Preparing for surgery

Preparing for surgery

As your date for surgery approaches, along with it comes nerves and stress about what you are about to go through. Knowing what to expect on the day of your surgery, as well as the days after as you recover, can help alleviate your worries. This means preparing for what you see, hear and even smell that will ultimately affect how you'll feel when the time comes.

Here are some resources for you to look over before you go into surgery:

Before the surgery

  • Coverage. Before your procedure, contact your insurance provider to avoid any problems with coverage later. Some providers require notice of the surgery in advance in order to make sure it is covered.
  • Communicate. Before the day of your surgery, talk to your surgeon about any tests, labs or medications you may need. Make sure the office has all of your latest medical information, such as medical history and medication you're currently using. And if you don't completely understand the risks and benefits of your procedure, take this opportunity to ask.

Day of surgery

  • Come empty handed. On surgery day, remove nail polish, piercings, and body jewelry. Take a shower but do not use any lotions, colognes or perfumes. And leave your cash and jewelry at home.
  • Bring the essentials. There may be a few items that you will need after surgery, such as an asthma inhaler, glasses, identification card. If you're going to be in the hospital for a few days, bring some toiletries, reading material, and comfortable clothes. Also remember to bring your insurance information.
  • Ride home. If you are having an outpatient procedure, arrange for a ride or escort home. And be sure to have somebody remain with you for the first 24 hours.

At the hospital before surgery

  • Don't come alone. If possible, have someone there with you at the hospital.
  • Identify yourself. Avoid identity mistakes, bring an ID with you and identify yourself to the surgeon and staff at the hospital.
  • Medicines. Make sure the staff is aware of all supplements and medications that you are taking, including vitamins and herbs.

After the surgery

  • Get some help. If you can, arrange for someone to help you in the days and weeks after surgery. Make sure you have transportation home. And try to get someone to help around the house if your recovery takes a few days.
  • Go home when you're ready. If you don't feel you're ready to go, discuss with your doctor why you feel that you should not leave.
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