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Mama, are you preparing for surgery soon? Read on for some tips on preparing your family, your home, and yourself for surgery to ensure a smooth recovery.
I’ve got some familiar butterflies in my tummy this week.
Next week, I’ll be going under the knife for a scheduled surgery. As a breast cancer survivor and the mom of two C-section babies, I’ve been through this before. I still get a little apprehensive about both the surgery itself and the recovery, though.
Making the time and space to recover from surgery is tricky—especially if you have little ones in the house and are used to being the person caring for everyone else. With a little advance planning, you can set yourself and your family up for success. Here are some of the strategies I’ve developed to make recovery from surgery a little less daunting.
Get your house in order
I don’t know about you, but I find it so much easier to rest and relax when my house is clean and organized. Consider doing the following:
- Take some time to clear lingering clutter.
- Make a few of your family’s favorite meals and freeze them.
- Stock the fridge and the pantry.
- Clean the kitchen and bathroom and clear out the laundry hampers.
- Schedule payment for upcoming bills.
This makes the couple of weeks before surgery a bit crazy, but it ensures that you have much less to worry about while you’re recovering.
Find and prepare your space
Where will you be spending the bulk of your time as you recover? Will it be a bed? A recliner? Will mobility be enough of an issue that you need to consider renting a piece of furniture or moving what you have from one floor to another?
Once you’ve selected your space, arrange to have what you need close by. Consider stocking your area with little luxuries like chapstick, hand cream, and magazines. Make sure your cell phone or laptop charger is long enough to reach the nearest outlet.
Get help—consider a Meal Train
Your recovery from surgery will go much more smoothly if you can rely on your village for help. Often in the early days, your mobility is limited, and there are limitations placed on the amount of weight you can lift. You might be on medications that keep you from thinking clearly. You might not be able to drive.
Is your partner able to take some time off of work to stay with you? Can a parent, grown child, or best friend come to stay? Can a series of neighbors or local friends take turns checking on you?
The service Meal Train has a ‘Plus’ tier that is a wonderful investment. For a mere $10, you can not only invite others to sign up to cook you a meal, but to complete other tasks as well. You might ask friends to stop by to sit with you, help drive you to an appointment, or watch your kids for an hour or two.
It feels awkward sometimes to ask for help, but remember that your friends want to support you when life is difficult, and they appreciate it when you give them a specific way to do it. You’ve got the rest of your life to ‘pay it forward’ and return those favors.
If, for whatever reason, you won’t have friends or family to help, do some research into professionals who can support you. Make sure you have a list of home health care services, babysitters, house cleaners, meal and grocery delivery places, and transportation services. You don’t want to be trying to research these things when you’re feeling crappy.
Make a list of things to do during recovery
For the first few days after surgery, you might not want to or be able to do much, but after you’re feeling a bit better, are there any projects that you can complete while you’re forced to sit in one place? (Obviously C-section mamas will have one thrilling new project!)
I make a special list of time-consuming sedentary activities to complete while I’m recovering. It includes reading books that have been on my list forever, deleting photos and videos off of my devices, researching projects my family is undertaking, writing new blog posts, etc. I loved this exhaustive list I found on Pinterest of 56 Things to Do While Recovering from Surgery.
It’s rare in life to get forced down time, and it’s wonderful if you have more to show at the end of it than seasons of binge-watched shows on Netflix.
Set up a method of communication for friends and family
How will you keep your family and friends posted on your surgery and recovery? How will you let them know you are ok (or not?) Can you select one family member or friend to act as communications director? A group text message, email, or Facebook post can easily keep large groups of people that care about you informed and keep you from having to update people individually.