Surgery – What to Do Before

Get Healthy

No matter what your condition, nor your type surgery, eating well and exercising will only help with your recovery. Talk to your doctor though. This is not the time to train for a marathon, or go on a cleanse. Your body is vulnerable. Ask your doctor what type of diet they recommend and what exercise will help. Get a physiotherapist; they know your body and get prepare it to bounce back better.

The most brutal recovery I have ever had was from my hip replacements. I know it was because I had 10 years of limited exercise and significant deterioration, culminating in a pregnancy. OMG! It has taken me forever to recover. One rather insensitive physiotherapist even commented that he’d never seen such slow progress. But I still did what I could from a nutrition standpoint. No junk food, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins to rebuild muscle.

My trainer at the gym is preparing for surgery in a few months, and he is trying to walk a mile a day on his crutches to build up the arm, shoulder and chest muscles and stamina he will need to be on his feet all day after surgery. Now that’s commitment.


Buy your favorite foods, hobbies and body products. Stock your freezer, pantry, bathroom and bookshelves. When you first come home, expect shopping to be a hassle. If you can have anything before hand, do it. You will be glad you did.

Cook meals ahead and freeze them. stock the pantry with favorite snacks. Join a meal service and have things delivered a few times a week. Look into online grocery services. My grandmother’s local grocery store would even send a stock boy around with a few things when she couldn’t get out. Even if there is no existing service in your neighborhood, they may be able to accommodate you.

Entertainment is critical too. You will get depressed if you are bored. Join a subscription book, magazine or music service. Collect books, puzzles, crosswords or whatever you enjoy to keep you busy in the weeks ahead. This might even be a good time to finally scrapbook all of those pictures you’ve been meaning to get to.

Don’t forget clothes. Comfortable, attractive pajamas or athletic gear that you wear to nap in the morning and for company in the afternoon. Something you can put on yourself, if necessary. I live in roomy yoga pants and oversize t-shirts, and I stick to bras with no underwire. I usually have enough to put on something fresh every day for a week (8 outfits), because I can’t get to the laundry room without John.

Get Organized

Depending on your recuperation, organizing could be the most critical. If your movement will be restricted, you can’t run around the house gathering supplies. You need to make sure it is all accessible in advance.

Pack a toiletry bag, a pencil case, a knitting bag, just like you would to travel. In fact, if you think of this like a trip, it may help. I usually have my clothes (8 outfits, underwear, bra) in the top drawers of the dresser so there is no bending. I have my crossword puzzle, book, notepad, cordless phone, cell phone, tablet, medications and pencil case in my backpack so that I can take it wherever I go. There is a fully stocked basket under the table next to the couch for browsing. And I have all of my bathing and grooming supplies in my nightstand for getting ready in the morning, or at night.


Check out my next post in this series:  Surgery – What to Pack for the Hospital