Supporting Your Partner Around Surgeries
For many people, surgeries are a big part of having endometriosis. Laparoscopies are still the most reliable way to diagnose the condition, but this comes with the ordeal of key-hole surgery and all the prep and recovery time that comes with that. I’ve really hated seeing my partner go through surgery, and seeing the physical toll that it takes on somebody is not nice. Because of this, I make sure that I support my partner as well as possible in the lead up to, and after the surgery.
Be emotionally available
Perhaps most importantly, I make sure that I’m emotionally available in the lead up to and after the surgery. Surgery is a stressful and scary thing, and hospitals can be intimidating places, so I make sure that I listen to my partners fears and concerns, and do my best to reassure her. Be present and attentive to your partner, and listen to the things they aren’t saying as well, because often that’s where you’ll find the truth of how they feel.
Organize the house
A more practical thing I do is to get house organized first. Do the dishes, vacuum, change the bedding, take the trash bins out. Do as many of those household jobs as you can before one of you is bed-bound, because this will make being in the house post-surgery easier for your partner, and give you more time to be with them and support them.
Similarly, do the groceries and stock the medicine cupboard. Try to get easy meals in so you’ve got plenty of time with your partner, and make meals you can freeze and store for later, so that when your partner is up and about and you’re not around, they can easily heat some food rather than slave over the stove and exhaust themselves.
Take time off
It’s important to try and get time off work during and after the surgery if you can. Your partner may need help getting around the house, getting dressed, using the bathroom, so it’s good to be around to help with this. If you can’t be around yourself, see if you can get a family member to be there.
Plan how you'll get home
Arrange transport home from the surgery. From my experience, getting from the hospital to home is the most difficult part of the surgery. Your partner has just gone from being unconscious with a hole in their abdomen, to getting in a bumpy car ride home. If it’s you that’s driving them home, take your time and drive slowly – as well as the pain, they may feel sick from the anaesthetic. If you’re getting a taxi, be sure to let them know the situation and ask them to take the same care.
Make your home comfortable
Finally, I try to make home as comfortable as possible. This means lots of pillows and blankets. If there’s a book your partner has been meaning to read for ages, get it for them. If there’s a magazine they really like, buy a few issues. If there’s a hot water bottle buried somewhere in that useless kitchen cupboard, dig it out and give it a clean. Feeling comfortable is an important step towards healing and getting back to your normal self. All of these steps are about making the transition and recovery for your partner simple and comfortable, and helping them get back to themselves as easily as possible.
Do you ever experience urinary incontinence?