If you know you are having ostomy surgery, there are ways you can prepare ahead of time. Doing some of the prep work prior makes for a shorter admission period, allows you to feel and heal quicker, and makes for an easier transition back to your regular life.
Before surgery, you’ll most likely have a few appointments with the doctors, nurses, and surgeons involved in giving you your ostomy. Make the most of these appointments by asking questions – whether it be about what surgery will be like or what life will be like outside of the hospital with your ostomy.
Prepare Your Supplies
Get an idea of what you might like to “dress” your stoma in before you ever even have one! You will find that many ostomy supply companies will provide free samples. Getting these samples before surgery will give you an idea of what you may want to use. You can even bring these to the hospital to try out. If you find something that works well for you, you will be able to order these pouches or flanges before you ever even leave the hospital! That way, you’ll have supplies when you head home.
Prepare Your Body
You are probably preparing for ostomy surgery because you have an illness that an ostomy may assist with. Even though you are working towards the ultimate goal of improved health, there are things you can do prior to surgery to help your body get through the process! Eating a well-balanced diet approved by your physician, staying hydrated, exercising as your body allows you, and getting enough sleep at night will help your body be in optimal shape for surgery. Healing is hard work!
Prepare Your Mind
Mentally preparing yourself is easier said than done. There are a few things to keep in mind when planning for surgery. Know that those first few bag changes you do after surgery will not be perfect. It takes practice and patience to make a flange stick, and with time you will gain that skill!
Prepare Your Home
Having the space where you will do a majority of your recovery ready for your arrival is a key aspect to healing. Have your bed or sleeping area prepared with fresh linens. Ensuring you’ll be able to access that area is also important. If you will not be able to make it up stairs after surgery, ensure there is an area for you to rest downstairs. Having meals ready to go is also a great idea! Gentle meals that have been approved by your doctor are always nice to have at hand, so you won’t be struggling to nourish yourself after surgery.
By preparing in the previously mentioned ways, you are assisting yourself in the healing process. Surgery is not easy for anyone, but these steps can improve your outcome!
- – Maggie Baldwin, Patients’ Champion Coordinator