Personal Preparation for Surgery
This category of preparation relates to your personal preparation
and participation in surgery, recuperation and healing. We suggest
actions you can take as you prepare for surgery, and activities you
can plan to help expedite your recovery.
Understand the basics
of your body, the effected part, the procedure being done.
Similarly, understand that your body’s innate ability to heal is
indeed influenced by your attitude toward as well as your
participation in your recovery.
It’s understood that no two patients are alike; everyone is an
individual. That being said, certain actions routinely produce
certain outcomes. Even if you feel you are not in ‘the best shape’
it is never too late to take positive action for your body and doing
so will enhance your recovery. This involves proper nutrition,
exercise and a positive mental approach to the forthcoming surgery.
We believe in the body’s magnificent healing properties and we
encourage you to supplement your recovery plan in such a way that
you heal – expeditiously. Of course, the various injuries and
surgeries have their basic and respective timelines. That being
said, by using an integrative approach to recovery, and drawing upon
other healing modalities you can indeed enhance your recuperation
Your Surgery is an Opportunity
Once again, rather than focusing on this time as a ‘disruption’, we
encourage you to view it as a pause from the regular rhythms of your
life and an opportunity to make changes that will effect you
positively in the days, nights, weeks, months, and years ahead. It
is a perfect time to lay a new foundation.
4 Elements for You to Consider:
- The Injury Or Condition
- The Process Of Repair – Surgery & immobilization of the
- The Necessary Rest Period
The Injury Or Condition – an injury
is a wound; it is an insult to your body’s normal state of integrity
and flow. It initiates varying levels of stress in different
individuals. Occasionally the injury occurs where there is a
pre-existing vulnerability or weakness such as with an Osteochondral
lesion. Other times that is quite clearly not the case and the
injury is the direct result of an accident of some type.
The Process of Repair – Surgery
Pre-operatively - Make whatever provisions you need to make
so that you have the items and care you need during the initial
post-op phase. In this way your ‘mind’ is at ease. Secure the
care and support you will need. Make sure you have the basic
groceries and items you rely upon as well as any medications
pre-prescribed by Dr. Kennedy. Identify the things you’ll want
at your fingertips and arrange for their easy availability and
access. You may want to rent the DVD’s, get the books &
magazines or identify ways you’ll be able to enjoy the idle
time. You may need to move your bed to the ground floor. Think
it through, and make whatever preparations you need to make.
This will enable you to rest well and freely during the initial
phase of your post op period.
The Procedure - Dr. Kennedy outlined the actual procedure
for you. You will have either a local or general anesthesia.
Once the procedure is over you will either spend time in the
recovery room or in a designated post-operative area.
The Necessary Rest Period Post-operatively
Accept that this is a Time to Heal - The word Heal comes
from the old English word haelan meaning ‘to make whole and
well’. Some common synonyms for heal are ‘restore, repair,
renew, revivify, regenerate, rejuvenate mend, pull through,
improve or get better.’ While these are all very obvious points,
in glossing over them, we can easily overlook the inherent
responsibility in the word heal which is actually a verb. Verbs
imply ‘action,’ even if that action is ‘passive.’ We’re not
suggesting that you “DO” healing or “WORK” yourself into a
‘healed’ condition. We are however, recommending that you
prepare your body and tend to it post operatively with proper
rest nutrition and physical therapy. Eat well, rest well, drink
plenty of water; avoid caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes.
What to Expect Afterward - Your body’s bone and tissue have been
moved by the surgery procedure. At one end of the spectrum this in
and of itself will produce atypical sensations and at the other end
of the spectrum, there is post op pain. You will have pain
medication to manage any initial discomfort.
Pain Management - The medication will take care of the pain and
will most likely make you drowsy.
