Surgery Recovery in a Pandemic

Updated: Apr 26

Having surgery can be an anxiety-producing event for you and those around you, even when it is a planned procedure. We're now into Year 2 of dealing with this pandemic and the manner in which care is delivered and received is still quite affected. Healthcare supplies may be available to treat people but a bigger issue now is staffing. With staffing shortages across the landscape of healthcare, you may not receive care as you have been accustomed to. Vaccine mandates and general burnout have taken their toll on the healthcare workforce. Never mind that the cost of goods to provide care has gone up and some places just can not keep up or choose not to.

Below you'll find some tips to navigate healing from a procedure regardless despite our current collective situation because it does not change the fact that you may need help after a procedure. It is common to have pain, swelling, wound care needs, potential mobility issues and safety concerns when you leave the hospital.

You need to plan ahead for your post-op care and not wait until after your procedure to get your ducks in a row.

People are choosing not to go to rehabilitation centers for fear of infection and are opting to go home. This may be fine however be aware that home care agencies and outpatient centers are also short staffed and stretched pretty thin. Therefore, care might be delayed or minimized for various reasons.

Here’s some tips to help you plan ahead:

  • Designate a place to stay with minimal stairs for a few days if possible

  • Find someone to stay with you

  • Set up a place to sleep on the first floor before your procedure just in case

  • Make some meals ahead of time. Focus on healthy protein-rich foods and lots of vitamin packed goodness. Think homemade chicken soup and stews.

  • Get an insulated water bottle for keeping fluids cool and handy.

  • Borrow or rent a walker, rollator or crutches just in case. They can help you with longer distances especially if you had a hard time getting around prior to surgery.

  • Ice packs in the freezer.

  • Lots of comfy easy flowing clothes ready to wear

  • Slip-on slip-resistant shoes so you don't have to bend over and tie anything

  • Make an appointment in advance with a post-op provider like a physical therapist that can come to you or make an appointment a week out from your surgery to get into an outpatient center. These can always be rescheduled if needed but better to be in the books and ready to be seen.

You can find more tips in my Book Health Healing After Surgery : a better and faster recovery

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