When you think about recovering from back surgery, your main concerns are likely minimizing your pain, healing properly, and seeing whether the surgery was successful. If you’ve never had major surgery, however, you might not know how to prepare for the daily tasks you may have trouble with while recovering. By taking the proper preparations, you’ll be able to limit the problems you have as you return to good health.
Long before you ever go into the operating room, you should have a plan for your recovery. These plans generally start with deciding who is going to drive you home from the hospital and who can take the time to help you out over the next few weeks. Back surgery can be both painful and immobilizing, so it’s necessary to have someone available to help you out. Be sure to provide your caregiver with a list of emergency contact information before surgery, so they’ll know whom to call should an issue arise.
Another issue to address is any conflicting appointments or commitments you might have. For example, you may have a haircut scheduled for a week or two after the surgery, but you might not be able to sit in the chair comfortably at that point. It’s best to reschedule your haircut, dentist appointments, and any other commitments for later dates.
As the day of the surgery approaches, you should plan what clothes you will wear in the hospital and on the day you come home from your procedure. Just after surgery, the nurses at the hospital may want to get you up and moving around, so pack a bathrobe and a pair of slippers or other comfortable shoes that are easy to put on.
Make Your Home Convenient
One of the most important tasks to complete before you head to the hospital or surgical center is getting your home in order. First, ensure that your house is clean and that any potential obstacles are moved out of the walkways. It may seem unnecessary while you’re completely able-bodied, but clearing the path from your bedroom to the bathroom and other commonly traveled areas can make a world of difference as you’re shuffling along after surgery. You should remove rugs, mats, and other items that could cause a problem for a walker, and try to get your kids to keep their toys off the floor for your sake.
You can also organize your home to position the things you use often at waist-height, so you won’t be required to reach over your head or bend your back. For instance, before your surgery, you could plan an entire week of comfortable, loose clothing and leave it on a chair or dresser so you aren’t forced to search through drawers or closets to locate the items you want.
Other Recovery Issues
When you’re recovering from involved open-back surgery, you’ll probably be concerned about managing your pain. You can make sure that your pain medications are always there when you need them by having your prescriptions filled at the hospital rather than at a pharmacy.
You should also try to make eating and drinking as convenient as possible. That could mean using disposable plates and tableware and eating food that is easy to prepare, such as cereal. As for drinking, you’ll be lying in bed or recovering in reclined chairs for a while, so using a sports bottle or cup with a long straw will be beneficial, as it can help prevent spills.
To learn more about recovering from back surgery, talk with your surgeon about what you should expect and how to prepare for your own surgery.