a result of a surgery.
Get prescriptions and refill them before surgery
Refill any prescriptions your doctor gives before the surgery, as after the operation you will not be likely to make it to the drug store for a while. This especially applies to controlled substances such as pain killers, as the pharmacy may only be able to discharge it to the individual that they are prescribed to, and your ID may be required.
Arrange for a ride
Some hospitals will only discharge patients after the surgery if there is someone to take them home and ensure that they get into bed safely. Therefore, you can’t take a taxi home from the surgery. Ask a friend of a family member to pick you up from a hospital after the surgical procedure, and to stay with you, if possible, for a few days to watch for complications and to help around.
Have a list of the numbers to call
Make sure you have all the contact information at hand, in case there is bleeding, fever, or any other complications. This list should include the numbers of your physician, surgeon, insurance company, cab company in case you have to go to a hospital, friends and family members.
Ask for anti-depressants
A surgery can be a very nerve-racking, emotional experience. Many women experience severe depression because of the fear of unknown, pain and worry. Discuss with your doctor the options for counselling or temporary anti-depressant treatment to ease the suffering.
Stock up on food
You will likely not be in the condition to cook and clean after your surgery. Buy enough groceries to take you through the recovery period, wash them and make them ready to eat. Stock up on frozen dinners and easy to prepare foods.
Buy hygiene products
A lot of women experience bleeding, especially after abdominal surgeries. Stock up on hygiene products, pads, and disposable mesh underwear.
Pack comfortable clothing
The parts of body that were operated on will likely be very swollen for a few days after the surgery. Bring comfortable loose clothing to the hospital. During the recovery period, stock up on the clothes that are easy to put on and take off. Satin pajamas are easy to slide out of bed in. Wear comfortable slippers and a sweater in case you are cold.
Prepare your house
Arrange your furniture in a way that will make it easy for you to navigate around the house. This includes installing bars in the shower, buying a raised toilet seat, and putting floor mats to prevent slippage.
As you will probably be stuck at home for a while, ensure there are plenty of movies, DVDs, books and magazines to keep your mind occupied.
Clean house is nice to spend time recovering in. It is also essential to keep areas clean to avoid infection. Get rid of any mold, dust or dirt, as you want the environment to be sterile around you after the surgery.
It normally takes up to 8 weeks to the body to get back to normal and to resuming normal physical activities and exercises after the surgery. Keep in mind, that although there will be some pain associated with the surgery, at the end of the day it is only temporary.