What I Wish I Would Have Known Before My Surgery
As I sit trying to brainstorm a list of items you can prepare for your surgery from my own personal experience, I began to realize that there is honestly only so much you can prepare for. We are humans. By nature, we want to be prepared for every endeavor we take in life. However, there are only so many times you can google search, WebMD, and scroll through all possible outcomes and diagnosis of an injury. Let’s not kid ourselves, we are all guilty of self-diagnosing our injuries… and from personal experience, I even searched online before my surgery to make sure I knew what EXACTLY to expect pre-operation and post-operation. The truth is that everyone is going to experience things differently. We have different pain tolerances, different healing time periods, and we experience differences in swelling. For instance, some people are “swellers” by nature (as my doctor once told me, myself included) and some people don’t experience hardly any swelling at all. Just remember, don’t compare your injury and surgery outcome to someone else! We are all DIFFERENT!
Thinking back on my many knee operations, I put together a list of some things you might not think about and what I wish I would have known before my surgeries.
Make sure you find yourself someone who is willing to wait on you hand and foot, drive you places, and help you in your times of emotional and physical frustration. I was lucky. My Mom was a trooper and took care of me through all eight weeks of being on crutches. Remember to be grateful for your care taker, and don’t be too stubborn with things. I understand completely! It was incredibly hard for me to acclimate to my physical restrictions. I realized I took simple things for granted… including showering, going to the restroom, or walking to the kitchen to get a snack.
Pain medication can be very helpful for pain tolerance post operation. However, ALWAYS make sure you are eating enough with every dose you take. Be aware of any signs of an allergic reaction to your pain meds. It can happen for some people like myself where I became sick due to the lack of food I ate. Know when to ween off of pain medication too. Don’t become reliant on it!
Pass Time Activity
Initially, you will probably be resting A LOT. This is an essential time where your body begins to heal, so rest is good!! From personal experience, my resting phase wore off. I wish I would have found some sort of craft I could have worked on or a good book to read while laid up. Life was pretty boring for me and especially for someone as busy and active as I was, I needed a good pass time activity while I laid in bed!
TAKE THEM. Not being able to use the restroom but having the urge is one of the worst feelings I experienced after surgery. My opinion, take stool softeners as well as eat some prunes… Anesthesia can cause difficulty after surgery going to the restroom which can be painful. Take my advice on this one!
I wish I would have known before surgery that I was going to have a negative reaction to the anesthesia. I was pretty nauseous when I woke up. If you know you react to anesthesia or even have family members that react to anesthesia, it’s a good idea to let the medical staff know so they can give you medication that helps to prevent sickness after surgery due to the anesthesia.
For me, this was easy. Wearing sweats was something I already liked to do. Loose clothing just makes things easier after surgery!
Discomfort is going to be normal. Think about it… your body was just put through something traumatic! Our bodies are incredible things! Our guard goes up with an injury and our body tries to protect the injured area. Be a religious ICER! This may help decrease discomfort as well as swelling.
Healing Takes Time
It’s going to take time. Remember to be patient with yourself as well as celebrate the little accomplishments! Treat yourself with every month that passes or with goals you reach in physical therapy. Focus on how far you have come, not how far you have left to go! Mindset can be everything!
Marquette Pick, OPTI Marketing Coordinator & former D1 athlete
OPTI is an outpatient Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy Clinic with locations at 144th & Dodge and 144th & Giles.