The Long Wait for Your Surgery Date

8 Things You Should Do While You Wait

Calendar with days crossed off.
Jeffrey Coolidge/The Image Bank/Getty Images

It is not uncommon for arthritis patients to have a long wait prior to a scheduled joint replacement surgery. The wait can be even longer for people in countries other than the United States. The long wait can be difficult as pain and disability worsens. Unfortunately, the long wait is a given. But, if there is a bright side, the long wait allows you to prepare for the surgical procedure and recuperative period.

Use the Time Effectively

1 - Learn about what you can expect before, during, and after surgery.

Knowledge is power. You will feel more settled and more relaxed at the time of surgery if you know what to expect. Make a list of questions and find the answers from quality resources online. If you can't find the answers, you still have time to ask your surgeon. You should not have any unanswered questions by the time of surgery.

2 - Prepare your environment.

Do you have food stocked in the house so that getting groceries won't be a problem? Will you need adaptive equipment, such as mobility aids, that you haven't yet purchased or arranged? Anticipate all that you will need in your home environment after you come home to recuperate. Pre-plan and prepare as much as possible.

3 - Prepare yourself mentally.

No one is happy about needing surgery. A difficult recuperation lies ahead of you. But, you can prepare mentally by focusing on the goal.

The goal to heal and get well -- more specifically, to reduce pain and increase physical function. Project ahead in your mind to the healing phase. Never take your eye off the goal.

4 - Arrange help if you will need it.

Have you anticipated what help you may need when you return home to recuperate? Has your doctor arranged for home health care?

Have you discussed with family and friends what help you may need from them? You will likely find that people are happy to help, but they need to have a plan so they know what to expect. Your helpers will appreciate having time to prepare and clear their schedule, if necessary.

5 - Anticipate what normally happens during the time frame you will be recuperating.

Are there activities or projects that will take place during the time you are recovering? Do as much as you can before you have surgery. For example, select and send out greeting cards a little early. Do some shopping online. You'll be glad you didn't overlook some of the little things.

6 - Practice your post-op exercises or gait training.

Has it been a period of time since you've used your walker or crutches? If you know the proper use of crutches or a walker, dust them off and practice a little before you have the additional post-op pain. If you've never used crutches or a walker, wait until after surgery, when your physical therapist can instruct you properly.

7- Don't forget to pamper yourself a bit.

Surgery is stressful. Do things you find relaxing in the weeks and days prior to surgery, so that you will start your recuperation with positive energy.

8- Anticipate how your recovery will impact your daily routine.

The important thing is to anticipate how you live your life normally and anticipate how your recovery from surgery will impact your normal routine. Any adjustments or preparations which can be done prior to surgery will surely make the process easier.

Continue Reading