I promise that I’ll lay off the medical stuff as soon as my steri-strips come off (which should be in the next few days!), but until I can go a whole day without screaming because a cat stepped on my incisions, you’re stuck with post-surgery me.
This list is less of a practical guide for after surgery needs and slightly more tongue in cheek, although if you find any of this useful, well great! What a happy surprise!
Two surgeries in two months have gotten me into a bit of a routine (which all you Neurodivergent folks know can be kind of dangerous), and without further ado, here are my post-surgical necessities.
1. Pancakes: One of the suckiest things about surgery is that you can’t eat or drink anything after midnight the day of. Now, I can handle the no fluids things pretty well, but I get seriously crabby when I’m hungry. Especially on days when my surgery is scheduled for 11 am, and I have to spend the whole morning with my stomach doing hungry backflips. It was after this incident that my wife made a deal. I make it through surgery, and we go and get pancakes afterwards. I love pancakes enough that this is enough incentive for me to get through the hunger pains with only minor bitching. On top of being a good bribe, pancakes are carb-y and syrupy, and if you add in some eggs, you could even call it a well-balanced meal. All I care about is the deliciousness though.
2. Stuffed Animals: It is a tradition in my family that after surgery, I get a new stuffed animal. This started about 8 years ago when I had urinary tract surgery. My mother-in-law bought me a stuffed tiger that I named Hobbes. To this day, I sleep with him every night, and the rest I suppose, is history. A stuffed animal is necessary for me, because when I’m exhausted and in pain, all I want is something soft to snuggle. And I think that they’re a great visual representation of the surgery, instead of just remembering the pain and the scars. Luckily I don’t have surgery that often, or I’d have a zoo!
3. A Movie Marathon: Post surgery sucks. Everything hurts, and thanks to leftover anesthesia and pain meds, I don’t have the mental energy to do things like read or knit. But my brain still needs some stimulation, and this is where having a to-watch plan comes in. I use the word movie marathon, which totally works- Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings all work great for this. TV shows do too. X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are two of my favorites. For me, I just need to make sure I’ve got at least 72 hours with of stuff to watch, otherwise, I’ll just watch Moana on repeat like last time (which isn’t bad, but it means I’ve got You’re Welcome stuck in my head for weeks.)
4. Ice. All the Ice: This is the most practical one. Not only does ice make things feel all icy and numb, but it confuses your nerves so at least if you’re in pain, it’s because your skin is freezing, not the giant gash on your leg. We’re in possession of several of these, that we rotate through the freezer, and are a thousand times better than the contraptions that they send you home from the hospital with. These things require you to fill them with a ton of actual ice- which I don’t know about you, but my freezer doesn’t have enough room to make, and while they insist that they seal waterproof, that is a lie. And the last thing that you want when you’re taking a restorative nap is to have ice cascade down your chest. Believe me, I’ve suffered enough for all of us.
5. Pets: There is nothing better than a snuggly animal when you feel like crap. Both of my cats seem to be able to know when I’m under the weather. Spike in particular zeros in on any trace of blood, and seems to think that it’s his job to eradicate it. Which is not sanitary at all. But does he listen? No. Angel hovers. No matter where I am, he’s within about 4 feet of me. If given the opportunity, he’ll spend all of his time gently patting me with his paw, which he seems convinced is helpful. They both try, they really do. However, there is nothing like taking a nap with a warm cat on your chest, and the most healing thing post-surgery plenty of naps.
So here we are. Hopefully at the end of my surgery road, and moving on to topics unknown! If you’ve had surgery, and have any post-surgery must-haves, let me know! (although I’m hoping that I’ll never need it).