Lots and lots of preparation! A lot of organization and preparation goes into getting my home and myself ready for surgery. I’ll cover these in two difference sections:
A key area that I focus on is the bathroom. Removing or taping down the shower mats (I just removed them, it’s easier for the walker), changing the show head so it’s removable, if it’s not already (this makes shower while sitting 100x better cause you have full control of the water). Also, the toilet. Make sure the toilet paper roll is accessible! Reaching in front of you, or even to the side, for some toilet paper may not be an option following surgery. In one of my bathrooms I have to set it on the side of the shower so I can reach it, otherwise it’s to much of a twist to get it from the roll on the wall.
In my parents house there are no counters beside the toilets (just how the bathrooms are set up). In this case I use the walker to help lower myself onto the toilet and back up off of it, even though it’s an orthopedic toilet set. No matter how strong you are going into surgery sometimes you just need the extra help to get up and down no matter what!
In the home there is always stuff to prepare. From taping or rolling up and moving rugs. To putting commonly used kitchen items in higher spots for better accessibility. An example being a pan I often use to make eggs gets set on the counter/stove so that I can make some of my own breakfast once I’m capable and don’t have to try to bend into the lower cabinet to get it.
In the bedroom and the rest of the house I make sure that there are no items on the floor that would be in my way or cause a tripping hazard. This means rugs, clothes (cause we all know this happens), decorative pieces, baskets, etc.
For the car, we use our Subaru Forester (nice and tall so I don’t have to crouch into a vehicle the weeks following the replacement), we make sure that it’s full of gas and windshield washer fluid for the hospital trip. I also put a plastic bag in the vehicle for assistance when I am getting into the vehicle following the hospital stay. Putting a plastic bag between your wedge and your butt helps when maneuvering yourself into the vehicle making any rotating and entering easier on your butt by adding a bit of a slippery surface.
For all the women out there you may not initially think of it but you won’t be able to properly carry your purse (at least if it’s like my normal one, bigger and it doesn’t have a shoulder strap). I find that even the over the shoulder purses can get heavy and swing forward and hit the sensitive hip. So what I do is I put my important stuff in my fanny pack! Yes, they are making a come back so you might as well get a head of the trend and us it when your recovering (or at least that’s what a friend tells me that uses it all the time… love you Kayla).
The fanny pack that I use is from my mom (from the 80s or 90s) and it can hold my cards, lip chap, cell phone and a couple other things. It allows my hands to be fully free for my crutches or to hang onto anything else for balance when needed. I don’t have to worry about forgetting it somewhere cause it’s just always around my waist. It also sits high enough that it doesn’t bother my hip!
Really you can do as much preparation or as little as you want before surgery but I truly believe that how you prepare you body and mind will affect your recovery time and attitude following surgery. I talked about my mental prep in a previous post.
Food & Drink
There are a couple of things that I do to prepare my body for the trauma of surgery (which it definitely is, there is no way to get around that). I don’t drink for at least a week leading up to surgery (giving my liver a break and sometime to prepare for the drugs that are coming). I also move towards softer foods and less meat (which moves through your system much slower then other foods). As constipation will be a problem no matter what because of the pain medication so I do what I can to make it all easier on my system.
Normally I have a smoothie in the morning to get my fiber and body going on a normal day but leading up to surgery I have more then 1 a day. It’s full of lots of things that are good for me (in relation to my digestive system and my detoxification system… that’s what I’m calling it).
The smoothie that I make is as follows:
- 1-2 pieces of Kale
- 1 Carrot
- 1/4 cup of frozen spinach
- 1/4-1/2 an avocado
- 1/2-1/3 of a beet
- 4-5 pited dates (for sweetness)
- Chia Seeds
Physical prep includes the inside and outside of your body. Externally, I make sure I have the clothes that I need for post-surgery recovery. Loose fitting stuff that won’t put pressure on my hip or butt. Bottoms that sit high on the waist and have a lot of flexibility in the legs (meaning lots of room, not meaning stretchy because that can put to much pressure on the incision and swollen areas and cause a bit of pain… not worth it). I also make sure I have my looser shirts accessible (not packed away in a container for another season). I don’t necessarily gain much weight following surgery but my muscle to none muscle mass does change. The shots that have in my stomach (the anticoagulants, the one I hate most in the world) make my stomach feel tender and flabby (like Swiss cheese) so I don’t really want anything tight on. Also…. the lack of physical activity change my body as well (the crutches limit me a little).
I get my hair done before surgery. It’s not for the sole fact that I want to look good while recovering (but honestly that doesn’t hurt, it can help keep the spirits high on those challenging days) but for the fact that I have a hard time sitting for any long period of time (which is needed for a hair appointment). I would not be able to make it through a hair appointment until at least 6 weeks out from surgery. (this time I am feeling better and am getting it done around the 5 week mark so I’ll let you know how that goes later)
Night Before Surgery Prep:
Devices & Packing
The night before surgery I have all my hospital devices labelled with my name (cause I don’t want anyone walking away with my stuff while I’m in the hospital bed and can’t do anything about it!). I also set everything near the door so that it’s all ready to be loaded in my vehicle the next morning. I don’t want any of my anxiety about the actual surgery to cause me to forget something. Below are most of my devices with the crutches, walker, wedge and reacher coming to the hospital with me.
I also pack my bags the night before with clothes, toiletries and things to keep me occupied. I have several lists that I follow when preparing my bags but I will do a separate post with them at a later time.
Along the physical aspect, the night before surgery, I make sure that I trim all my nails (especially my toe nails on the, to be, operated leg since I won’t be able to touch those for like 3 months… don’t get me wrong, I get someone to help me trim them later but this way I can wait a while and I don’t have to worry about someone touching my newly operated leg any sooner then necessary). I also make sure to shave. In October following surgery I wasn’t as worried about hairy legs (as we were moving into cooler weather) but especially with this surgery in May I’m more aware of wanting those summer hairless legs. Lastly, I give myself a little pedicure (without nail polish) so that my feet feel nice since (again) I won’t be able to do much to them for a while.
Note: my mother or boyfriend (depends who is around to help me shower) often shaves my one leg for me, but I do the other. Got to feel good for physio and when the heat starts to arrive! (Their super sweet and I’ll never be able to repay them for all the stuff they do for me). You can also tape a raver to a stick (ruler, or whatever) to help with shaving the operated leg to allow the extra length so you don’t break 90 degrees.
Per the hospital rules, I make sure that I am not wearing any make up or nail polish the night leading into surgery. They need to be able to see your toe nail beds to ensure circulation isn’t lost and your finger nails for the heart rate monitor.
The hospital will also have rules about when you have to stop eating and drinking leading up to surgery. Follow those and then your all set!