At certain points in all of our lives, it’s more or less inevitable that we will have to undergo various surgical procedures in order to maintain our health and keep our quality of life optimal.
The specific surgical procedures that you go through at any given point in your life will vary substantially based on your specific circumstances. It may be that you will have your tonsils taken out, or your appendix removed, or that you will book yourself in for a vasectomy, or that you may even require a major organ transplant.
In any event, recovering from a surgical procedure is rarely what most people would describe as “fun” or “up-lifting.” Instead, the recovery process tends to be at least somewhat painful, boring, irritating, and disheartening, among other things.
But, whether you are looking at a vasectomy recovery process, or a longer-term and weightier procedure and recovery process, there are certain things you can do in order to smooth the way ahead, and make your time spent convalescing as “positive” as possible.
Here are a few tips for a smooth recovery following a surgical procedure.
Be compassionate with yourself, and create as comfortable an environment as possible for the recovery process
If you ended up going to the hospital for your surgical procedure, only to return home shortly afterward to a completely cluttered, chaotic, messy, and inhospitable environment, it stands to reason that your recovery process is going to be unnecessarily difficult and disheartening.
Instead of approaching things in this careless sort of manner, exercise a bit of self compassion and forward planning, to the greatest extent possible, and try to create as comfortable an environment as possible at home, or for that matter in the hospital room if you are going to be spending some time recovering in the hospital itself.
Among other things, this can mean having some creature comforts waiting for you in your overnight bag, tidying up your home before going in for your procedure and stocking the fridge with tasty morsels, stocking up on your DVD or audio book collection in advance, or any number of other things.
Either way, you want to ensure that the environment you’re going to be in during your recovery phase is as comfortable as possible, and contains enough features that can bring a bit of joy, distraction, and pleasure to your life, as you can realistically manage.
Plan ahead – consult with your specialist, and book enough time off work
Certain procedures – particularly elective procedures – are often packaged as having “no recovery time required” or allowing you to “go straight back to work” the next day. In some cases, this may be true, although in many other cases, you may well find yourself in for a nasty surprise if you have in fact failed to book enough time off work, only to then have to drag your miserable, suffering body into the office and attempt to be productive.
You should plan ahead cautiously, and always err on the side of booking more time off work then you think you’ll likely actually need, for your recovery phase.
You should also consult with your specialist and ask them as many questions as you feel inclined to, regarding the commonly reported experiences of the recovery process, and the potential complications and implications of it. You may, even then, not get an answer that is completely accurate to your own experience – but it’s certainly a place to start.
Recovery is the kind of thing that should happen in a state of more or less complete rest and relaxation – or at least, as close to such a state as you can manage. By trying to juggle too many of your normal everyday responsibilities, while your body is in a weakened state and needs all the resources it can muster to heal, you can directly sabotage the recovery process, and cause it to draw out for significantly longer than it should. You may even contribute to further complications, as a result.
It’s important to note, however, that whatever time you do book off work for the sake of recovery should actually be spent resting and recovering – and shouldn’t be used as a great excuse to do DIY projects around the house, or to go and meet friends in town. Create as much of a peaceful and low-obligation environment and situation for yourself as possible.
Set things up so that there is a light hobby or project you can work on during your recovery, if you feel up to it
While your recovery period should be spent recovering rather than being very active, it may nonetheless be the case that you find the idea of lying around in bed all day, for days at a stretch, extremely boring and stressful.
Feeling emotionally terrible in this way isn’t going to do any favours for your recovery, either. So, in order to offset this potentiality, try to set things up so that there is a light hobby or project you can work on during your recovery period, if you feel up to it. This could be something as simple as listening to lectures on audiobook, drawing some pictures, or cataloguing some stamps for a collection.
The key point is that you should have activities available to you that help to make you feel more engaged and positive, but that don’t cause an excessive amount of exertion, at the same time.
Try to arrange to have family or friends around you on a regular basis, during your recovery period
Longer recovery processes, in particular, can often be quite stressful, and can lead to very difficult feelings of social alienation, if you’re not able to resume your normal everyday life and routines in a hurry.
Of course, though, Regular social interaction with friends and family is essential for proper emotional regulation, and for enjoying a sense of well-being, in general.
Try to arrange to have family or friends around you on a regular basis, during your recovery period. This could mean inviting people over to watch movies with you at your house while you’re still convalescing, or it could even mean inviting someone you’re particularly close with to spend weekends living with you.
However you manage it, having your loved ones around you will certainly help to promote a smoother recovery process.