For all your PAO Warriors nearing your surgery date, my best advice is to focus on your family first. If you have children, there are many, many, areas that need to be covered in your absence. Below are some pre-surgery tips. I didn't go crazy, but instead tried to go the minimalist route making sure all the major items were covered:
1. FOCUS ON FAMILY: For starters, if you have children you will need someone to watch them. After caretakers have been secured, then you will need to focus on medical authorization paperwork, forms allowing your primary and secondary caretakers to pick up your kids from school and after care should they go to after care. A household survival guide may also need to be made in the event the caretakers are not family members, but people you trust. This will help them understand the family rules, who is available to call in an emergency, all medical information, and so forth. All important documents were placed in a single folder to include a copy of the emails that were sent to the school and after care. Also, pulling a copy of your will out is important. I know it's something we don't like to talk about, but it's best to cover all basis.
1a. Also, if you are nearing a season change, make sure the appropriate clothing is available to the caregiver or child. You don't want to be in surgery and the temperature suddenly drops and the kids have no jackets or mittens.
1b. As for the medical authorization, you can type up a basic document stating x person has permission to provide x,y.z care for our child in our absence. You can google medical authorization form on the internet for a base example.
1c. Centralize all the medical items in your house that your fill-in caregivers may need while gone. In addition, I created a list of what medications should be given based on the symptoms.
2. HONESTY: While we are on the subject of kids and family, if you have kids be honest with them at their age level. Kids have an amazing propensity to understand early on what's going on. They see you walking around in pain so don't try and hide the obvious from them. They will fair much better when you come home on crutches knowing that you will be coming home on crutches. I'm not saying to divulge all the gory details, they just need to know that Mommy's hip is bad and the doctor is going to fix it.
3. FOOD: Depending on your arrangement with whomever will be watching your kids, plan ahead and make sure there is enough food in the house while you are at the hospital. If you also like to cook, and can manage with you hip, then it might be helpful to your husband and care giver to prepare some meals in advance.
4. YOUR HOSPITAL BAG: The last thing I focused on was my hospital bag. It took me less than an hour to get together. The only items that I actually used out of my bag was my phone, computer, snacks., tea, and go home clothes. I did however bring 2 extra pajama dresses, 2 boxer shorts, 3 different types of pants to go home in along with a shirt. I opted for no underwear. Why spend the extra money when it will likely hurt to have on anyway. Make sure whatever you bring to go home in you buy 2+ sizes bigger. I ended up bloating up 3 sizes and had to wear my PJ pants home. I also brought mints, which were a life saver since I wasn't able to get out of bed for 2 days. As for my beauty bag, I had deodorant, dry hair shampoo, face and body wipes. I actually brought much more than that, but didn't use it. The hospital provided me with a walker which I did use the first week because of how loopy I was with all the drugs.
5. MEDITATION/BIBLE/DEVOTIONALS: It is inevitable, you will get nervous the night before. Whether you are able to stay home or have to travel, make sure you have something with you that can help focus you in a spiritual way. I had a list of my favorite scriptures saved on my phone along with my meditation CD's which helped calm me throughout the night because let's be honest, you're not going to sleep much before the big day. I know I didn't. The CD's helped to keep my mind off the looming surgery. I have stuff downloaded both on my IPOD and phone. You can find many great apps in the store for just a few dollars. I focused on healing, relaxation, and pain apps.
6. DINNER: If possible, try and have a nice dinner with your family and our spouse/significant other or friends depending on your relationship status. Because we had to travel, we went to our favorite restaurant down at Duke. It was a nice chance to have dinner alone with my husband along with a beer. Yes, I had one beer before surgery. It won't kill you.
7. FACEBOOK GROUPS: If you are on any board that discusses the surgery you are about to have, it may be essential for you to not check into that group for awhile. I found the group to be supportive prior to my surgery, but that's because there were 4 of us going during that time frame. However for some, these groups can heighten your anxiety making the pre-surgery days that much worse. Again, this is where it's important to surround yourself with motivational material that keeps your outlook positive.
8. PRE-PAO YOUR HOME: What I mean by that, is when you come home from surgery, your mobility will be limited. Try and think ahead, move items higher if they are too low, test your walker to make sure it can fit through couches and doorways. If not, re-arrange your furniture and practice using your walker or crutches through tight spaces. Move your make-up, hair items, toiletries to a higher draw. Perhaps put a chair in your bedroom if you don't have anywhere to sit so that you may have an extra place to sit and put clothes on with the tools the hospital gives you. If you are on routine medication, refill anything you can before hand. Spend a day pretending that your hip/leg is immobile and adjust your house from there.
10. MEDICATION: Check with your surgeon what medication is safe to take before surgery. I know for myself I had to stop anything ibuprofen based 10 days before surgery. This all is usually covered at the pre-op appointment, but some medication may need to be stopped sooner than 10 days prior. Also, if you are a supplement freak like me, some supplements like turmeric will also have to be stopped since they act like an anti-inflammatory as well.
Like I said, I kept it simple I normally over-prepare for everything in my life and tried to dial it down a notch this time and guess what- it worked out just fine. I will be creating additional blogs that break down what items to buy, what brands I prefer, specific lists for the hospital, etc. I wanted to keep this one general. Stay positive, block the negative out, and remember- those who choose this surgery do so to have their active lifestyle and mobility back!