Surgery Prep During COVID

In a perfect world, our already-existent health issues would take a backseat during a pandemic. Unfortunately, some of us still need to have procedures and/or surgeries. Though mine was pushed back, I have an excision surgery coming up. Whether it’s how things will be during the hospital stay or even back at home, there’s a lot to prepare for. And because things are so different now, I’d like to share a few things I’ll be focusing on.

The day of surgery

They are currently not allowing anyone with an elective surgery to have someone with them. So on the morning of my surgery, I will be dropped off and won’t see anyone until I’m discharged at the end of the day. It’s a scary thought, especially because endometriosis surgeries are so unpredictable. Surgeons usually go in not knowing exactly what they will find. So I’m going to do what everyone else is doing to get support during this time - video chat family. During the long wait while in my gown, alone in that bed, I’ll be FaceTiming family as if they were right there with me. I’m also going to bring things to read or draw and headphones for music or a podcast. I’d suggest bringing any hobby you enjoy like crossword puzzles, knitting, or coloring books. The more distractions, the better, in this case.

Post-op recovery and safety

The recovery at home will look a lot different as well. Your roommate, partner, or family will leave the house at some point while you’re recovering. Because our bodies are already dealing with so much, it’s especially important for us to not be exposed to the virus. It’ll be crucial to be conscious of keeping things clean. But more importantly, it's necessary to let those that share a space with you to do the same. I would say this is the best time to be overly-cautious and do the best to keep your house as safe as can be. I’d suggest things like daily surface cleaning, hand washing, and not having outside clothing in your bed area.

Stress control

Just reading the words "surgery during a pandemic" gives me horrible anxiety. It has been such a challenge to navigate having chronic pain during this time already. So when it comes to stress, it’s easy for it to begin to feel overwhelming. I’m working on taking more breaks on my phone, so I don’t spiral into the deep web of COVID. I am also spending more time doing my PT at home to keep my body moving. If you don’t already do PT at home, it would be a good time to do yoga or any form of movement that also promotes relaxation. And lastly, I am reaching out for support. Now more than ever, especially with social distancing, I need my family and friends. They cannot be with me, which is beyond difficult, but making sure I am communicating with them is crucial to my well being and stress control.

Final thoughts

If you are having surgery during this time, it will be okay. We are resilient in so many shapes and forms. Remember that there is a global pandemic and it is normal to be scared. The uncertainty is affecting almost everyone's lives, especially those who are already sick in some way. So do your best to be prepared, take it day by day, and control what you can. Make sure you have everything you need for a day alone in the hospital and everything at home that will keep you inside and comfortable. Practice relaxation techniques before and after your recovery, limiting stressors that are all around us. And again, no matter what, we will get through this.

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