Most importantly I do make sure patients understand, it is very critical that they know there is a mental component to the operation. You as a patient have to be mentally prepared for your surgery. Most of these operations are elective operations, and as such you have an opportunity to prepare.
You need to prepare not only physically but mentally what you’re going to go through after the operation. If your physical activity uh, prior to surgery was you’re an athlete, you swam, you ran, you played golf you may not be able to do those things for an extended period of time after procedure and that might be months. And as such, your life changes. Depression is probably very relevant following an operation and so I think is important to surround yourself with friends, with family, with things that are positive.
If it obviously gets to a point where the depression is now one of the more important things in your life, because you think about it all the time, it weighs upon you from morning to night, your behavior is definitely affecting those around you. At that point I think it’s time that you maybe seek help for that, and that’s available to you. Contact your physician, contact your surgeon, and they can help you those things, but depression, anxiety, fear, these are all normal things that patients have to understand are gonna be a part of your recovery from surgery.
And the more people that you can surround yourself with, the more friends, the more family, the more loved ones that you have is gonna help you recovery. So, the emotional side is really as important short term, I would say as it is the physical side. And so, it is preparing not only for the physical but also preparing for the emotional or the mental side and I think that’s what makes the best surgical outcome.
It’s important to really educate the caregiver and what I mean by that is, at your visits prior to your operation bring that individual with you. That is probably the most important thing that you can do. So, whether be your presurgical visit, or maybe a visit or two prior to that, where you can sit down and you can discuss the procedure, the pain associated, the recovery afterwards, what is normal and what is abnormal, what your life would be like after the operation, your limitations, both physically uh, is discussed maybe mentally or even sexually.
Those things are appropriate to discuss, in my opinion prior to the operation, as supposed to after the operation. And ask questions, come with a list. What can I do to help this person? What’s my role in this? How long is my role in this? And, what are that individual’s capabilities post-surgery? How intimately involved do I have to be? I think that would make the recovery period for both of you so much easier and so much better.
So, you have your operation. Your operation’s successful, you’re back to some normalcy in your activities, you’re back to some normalcy in your job, your life, and you’re feeling good. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end at that point. And that’s important to understand, that once you’ve had a procedure things have changed. Things have changed from that point forever. The analogy is a car that's been in an accident. You take it to the body shop, it gets repaired, and it’s still not the same car anymore.
As a patient you’ve been repaired. But there’s-you’re still vulnerable to problems, to situations occurring down the road, and it’s important to know that yes, I’m feeling good but I still have to do things properly to prevent maybe a recurrence of my pain, to prevent a future injury, but also knowing that I am susceptible to problems occurring maybe somewhere else, because of what I had done.
And so it is my job as a patient then, to make sure I take care of myself physically, of course mentally is well, but physically I maintain a good core exercise, and so I’m working on every day on my stomach, my gluts, my back muscles appropriately through, you know through the physical therapy and continue with the recommendations of the physical therapist and as important it is, it doesn’t stop once the symptoms go away.
The process of making sure you recover and heal are long term, they’re lifelong. It is your job as a patient to make sure that you do everything you can to make sure not only this operation is successful, but you are doing everything you can to make sure you prevent any future problems. And so you will work diligently, you will work every day to make sure that what we have recommended to you is done. And so you don’t come back to see us anymore. Our job is not to see you. Our job is to say good-bye and hopefully you get on with your life and you can get on with your life safely
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