Preparing for a medical procedure can be daunting, and it can be even more overwhelming and frustrating if you are single with surgery on the horizon. But, we’ve done a little leg work to make it just a little bit easier for anyone going solo into surgery.
First and foremost, no matter how fiercely independent you are, your doctor will require you to have someone drive you home after surgery. We have all seen those adorable videos of little kids after dental visits. It’s cute on a toddler, but that kid doesn’t have to operate a motor vehicle to get home. You will need someone you actually know and depend on to pick you up. For anyone new in town, finding someone who can fit that bill may be an even more stressful task than getting the surgery itself. And before you ask…an Uber driver does not count. So, if you can’t find a work colleague, a friend, or a neighbor who can serve as a trusted chauffeur, here are a few options:
CareHop was founded by Jodi Withers, LVN, a licensed nurse with 22 years’ experience in Austin. Rates are hourly or by appointment. Aside from medical transport, CareHop also offers at-home care and pharmacy pick-up.
Amera Solutions offers ambulatory outpatient transportation. The drivers have CPR training, First Aid training, and they’ve been through a background check. Additionally, they offer CNA/Professional Medical Attendants to stay with you after the procedure if you prefer. According to Amera Solution’s site, you will have direct communication with a surgical nurse’s station.
When you come home from surgery, the last thing you are going to want to do is anything that involves running errands. For that reason, you want to make sure that you already have a plan in place for sustenance, medicine, and pet care.
Post-Surgical Meal Preparation
Before you have surgery, you want to make sure you have whatever you need to eat or drink already planned out. There are a few options to help make the meal prep process a stress free one. As you plan out your meals, be sure to opt for low sodium (reduces swelling) and high protein options. Protein shakes or Ensure are good if you can’t eat solid foods, as well. It also helps to start taking a multivitamin and vitamin C supplements 1 month prior to surgery.
You can choose up to three meals a day, pick from a variety of dietary meal plans, and pop these fully prepared meals into the microwave or oven. You can choose a plan for 3 days, 5 days, or up to 7 days, and you can cancel at anytime. So, if you only need it until you are fully recovered from surgery, the convenience may make the already reasonable prices all the more appetizing. To learn more, visit their site.
Freshly is another meal delivery service that offers fully prepared meals. You can choose from over 30 different gluten-free options. Once they are delivered to your door, you can warm up your freshly made food (never frozen) and feast away within 3 minutes. To learn more, visit their site, but be warned…you may get hungry!
This meal delivery service boasts an array of superfoods. You can choose from weekly or monthly deliveries. If you are looking at more of a liquid or soft food diet in the initial stages of your recovery, this may be the way to go. They offer smoothies, soups, parfaits, and sundaes. And, when you are ready to graduate to slightly more solid portions, their harvest bowls offer a variety of healthy options to tempt your taste buds.
With all of your pre-surgical preparation, going to the grocery store and weaving through the masses for your toiletries at one end of the store and your groceries on the opposite end may seem as inviting as stepping on a hornet’s nest. Instead, you can opt to shop from the comfort of your own sofa. Instacart visits pharmacies, grocery stores, and even pet stores. The stores available to you vary according to zip code, but include favorites like Whole Foods, Central Market, HEB, Petco, CVS, and Randall’s. So, you can essentially have everything you need delivered right to your door. Again, availability and store selection does depend on your zip code. Visit their site for more information.
HEB Curbside/Home Delivery
If you are one of those super impressive, fully organized people, you can order your groceries on HEB’s website and pick them up curbside a few days before your surgery. However, if you are like me, you will probably be distracted by all of the other tasks you need to accomplish before taking off for surgery, ultimately resulting in neglecting to stock your fridge in a timelier manner. Do not fear! In select locations, HEB will also deliver straight to your door. Takes some of the pressure off, right? To see what curbside and delivery options your local HEB offers, visit HEB online.
We all love our furry friends, and you will want to know they are properly cared for during your recovery. That might mean staying home with you, or it might mean staying elsewhere if your pet tends be a jumper. Depending on what kind of surgery you have had done, that may not be an ideal situation. So, boarding might be the answer. Still, for those who would rather keep their fur babies close at hand, there are options to streamline that process, as well.
Wag is perhaps most well known for its dog walking service, but they also offer boarding. So, as you heal, you might opt to have them take your pooch for a walk, or board him/her until you are more firmly back on your feet. Wag also usually has a special offer going on where your dog’s first walk is free! To find out more about the services Wag can offer, check out their site.
Pawstin, and Austin based company, offers dog walking services, and was created by a dog loving duo. You can choose from a single service walk, set up a weekly schedule, and even set up weekend walks if need be. Pawstin offers PetCheck technology, so you can get regular updates on your dog’s walk, including his/her GPS location. To learn more, visit Pawstin online.
Austin has a bevy of boarding options for your dogs. So for this recommendation, I reached out to my dog loving friends. The resounding choice was Taurus Academy. With multiple locations around Austin, Taurus is very accessible. In fact, for those living near the Lake Travis or Lamar locations, clients can even request transportation services in an airconditioned coach for their pups. On top of that, the dogs have scheduled play time with other dogs and climate controlled kennels for the duration of their stay. Visit Taurus’ site to find out more!
If you own cats or a calm dog unlikely to require a lot of energy from you during your recovery, you may opt to keep your pets at home. Since you will most likely be taking pain medication which may put you to sleep, you can ensure your pet’s feeding schedule goes unaffected by investing in auto-feeders.
Personally, I really like this one. You can program 3 separate meal times, and you can control the portion the feeder doles out to your pet. It is also pretty hilarious to watch your pet suddenly bolt through the house when they hear the feeder release the food at meal time.
As the weather gets warmer, our pets tend to increase their water intake, so for that reason, having an auto-water feeder can also be a great investment, especially with your post-anesthesia addled brain; your pets won’t need you to refill the bowl. You can opt for the reservoir style or a flowing water fountain (cats love this one).
If at all possible, get your doctor to provide your prescription list to you before surgery. You will want to have all of those prescriptions picked up prior to your surgical date. Since a lot of your prescriptions will be controlled substance, you will be required to be the one that picks them up. Do not depend on a delivery service for your prescriptions. It will be very important that you get all of your medicine before your surgical date. In fact, I highly recommend that you also pre-sort your doses in a pill box so that you do not have to calculate the last time you took a pill. When pain medication is in the mix, you do not want to miscalculate since both overdosing and under dosing come with their own risks. Keep your pre-sorted pills on your bedside table so you can rest as much as possible.
Finally, you want to make sure that you have a fully charged cell phone within reach. It is important that you have quick, easy access to medical care professionals in the event that you have postoperative complications. And, on a less serious note, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a silly Facetime talk with faraway friends and loved ones once you are alert enough to enjoy it? If you don’t already have a good cell phone charging set up within bedside reach, Target offers several great options in a variety of styles and price points.
With any luck, these hacks for flying solo through your surgical experience will make matters a lot less stressful. If you have any other tips or tricks, comment below! It is our goal to make sure all of our patients have the best surgical experience possible. When you leave the surgery center, it’s our sincere wish that you just Netflix and heal.