A Guide to Help You Prepare for Major Surgery

A medical diagnosis can be a life-changing event. Sometimes you go in for what you believe is a simple check-up, only to find out your body is in crisis. It is no wonder that the mention of a hospital sparks apprehension in most people. 

Surgery is one diagnostic recommendation that can be hard to receive. It is no mean feat to simply place your life in the hands of a surgeon and hope all goes well. They could be the most gifted doctor but there is always the worry of what could go wrong.

Technological advancements, however, now provide many options for surgical procedures with much better outcomes. Robotic surgery is one of those options. Innovative creations such as EVS robot arms enable surgeons to perform sensitive complex operations with higher accuracy. Further, studies show robotic surgeries have fewer post-surgical complications and shorter recovery times. 

In the event that you or your loved one is faced with major surgery, try and keep a positive outlook. Here are a few things you can do to be better prepared.

Handling the Diagnosis

Human emotional responses to difficult situations are as varied as grains of sugar. Everyone has a way they interpret and process events. Some common reactions include:

  • Logical response; characterized by asking questions so as to understand and address the situation 
  • Emotional response; crying, sadness, denial, anger 
  • Stoicism; difficult to read as they present minimal expression

A few clinical studies show that a surgical patient with a more optimistic mindset has better surgical outcomes. For this reason, it is preferable that you work through your feelings and fears about the operation. Speaking to your doctors and understanding the procedure better could be helpful. In fact, it is even advisable to seek a second opinion if your concerns are not assuaged.

Informing your family is equally a significant part of this process. Who you choose to inform is an entirely discretionary decision but consider involving close family or friends. A support system will be crucial throughout your recovery both emotionally and physically.

The Cost of Wellness

Amidst all the debates on healthcare, the one fact that everyone seems to agree on is that it is expensive. In light of this, being financially prepared will work in your favor.  Recovery is difficult enough without the added burden of huge medical bills you had not anticipated.

Insurance plans have certain limitations for what kind of surgeries they cover. Depending on your procedure they may pay for it entirely or partially. Where possible, find these details out beforehand and plan accordingly. 

On the contrary, if you are not medically insured, you could ask the hospital for a cost estimate. Evaluate the estimate against your financial position. If you can not cover all the costs at once, some hospitals offer payment plans. 

The value of your health can not possibly be pitted against material wealth, it should never be. Nevertheless, having financial obligations squared away will give you a chance to focus on healing.

Power of Attorney

There is a legal aspect attached to medical care in regard to your consent as a patient. The law requires that you give authorization before any surgery. Usually, hospital staff will ascertain that you are of sound mind and then offer you forms to sign. It is also your prerogative to object to anything you are not agreeable to and withhold your consent.

Still in the legal realm, is the preparation for eventualities. Major surgery can have different outcomes given how delicate it is. You may not be able to advocate for yourself fully if your faculties get compromised. A medical power of attorney gives legal authority to someone else to make decisions on your behalf. It is a weighty responsibility and should thus be assigned to someone you trust to safeguard your best interests. A written directive of your wishes is a safe way to avoid ambiguity and misinformation. 

Further, you may want to have other important documents prepared such as your will. Wills and testaments are often a sensitive subject for many and are seen as a bad omen. A better way to think of them would be that should anything go wrong, your affairs would be in order. Contrary to myths, wills are not necessarily harbingers of doom. They can actually be a way to care for your loved ones in the event of your absence.

Getting Comfortable

If you have children, you’ve probably offered them their favorite snack after a blood draw or a vaccination. Sometimes it is a small incentive to get them to cooperate or a way to comfort them afterward. It is a way of reassuring them of your affection during doctor’s visits and it calms them.

Surgery is a whole lot more than a blood draw with a fancy band-aid to go with it. So, you are definitely allowed to find whichever comforts make it easier for you. The caveat though is that your doctor may have to sign off on them so as not to jeopardize your operation. Some ideas to try include:

  • Pack or have loved ones bring your favorite book or magazines
  • Call loved ones that you would find comfort speaking to
  • Where possible, ask to have some personal effects in the room like slippers or a throw blanket
  • Before you begin your pre-surgery fast, have a meal you enjoy


Hospitals are often remembered as a place where pain roams the halls. They are the place where people find out they have cancer or brain bleeds. True, these things all happen in hospitals. However, it is also true that children are born, broken limbs are mended, and great odds defied in those very hospitals. 

Following doctor’s orders and taking necessary precautions will have you back on your feet in no time. It may be a long road ahead, but look for it to be one of healing and wellness: a positive outlook for a positive outcome.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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