When you need surgery, the weeks leading up to it feel stressful. There are appointments to schedule, prep like blood tests and lab work, and household chores to accomplish. Little things done beforehand make for a more peaceful, productive recovery period. The staff at Pacific Surgical Center will walk you through all the details but there are a few tricks to help the mind and body heal.
As you shop for easy meals to enjoy during recovery, start a little early. Doctors “understand that what patients eat and drink before surgery impacts how well they’ll recover afterward…[Nutritionists] instruct patients to eat nutrient-dense foods and emphasizes the importance of a back-to-basics approach to nutrition: Vegetables, grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats provide the body with essential nutrients that increase metabolism and improve immune function, which increases the body’s ability to fight infection and improve wound healing after surgery.”
They also advise patients with high blood pressure “to monitor their sodium intake and eat more fruits and vegetables to increase the amount of potassium in their diets. Even a seemingly small reduction in body fat (3% to 5%) leads to improvements in blood pressure values.”
Newer research shows that “patients who carbohydrate load…up to 2 hours before surgery are more physically prepared to endure the rigors of surgery. Their blood glucose and blood pressure levels are stable, and they’re less likely to experience insulin resistance from the stress of surgery. They’ll also be in less pain and at lower risk of suffering post-op infections—factors that impact patient satisfaction and lead to better outcomes.”
This carbo-loading with specifically designated liquids helps in another way as well. Studies show that it could potentially reduce the need for—and addiction risk of—opioid painkillers. If a patient is allowed fluids before surgery, they can potentially avoid dehydration. In dehydrated patients “The heart beats faster because it’s trying to circulate existing fluid volume to various organs…Providers who are monitoring a patient’s hemodynamic status might assume the heart rate is increasing because the body is experiencing pain and administer pain medications the patient might not need.”
If you are one of the many Americans recovering from COVID-19, surgery has probably been the furthest thing from your mind. But as you mend, it’s time to start catching up with the appointments and events you’ve missed. “A recent international, multicenter study to determine the optimal length of delay for recovering COVID-19 patients to undergo surgery puts the sweet spot at seven weeks,” say industry experts. The overall delay varies due to symptoms and severity, so if you tested positive, make sure to discuss surgeries with your primary care provider.
The days before an operation are a good time to set your mind and body at ease (as best you can). Ask lots of questions so you understand what will happen before, during, and after. Speak with your doctors about any medications you take as well as herbal supplements and vitamins. If possible, fill any follow-up prescriptions in advance so you don’t have to worry about it. Stock your fridge with healthy, easy to reheat meals, and make sure there are plenty of snacks and drinks on hand. Do the laundry (it’s one less thing to worry about!) and arrange a pet sitter or doggie daycare for those beloved, furry little trip magnets.
Internally, devote time to eating healthy and staying super hydrated. If possible, do some simple exercises both for weight loss and flexibility as well as improving your mood and mindset. Going into the appointment without niggling questions or worries means you can come home, rest, and mend.
When preparing for surgery at PSC, staff will work with you throughout the day to make things as smooth and trouble-free as possible. But they remind patients, “If you will be receiving general anesthesia or sedation, you will not be permitted to drive yourself home after the procedure. You will need an escort who should be at least twenty-five years of age and able to remain with you for the first 24 hours. If you are having local anesthesia, you will also need an escort to drive you home. Your escort must stay in the building during your surgery/procedure…If you do not have an escort, we will be forced to postpone your procedure.”
Once all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed, your surgery will go smoothly, and you’ll be back on your feet again. With questions or to make an appointment, call PSC at 360.442.7900 today.