Having experienced four major surgeries, I know how many things can go wrong in a hospital – and how traumatic the experience can be, leading to poor healing and even PTSD. I encourage you readers to take this article seriously, for it could save your life (or that of a loved one), help you avoid terrible mistakes while hospitalized, and help ensure you have a truly healing experience.
1. To truly stay safe, knowledge and careful preparation are vital when you’re planning for a medical procedure, hospitalization, or surgery. This will increase your confidence, relieve anxiety, heighten your safety, reduce stress, strengthen your immune system, and can prevent any number of mistakes.
2. Plan to be a pro-active part of your health team, not a passive participant.
3. Expect to get well and commit to doing all you can before any medical procedure to strengthen your immune system, body, and positive state of mind.
4. Get a second or even third opinion of your diagnosis and treatment options. You need to be totally informed of your choices before committing to any surgery, medical treatment, including chemo or radiation. Go online and do your own research as well.
5. Choose the least invasive treatment possible. Don’t let anyone talk you into a surgery or procedure you may not need! You’re in charge here: use your power.
6. At least a few days before your surgery/procedure/hospitalization, sign your medical consent forms. Double check them for accuracy! It’s good to have a friend read them as well. Mistakes are common here: if I’d not checked mine in one occasion, I’d have lost several very healthy organs. Remember: you CAN change your mind and NOT go through your surgery/treatment, even at the last minute! It’s your body, remember.
7. See a Hypnotherapist several times before your surgery or procedure. Hypnosis can relieve your fears, create deep relaxation, increase confidence, help prevent complications and side effects, strengthen your immune system, reduce bleeding and pain, and in general keep you in a state of peace during and after your medical experience. You’ll receive a recording that’ll rehearse your upcoming procedure/surgery, which will increase your ability to relax plus program your mind to heal faster afterwards. With your doctor’s help, your Hypnotherapist can add any specific medical needs into your recording.
8. Before your procedure/surgery, double check with your insurance carrier to ensure exactly what your insurance covers, so you’ll avoid any nasty unexpected bills.
9. Be sure your surgeon or doctor will be available both immediately after your procedure, and the days following. If they’re not available, find out who will be. You don’t want to be without their help if you have an emergency!
10. Food or drug allergies/intolerances: Double check all meds and food given you at all times! It’s common for hospitals to make mistakes. If hospitalized, be sure you have a wristband and a placard over your bed stating your special needs besides being written on your chart!
11. Take a loved one with you, if you’ll be hospitalized. This will increase your safety, confidence and sense of well being. Some hospitals will allow them to sleep in your room, with prior arrangement. You need a patient advocate with you! At least ask them to stay with you in your room the first few days after surgery.
12.Keep your call buzzer always near at hand! Attach it to the bed frame with a piece of tape or wind it around the frame. Don’t leave your bed without a helper after surgery; if you move into a chair take your buzzer with you. You could need it in an emergency.
13. Speak out to ask for what you need, and to complain. Don’t let anyone bully you or be rude to you, not even a doctor! If this happens, report it immediately to a Patient Advocate or the head of nursing. Studies show that outspoken patients heal much faster than silent ones.
14. Get permission ahead of time to bring in a CD player or headphones/cellphone with quiet, healing music to play during your surgery or procedure. This will speed your healing and keep your relaxed.
15. Be sure everyone, including guests, wash their hands before they touch you; be sure they put on fresh gloves – even your doctor.
16. Know the pain meds you’ll be on during and after your procedure/surgery; make sure it’s one you’re not allergic to. Morphine doesn’t work to kill pain for about 15% of patients; I was one of these, and suffered horribly till a doctor finally believed me that the morphine wasn’t killing my pain, and changed my pain meds.
17. Be in top physical shape before your procedure/surgery. Eat wisely, take your supplements, and exercise so you’ll heal rapidly after.
18. Leave your jewelry home, especially piercings. They can get lost and interfere with healing.
19. Expect all to go well! Talk to God, Divine Spirit, your Angels, Guides, your Higher Power and ask for protection and speedy healing both before and after your surgery or procedure. Picture yourself healthy and happy after this experience.
20. Ask someone on your healing team to repeat several times before, during and after your surgery or procedure: “You will heal rapidly and perfectly after your _______”
Add special requests like, “You’ll be free of nausea and pain, and will stay relaxed and calm throughout your healing process.”
If you follow these suggestions, you’ll be happy you did! And far healthier.