Circle of Care: How to prepare for surgery

By Chris Cameron

Preparing for surgery? Over the years of our existence, Circle of Care’s volunteer staff is frequently asked for assistance after a resident has had surgery such as a knee or hip replacement, eye surgery, etc. Our community seems to be wearing out numerous body parts, some of which, fortunately, can be replaced with “bionic” parts!

We are often contacted by a family member who is concerned about their time or ability to adequately care for the recovering patient. Circle of Care is happy to arrange for rides to appointments, deliver meals, ice, groceries or other supplies, and provide durable medical equipment such as knee scooters, shower chairs, elevated toilet seats, etc. If you are currently in need or anticipate a need for medical equipment, please contact us before you purchase or rent elsewhere. All our equipment is loaned at no charge and we have quite a stock of different items. If you have any of this sort of equipment languishing in your garage or shed, please dust it off, wipe it down and arrange for us to collect it so that we can loan it to others.

Since elective surgery is generally scheduled at least a month out, it is wise to employ some clinically researched ways of improving your overall general health and, specifically, the health of your immune system prior to your admission. Studies show that patients who make certain dietary changes, exercise, improve their lung function and use antiseptic soap in the days prior to surgery have shorter hospital stays, significantly fewer hospital re-admissions and half the rate of overall complications.

In one study led by Indiana University Health, patients who were given a bag containing an incentive spirometer (the little plastic gadget that you blow into to try to raise the plastic ball to the top of the column), a pedometer, antiseptic soap and a supply of Impact Advanced Recovery (a prescription supplement containing megadoses of arginine, omega-3 essential fatty acids and nucleotides) experienced better surgical post-operative recovery.

This means that in the weeks prior to surgery your physician may encourage you to give your immune system all the nutrients it needs to be strong and responsive and eliminate those foods that are inflammatory.

Bottom line – eat sufficient amounts of meat, fish and shellfish (vegans can substitute pumpkin seeds, soybeans and peanuts) and avoid sugars and foods that you know cause issues for you. In the days leading up to your surgery, make sure to get plenty of fresh air, exercise and use antibiotic soap. Be sure to check with your physician and follow their pre-op instructions carefully.

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