“Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”
Think about it. The preseason of any sport is never as exciting as the season itself. When a favorite television show is shooting a new season, no one gets as excited for that as they do when the new episodes finally air. I mean, I was chomping at the bit for the season premiere of Mad Men last night (finally!) and I was not disappointed! But all the prep that went into a spectacular 2 hour program? I never saw any real news about it, never heard anything of note regarding it, and didn’t hear anything of it until a couple of days ago.
I am discovering that my preparation for surgery is about like that. So far I have felt like I have jumped through multiple hoops to get to the place I am now–the insurance company has a way of making you feel that way, for sure. Now that it is going on the second week of April, and I am anticipating a surgery date during the second week of June, I am beginning to think about all the prep that I’ve done so far, and the prep I have yet to do.
The formal prep for bariatric surgery includes things like:
- a seminar with your surgeon of choice.
- a surgical consult with said surgeon.
- a sleep study. Not everybody has to do this, but my surgeon required me to so that sleep apnea could be ruled out (it wasn’t).
- a psychological pre-surgery evaluation. I passed.
- testing out various protein supplements, like drinks, powders, and bars. Haven’t really found ones I like yet. Thankfully I will only be on a liquid diet a short time!
- a pre-op diet. This will happen closer to the date of surgery.
- any medical testing that must be done, like blood work, endoscopies and cardiac function tests (if needed). I have yet to determine what needs to be done, as my last labs were in January with my PCP, but I am sure my surgeon will want baseline labs done prior to surgery.
- financial preparations to ensure that the bills can get paid on time and that the funds are there to make this happen. Check!
- double checking insurance coverage to determine if deductibles have been met and what the co-pays for surgery are. I met my deductible back in February and am slowly chipping away at that out of pocket max. YES!
Then there is the unspoken prep that must happen that includes things like:
- in my case, drawing up a will. I don’t have one and refuse to enter major surgery without one. This should have been done long ago anyhow, so as to avoid the pain of someday putting my husband and family through probate.
- informing supervisors of summer work I am involved in about my upcoming absence from any meetings that will take place during my immediate recovery. Summers are really a very busy time for me as a teacher, as I attend curriculum meetings, professional development meetings, go to conferences and work on school stuff throughout the summer. I challenge anyone to say the phrase “It must be nice to have the summer off” around me without hearing a string of obscenities flow forth from my lips afterward.
- finding out what I can take with me to the hospital for my stay.
- finding out how long said stay is.
- giving the house a thorough cleaning from top to bottom since I won’t be able to bend and twist to do it during those first few days post-surgery.
- going through the fridge, freezer and pantry to toss or donate that which can be donated. I don’t want to keep things in the house that will make it tough for me to be successful with my new stomach, so this means a lot of things will get tossed out in favor of high-protein, low-carb foods.
- meeting with the nutritionist. I’ve got her number, just need to call and make an appointment to meet with her to discuss what I should be doing now to get ready for surgery.
- setting reasonable and achievable goals. No one ever talks about this one, but goal setting is critically important if success is going to happen. Without a goal in mind, success will be evasive at best.
None of this prep is spectacularly interesting, but it bears mentioning because there is so much more that goes into getting ready for such a large life change than people realize. And I am sure that there are things I should be preparing for beyond my surgery date, but one can only have so much foresight, right?