Surgery Count Down

So you’ve made the decision. You are going to have surgery. Now you have to get ready. So many things have to be considered like, do you live alone? Is access to your house easy? What are you going to be able to do when you get home?
Let’s talk…

Surgery is already stressful, whether it’s a simple day surgery or an invasive abdominal surgery. The thought of anesthesia, loss of control, pain, nausea etc. can give you a few sleepless nights. The answer to this stress is preparation. If you know you are ready, you will rest easier and actually do much better during, and after, surgery.

The first thing you need to do is arrange help. Tell your family/friends you are having surgery and how long you will be recuperating. Make sure someone will be close for the first few nights and within hearing. It depends on the surgery you are having, but you should not be alone for at least 2 nights.
Prepare food ahead of time. If you are up to it, make a few things that can be easily reheated. Easy on the spices and the heavy foods. People are often sensitive to certain foods after anesthesia.
Arrange necessities to be within easy reach. Reaching for things, climbing step stools or crawling through a cabinet are no-no’s, no matter what type of surgery you have.
Try to avoid stairs. If there is a downstairs bedroom, use it. This is not just for pain but to prevent falls due to pain medications or weakness.
Give assignments. If someone offers to help, take them up on it. Ask them if they can drop in, cook something, or pick something up at the store. People like to feel needed but they can’t read your mind.
Get your medications arranged ahead of time. Either request that you get your scripts early or have someone assigned to pick up your meds at the drug store after surgery.
Prearrange post-op appointments. This makes it easier to get rides and saves phone calls later.
Talk to your practitioner about what to expect. They’ve been doing this for a while and probably know exactly what, and who, you will need.
Relax. You have done your part and now it’s up to others. Sleep well; you’ve got this.


  • Louw A, Diener I, Landers MR, Puentedura EJ. Preoperative pain neuroscience education for lumbar radiculopathy: a multicenter randomized controlled trial with 1-year follow-up. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2014 Aug 15;39(18):1449-57. PubMed PMID: 24875964


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Last modified: May 19, 2017

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