So you’ve set up your appointment with your surgeon and you’re definitely going to get surgery for that aching shoulder or arthritic knee. Now what? You don’t have to just bide your time until the surgery. There’s a lot of preparation that you can do ahead of time to make your recovery more convenient. Below is a general list of things you and your family can do when prepping for surgery to help make recovering much easier.
Prepping For Surgery:
- Buy and prep food – Have food and healthy snacks on hand that you can easily make. Getting proper nutrition is vital to recovering after surgery. Cooking after any surgery to your arm is pretty hard since you only have one arm. Trying to stand for 15-20 minutes to prepare a meal is pretty challenging if your knee or hip is non-weight bearing. If you have a list of slow cooker recipes you’ve been wanting to make, now’s a great time to get that ready! You can chop up and freeze some recipes and have them ready to just dump when you need it.
- Have loose, comfortable clothes ready – Loose, baggy clothes that are easy to put on or take off are incredibly helpful. Often times you’re not able to move your arm or leg right after surgery, so having big shirts/jackets and sweatpants are essential. For anything affecting the arm, shirts that button in the front are pretty helpful.
- Schedule your rides – Most people are not allowed to drive after surgery because they are prescribed pain medication. Make sure that if you have any appointments, you have somebody else who can get you there for at least the first few days after surgery. If the surgery is on your right leg or you drive a manual car, expect it to take longer. And don’t plan any vacations after surgery, unless they’re close by. You’re not going to want to be sitting in the car or plane for hours on end.
- Have ice ready – Get bags of ice to put in ziplock bags or buy some ice packs if you don’t have any. The ice will help with the pain you’re likely going to have. It’s a good idea to have at least one extra ice pack so you can cycle through them to always have a cold one ready. Be careful about freezing your skin, though. A pillowcase or cloth as a barrier helps prevent skin damage.
- Practice tasks without using the body part getting the surgery – If you’re getting arm surgery, practice things like dressing, cooking, bathing, and bathroom hygiene with your non-surgical side. If you’re getting leg surgery, it’s a good idea to practice using crutches, or at the very least working on your balance on your non-surgical leg.
- Get phone numbers ready – Have a list of phone numbers for your surgeon, primary care physician, and physical therapist on hand. Put them in your phone, and have them written down on a list in various rooms in your home and car. You’re going to have questions during your recovery, and you’ll probably have days where things aren’t going the way you expected. Don’t hesitate to call, especially if you think something is wrong.
Surgery can be scary, but it doesn’t need to be. Prepping for surgery can make your recovery that much easier. One important takeaway is that the recovery process is a process. You don’t just magically get better, and it’s going to take some work to make sure you’re back to 100%. Having a good physical therapist is key in rehabilitating after surgery.
Got questions? Feel limited in what you’re able to do? The staff at Limitless Physical Therapy in Eugene, OR can show you how to discover your future without limits.
***The above information, including text, images, and all other materials, is provided for educational purposes only, and not as a replacement or supplement to professional medical advice. Please contact a certified healthcare professional or your primary physician for any personal concerns.