Elective Surgery Preparation
When you hear the word “surgery,” you may think of being rushed to the hospital after an accident requiring what is called “urgent” or “emergency” surgery. But as people are living longer and are more active, for many elective surgeries, surgery that is subject to choice, is becoming much more common. But don’t be fooled these surgeries still require a lot of preparation and thought.
Recently one of my friends shared with me that her mom was having hip replacement surgery. To prepare the pair of them attended a class hosted by the physician’s office to learn what to expect. The class covered how to prepare for surgery, making sure the home was clean and free of clutter, getting all the shopping and meal preparation done in advance, arranging transportation and going over the physical limitations after surgery.
Feeling prepared, Susan’s mother went in for the surgery and everything went well. But after the surgery, Susan commented that her mom was really groggy and unable to put her words together. This is not terribly uncommon after surgery, but when the nurse checked up on pain, Susan’s mom kept saying it was high without really knowing what she was saying. But the doctor’s order’s allowed the RN to give her scheduled pain medication, so she did.
Susan called me and shared that her mom was not making any sense and was frankly a wreck. She was so nauseated and dizzy that she could not get out of bed. It’s funny to hear how people react to medication until it is not funny anymore. You start thinking is my mom still in there somewhere, when will she be back to normal? Fortunately for Susan and her mother, they were able to straighten the medication issue out.
Unfortunately for others who may not be aware, this type of confusion from pain medication causes other problems. It can lead to a higher risk of falling, constipation and some other issues. Make sure you talk to your doctor about pain management before the surgery. Having an informed advocate will lead to safer and better results. Remember, that the hospital staff has parameters, but they don’t know your mom. In Susan’s case, her mom has a history of anxiety around medical procedures. Taking more pain medication might seem like a good idea, but unfortunately, there is no magic bullet.
Having a clear plan and knowing the risks and benefits before elective surgery is vital.
If you do not have a family member, who is willing and able to advocate or attend medical appointments ask a friend or neighbor. You might also consider hiring a professional organization. There are a lot of great in-home care companies that help people in the hospital and once they return home. Once you have a plan, run it by your doctor’s office.