• The Seasoned Millennial

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You Before Surgery

Updated: Feb 15, 2018

Surgery is very routine for the doctor's that are performing them and that's a good thing. We all want someone who knows what they're doing - the problem is that the patient receiving the surgery may not know what to expect or what questions to ask about preparation and recovery. How many times have you gone into the Doctor's office and received a packet of information only to fold it up and put it in your bag or car door and forget about it? Well here are some things that I have learned from years of both being the patient and caring for the patient when it comes to surgery prep. Hopefully they can help you the next time you're headed into the OR.

First, have an advocate. Bring someone with you to your pre-op appointment. It's easy to miss things at appointments, especially when you are receiving so much information so having another set of ears and someone to write things down for you can be very helpful. This person should ideally be able to attend the surgery and post-op recovery with you as well.

Next, as unpleasant as it may be, constipation is a big issue for surgery recipients, but it doesn't have to be if you prepare your body properly. I have found that I nightly mix of Phillips' Original Milk of Magnesia, Prune Juice and Magnesium Citrate Tablets can work very well.

On top of that, make sure you are eating a diet heavy in fiber for the weeks leading up to your surgery.

You may have to change your diet before or after surgery depending on what you're having done. Make sure to ask about what you should or shouldn't be eating and drinking. Certain foods can also interfere with medications so bring a list of your medications to your Doctors appointments and go over it with them. You may need to prepare for post surgery by doing some extra grocery shopping for your recovery period.

On the topic of medications, if you are on blood thinners be sure to ask your Doctor if you need to stop taking them in the weeks or days leading up to your surgery. Your Doctor should ask you for a list of medications but things like this can be overlooked or forgotten and if your blood is too thin on the day of the surgery they may not be able to operate.

Lastly, make sure you know what prescriptions you will need post surgery and make sure your advocate knows as well. Ask your doctor if you can pick them up before hand or have a loved one get them for you while you're in the hospital. As we said before bring your prescription list with you as well as a list of any medications you may be allergic to so that your Doctor can evaluate whether or not there could be any negative reactions with medications that you are already taking. Also, make sure that you're doctor knows if you have any allergies to metal if you're having a replacement surgery. Years ago I had a knee replacement and my doctor caught that I was allergic to metal and I ended up having to have a resin knee replacement. Let them know if you're allergic to any adhesives or latex. They should ask you but just be aware that you tell them in case it's overlooked.

Know what you're supposed to be taking and go over it with the nurses and hospital staff post-surgery (again this is where your advocate is critical). My husband recently had surgery and was prescribed an antibiotic, but when the nurse came in with the pills, they hadn't given her everything, so it had to be reordered. I knew to ask because I had paid close attention to the post-op instructions. It's these types of things that can happen so easily.

There is a lot of research on the effects of stress and how your body can react pre and post surgery. By preparing for the surgery itself and your recovery you could help your body to recover faster and get back to feeling yourself more quickly! As always, consult your doctor before taking any medications, both over the counter or prescribed.