The Surgeon Becomes the Patient Part IV.
Posted March 27, 2012, 5:16 p.m.
Updated March 28, 2012, 11:31 a.m.
As the date of my surgery approached, I prepared. By that I mean I made arrangements for my kids for the weekend, I checked in with my husband, to remind him that I would be recovering and he would be in charge. I think I remembered to fill my prescriptions. I made plans to take the day after the procedure completely off. I even tried to take the day OF the procedure off, but there was one patient who had really limited time and just had to have her laser resurfacing done that one day. I considered that my own surgery was scheduled for the afternoon anyway, I often worked all morning without eating, so why not keep busy rather than sitting at home, hungry, waiting to have an operation. So I scheduled that patients laser peel for the morning of my own surgery.
I routinely advise patients to take a week off of work after any surgical procedure. I tell them to do nothing during that week except to pay attention to their bodys needs so that they eat as soon as they are hungry, lie down and sleep as soon as they are tired. To most of my patients, this is a foreign concept, taking care of oneself for a whole week! No work or emails or projects. Trust me though, patients need this time. I have learned this from experience as a surgeon. As a patient however, I make a point of following my own physicians recommendations. So I asked him how long I needed to be off work. He appeared perplexed by the question and told me to do what I felt best. I explained that I was trying to be a compliant patient and wanted his instructions. He told me to go back to work when I was ready, but that the compression dressing he was going to put on after the surgery was to stay on for a full 5 days. Hmmmm. I was being open about my procedure, not keeping it a secret. New patients might be put off by meeting me in a surgical dressing with unwashed hair, but my existing patients would understand, would probably be curious about what was going on. I could take Friday (the day after the procedure) off, relax over the weekend (with kids around) and return to work on Monday. Ok, make it the morning only on Monday and then back to full routine on Tuesday. By then I could take off the dressing, wash my hair and meet new consults. Done! Postoperative recovery time planned and prepared for per my Surgeons instructions.
I was ready. Surgical day. No breakfast, no coffee, but that was OK, I had discovered lack of caffeine did not give me headaches, at least until the afternoon by which time I would be under the influence of anesthesia. Having a procedure to do in the office gave me something to focus on other than my preoperative jitters and all went well. My best friend came by the office to drive me to my surgery appointment and I was on my way!