If you have scheduled an upcoming spine surgery, you may be feeling nervous or anxious in the days prior to the procedure. The best way to decrease this stress is to be fully prepared for what lies ahead. Knowing that you have everything ready and taken care of will give you less to worry about and can make the recovery period much easier on you and your family.
The first step in preparation is to obtain all the information you can about what to expect during the entire process. Most of the information will be given to you by your surgeon, but if there are questions that pop into your mind, write them down and ask the doctor. Once you have an idea of how long you will be away from home, how restricted your movement or activities will be during recovery, and how long that recovery period should last, you are ready to start planning.
Depending on how much you will physically be capable of doing after surgery, you will need to plan ahead for the things that will be difficult or impossible for you to do yourself. You may want to arrange for child care, pet care, or maybe even have a close friend or relative come stay with you for a while. Prepare your home beforehand to ensure that you will be able to reach necessary items easily. If you will spend a lot of time in bed, set up a table with reading material, the TV remote, a pitcher of water, etc. beside the bed for easy access.
Run errands that you may not be able to handle for a while. Stock up on groceries and prepare meals that can be frozen and reheated as needed. Make a list of bills that need to be paid during your down time and take care of them before the surgery. Pre-schedule follow-up appointments with your doctor and arrange for any therapy that is recommended. See if you can get any prescriptions filled before surgery so that they will be ready for you to take when you get home. Plan your vacation or sick time with your job, and make sure your health insurance or any supplemental disability insurance is taken care of.
As the day of your surgery nears, plan your transportation to and from the hospital and pack a bag for your stay. Even if you are having outpatient surgery, you may want to bring a change of loose, comfortable clothing, slip on shoes, a book or magazine, etc. Last, but not least, prepare yourself mentally for the surgery. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing, envisioning a positive outcome, and peaceful music can be extremely helpful in calming your nerves and easing your stress. Once you have planned physically and emotionally for surgery, you can become excited about how the procedure will benefit you, ease your pain, or increase your mobility.