About a year ago I had a hip injury while exercising, so as an athlete, I pushed through the pain for as long as I could. I was nervous to learn that I needed surgery to repair the damage, especially considering my seizure disorder. I finally had the surgery to repair the torn ligament, so that I could get back out on the hiking trails. Fortunately, I had time to prepare for the surgery and this allowed my family and I to make certain preparations beforehand. Knowing the recovery time to be at least 9 months and knowing a disruption to my schedule would be difficult, we planned ahead. Here are a few of the things I learned that were super helpful:
Preparing the body:
I worked with my medical team beforehand– like my neurologist, to try to reduce my seizures and my PT to learn exercises, and how to use assistive devices (like my crutches). I made sure I ate well, drank plenty of fluids and RESTED prior to my big day. I cut back on sugary treats, drank less coffee, and reduced my exercise plans. I wrote down my usual routines, so that I would remember all the important things I do every day, (like taking my meds and making coffee, of course), and so that my partner could help me out. I made a list of all the things for my surgery day so I would be as comfortable as possible (see photo below)
Preparing the mind:
I spoke with a mental health professional about my concerns and fears. For example, what if I have a seizure during my surgery? What if I wake up and can’t remember who I am? How will my behavior affect my relationship with my partner? I increased my mindfulness practices to prepare for hours and days unable to do my normal routines (like meditation with Lynn hosted by BIND on Zoom.) I worked on my patience and how to ask for help. I slowly did less around the house and asked my partner to take over things that I knew I wouldn’t be able to do for months, such as cooking and cleaning.
Preparing the home (I had a lot of help from my partner on this):
We made several frozen meals ahead of time and made sure I had all my medications refilled.
We set up the shower, moved furniture to make space and put things in reach that I might need
We figured out how to get me up and down the stairs, in and out of the house, the bed, the shower and the car.
Preparing with loved ones, friends, and medical staff:
We communicated with family and friends for support, especially if I needed help getting into the house when I got home from the hospital I kept all my medical, dental and PT appointments ahead of time (There were a lot!) I was open and honest with everyone about my medical history so I would get the best care possible.
I am grateful to have had the good fortune to have this surgery and to prepare for it. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to ask questions. The next blog I write will be about what I have learned after the surgery. Stay tuned….