Surgery Recovery Kit

When I was preparing for my hysterectomy, I knew most of my time post-op would be focused on taking it easy while my body repaired itself. This meant that all the work work had to be done ahead of time. I explained in a previous post what happened during and after the surgery itself, but what about lifestyle preparations?

Beautiful items and flowers provided comfort during recovery

Let’s see…. I thoroughly cleaned my bedroom since that’s where I would be spending most of my time. Floors, surfaces, bedding. I tried to make the space as close to Air BnB level as I could (Same with my stuff in the bathroom.) There was no need for extra shoes or my gym bag to be at the ready. I shoved all unnecessary items into drawers and my closet. Once the canvas was primed, so to speak, I got to work assembling my recovery station.

Totoro made sure I ate all my food. Look at those eyes. Look at them.

A small three-tiered shelf serves as a bedside table in my room. I cleared it off and got a couple little baskets then set these items aside. I moved my CPAP onto the tiny folding table I normally use as my computer desk. Next to the machine, I put a basket of medical supplies and other necessities: antibacterial wipes, tissues, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, my prescription medication, vitamins, probiotics, stool softener and laxatives (these were strongly encouraged by the doctor – and with good reason; pain killers often cause constipation), barf bag, nausea medicine, and my mouth guard. I also arranged my chargers’ wires so that they would stay on the desk and not fall off, as I couldn’t be bending and stretching to retrieve them. Then I set up the three-tiered shelf with entertainment and a basket of necessities. The entertainment included a squishy/stress ball, two novels, a comforting daily book, a book of Sudoku puzzles, journals, tiny notebooks (current and from previous years), a pencil bag (containing pens, mechanical pencils, highlighters, sticky tabs, a ruler, and white out tape), markers, colored pencils, a sketch book, magazines, scissors, glue stick, and a large collage journal. The necessities basket contained my hairbrush, hair ties, antibacterial wipes, scented hand sanitizer, lens wipes, Chapstick, Q-tips, pads, hand lotion, deodorant, face wipes, nail clippers, and dry shampoo tissues (which I ended up not needing). Finally, I assembled a hefty bag of snacks. Some of my options were crackers, Harvest Snacks (baked pea or lentil crisps), protein bars, fiber bars, trail mix, popcorn, dry cereal, and a few individually wrapped chocolates. I did not end up eating the crackers; I had a healthy appetite right away. There was also a tiny trashcan and a lap desk/table, both of which I used frequently. I had two pillow wedges for propping up at the ready, but I never used them. This recovery station was supplied a little too generously, but I was so thankful that I lacked for nothing. It kept my calls for assistance to a minimum (food mainly) and helped me feel a bit more independent during a time I was anything but.

Bedside Recovery Station

The day before the surgery, I washed all of my laundry and bedding then folded and put away everything. I rechecked all my supplies and confirmed times with my mom (my driver). I made sure the path from the front door to the bathroom and my bedroom was clear. I knew I’d possibly be staggering around, so I could risk nothing being in my way. I also gave the stairs a final sweep. The night before the surgery, all devices were set to charge while I showered. I washed my hair and scrubbed from the neck down with the special medical wash. No food after 10pm, but I did have a clear Gatorade before bed (doctor’s orders). After one final check that everything was in order, I tried to sleep. That was not a huge success, but that’s to be expected. I was still and let my body rest all the same.

The Elephants by Dalí

Here are this week’s suggestions for fun and enriching activities:

  • Relaxing Music: “Orinoco Flow” by Enya. You can listen to it here or find the album Watermark on Amazon or streaming.
  • Soothing Sounds: Fireside Babble & Sewing at Babblebrook Inn by Goodnight Moon.
  • Puzzle: Sudoku. You can find the game here along with everything you need to know about how to play.
  • Movie: Alice in Wonderland (1951). You can find it on Amazon or on a streaming service.
  • Creative Prompt (write, draw, paint, sculpt, photograph, or collage something based on this subject): key
  • Mythology Lesson: Athena. Read about her here, and do a little further research if the mood takes you!
  • Short Reading: “The Gingerbread Man.” You can read it here, or you can listen to it on YouTube. Not a perfect match, but there are so many versions of this story!

Try one per day or everything every day, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a more vibrant daily round.

*These are Amazon Affiliate links.

Have you ever had a major surgery or help someone who did? How did you prepare?

The Temptation of St. Anthony by Dalí

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