As part of my preparation for hernia surgery, I watched a number of YouTube videos which helped very much ally my fears.
So to chip in to others who will undergo this ordeal, I want to share my ‘lessons learned”. This post is aimed at people who, like me, may be absolutely terrified of going under the knife.
Just for the records, I have a bilateral repair with 3 tears and two meshes inserted by keyhole surgery.
- Don’t dither about having the surgery. There is no other way to fix a hernia. Do it. Putting it off for a few weeks/months make no sense whatsoever.
- It’s been a week now, and my major take away is that it is not all that bad. Is it a walk in the park? No. It hurts, but by far the worst part was the fear in my mind, which was of my own making.
- Don’t google and read about hernia surgery. There are many good sites, with lots of information, but very little is relevant. Having googled “hernia surgery” 3 weeks before my operation, I feared being denied surgery due to white coat hypertension, vomiting after waking up, severe constipation, inability to pee, inability to think straight for a few hours, severe abdominal pain, infection, sore groin pain and horrendous fatigue. None of this happened. Zero. The worst suffering I had came from too much information before the procedure.
- The night before the surgery is tough. Do breathing exercises, take a sleeping pill, and roll with the punch. The night before is a son of a bitch.
- Being rolled into the operating room is also tough. The few minutes you are still awake seems like an eternity. I counted backwards (in French) from 100 and never reached 70. I also closed my eyes.
- If your blood pressure is normal at home (mine is 129/71), don’t worry about the count prior to the operation. It’s their job, not yours, to get your BP under control. (My BP was 190/100 when I checked in!)
- In the half day that you stay in the hospital for surveillance, talk to the people around who are suffering more than you.
- Don’t be brave if it hurts. Tell the staff and they will help you. That’s why they are there.
- When you leave the hospital, focus on anything else except the pain. The pain is there, but it is bearable. Divert your thoughts.
- And good luck-if I did it with my preoperative anxiety level, anyone can.
It’s a week now. I’m driving, I have been to the beach, and I have walked one km a day since day two, each day adding on one kilometer.
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