How to Prepare for a Major Surgery When You’re An Adult

by Crystal Carder
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Last week, my father is underwent a major surgery. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried, but somehow we got through it.

So, how exactly should you prepare when you’re getting ready for major surgery? If you ever find yourself in this position, here are some tips on what you should do.

Preparing for Surgery as an Adult
Fill out FMLA Paperwork at work. When a loved one is having a major surgery, if you need to be off with them, law actually permits you can be and still keep your job. Have the doctor performing the surgery fill out the paperwork and be sure to turn it in on time. FMLA paperwork only covers certain relatives, so it won’t cover friends or your 3rd cousin’s daughter’s kid. (Check with your local laws to find out more).

Learn about the surgery and what happens afterwards. If you’re going to be the caregiver for the next few days or weeks, you need to know what your loved one is having done. Look over pre-surgery instructions and, if you have them, look over post-op instructions. You need to know whether or not someone needs to be there during the surgery, if and when your loved one can drive again and how long the recovery will take.

Prepare for the hospital stay according. While your loved one may be wearing nothing but hospital gowns for their duration of the stay, you will need to know whether or not you will be staying at the hospital, home or hotel. If you want to stay at the hospital, I suggest checking with your hospital for rules, because some hospitals actually don’t allow this. Other hospitals, will prepare according if they know a loved one wants to stay.

Prepare financially. More than likely, if your loved one is having major surgery and you have to be there, FMLA will not guarantee that your work pays for your time off. Some companies will, but most of the time, you have to take that time off without pay. So, prepare as much in advanced so you can live on a lower income. If you have no time to prepare, or a hard time making ends meet, check with your loan lenders on their hardship policy. Most banks have something in place, so that if you get laid off or are having a hardship, you can skip a payment. *Hardship policies will vary from location and may only be good one time. Please read all details and talk to your hardship manager at the bank. 

Enlist help. While I know you would love to be superwoman or superman and do it all, sometimes that’s just not possible. Be sure to let someone know what’s going on and have help on standby if you do need it. Chances are, if you have pets and are planning a long hospital stay, someone will have to watch them.

Plan Advanced Directives (AD). More than likely, the hospital will ask if you have anything in place just in case something goes wrong. Make sure you and your loved one goes over what he/she wants to happen if the unimaginable happens. Do they want life support, CPR, blood….?

Lastly, don’t try to talk them out of surgery. While there are some surgeries that your loved one may have to have, there are some that you may feel your loved one doesn’t need. Remember, your loved one has made their choice, don’t criticize them for it. If your loved one wants to have a hysterectomy because of their long history family history of cervical cancer, be supportive. The decision is already hard enough, they shouldn’t have to fight with someone about it.

What are some ways you’ve prepared for surgery?


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