Rest - Give yourself carte blanche permission to relax and
abstain from the regular rhythms of your life - Rest. Sleep. As with
“heal”, Rest and Sleep are verbs and to engage with them effectively
you need to participate. How? The medication should help. But if you
find it difficult to rest, you can aid the process by simply giving
yourself permission. For the days immediately following your
surgery, let go of ANY AND ALL expectations to complete tasks or
projects or work. Rest defined means – to gently abstain from
stimulation, movement, activity, stress and worry. As you rest, the
body can focus all of its innate intelligence and energy on the
surgical site. While recovery may seem like a long time, when you
realize the scope of what is being done and the opportunity our
renewed ability offers us for optimal health and wellness, it is
General aches and pains – Some people experience a generalized
soreness or aching muscles, which is often the consequence of being
sedentary. On one hand, this demonstrates how movement and exercise
support your body’s basic needs for increased levels of oxygen.
Stiffness or generalized muscle aches are the result of in-activity.
You can assist your body by adopting a gentle routine of slow
stretching and movement – to the NON-effected areas of the body.
This will facilitate the body in releasing excess fluids as well as
prompt the body to release any toxins normally released during
exercise or movement.
Start with some slow / gentle movements of the non effected parts of
your body. Gently roll your head; move your shoulders, arms, and
hands. Condition permitting, gently twist your torso just enough to
loosen up the muscles of the abdominal cavity. Drink plenty of
water; this will help your healing in many ways – from flushing the
system to providing the metabolic support for joint lubrication. Eat
oxygen rich foods – leafy greens, fruits, veggies.
Utilize alternative healing modalities - Simple logic - if YOU are
not moving very much, employ a modality that assist your body in
circulating its fluids and meeting its goals and needs for
circulation. Blood is responsible for oxygenating you tissue. Normal
activities of daily living – (walking, making the bed, ascending /
descending the stairs), all these simple activities normally assist
us in maintaining a good metabolic process. When you’re not
weight-baring and not moving as much, you’ll expedite your recovery
by taking the help of Healing disciplines that promote good
circulation of your body’s oxygenated blood for you. Massage of the
back, neck, arms and torso is acceptable. Massage circulates the
body’s lymph drainage and helps the body to detoxify. Acupuncture
opens up essential channels of energy that get blocked by any one of
a number of things – trauma, inactivity, toxicity, and stress to
name a few.
DO NOT MASSAGE THE LEGS – If you opt to have massage, avoid
massaging either or both legs until you have clearance from your
It is absolutely true that in nearly every case, a period of
absolute rest and passivity is required, but that period is fairly
short. Each patient is an individual with his and her own history
and there are general trends in recovery that can be referenced as
As we mentioned earlier your body has been sedentary - working at a
slower metabolic pace. As you start to work with the physical
therapist you may feel a bit weaker than prior to surgery. The
Physical therapist is working from the doctor’s prescription for
your care, and should be able to gauge your ability to progress.
Work steadily and pace yourself. True Healing occurs when periods of
work and rest are proportionately balanced.
Expect miracles but by all means work within what is reasonable for
your age, weight, overall health and place in the timeline of your
recovery. Do not OVER-DO anything. You are the only one who can
assess your progress. Dialogue with the physical therapist.
Come for your follow up visits. In this way Dr. Kennedy and his
associates can assess your progress and recommend any adjustments
you may need.
Keep an eye on your attitude. Pain is a barometer. It can indicate
whether you’re doing to much or to little. At best it tells you when
you’re doing ‘too much too soon.’ An athlete can tell you that he /
she works consciously with pain; it informs their training. Too much
would leave them fatigued. Too little and they’ll never build the
stamina needed to win.
A good attitude will expedite your recovery. If you find you’re
un-able to maintain a positive state, seek the support you need from
family, friends and if need be – by a professional. The body is
inextricably connected to your emotional and mental states. If
negative feelings go “un-checked” they can magnify the normal aches
and pains that are typical in the recovery process. It is not a
reflection on you if you feel frustrated. Most people experience
varying degrees of frustration at some point in life. You simply
need to counter the feeling with a positive action. Otherwise you
may compromise the rate of your recovery.
In summary - Some Very Basic Principles for Recovery
- Hydration – Drink water
- Oxygenation – Breath deeply
- Circulation – when the time is right - move as per Doctor
We wish you the very best for a healthy recovery!!!