Prime Cut

Glenn Wollman

In the future, medical science may eliminate the need for surgery. However, we happen to exist in the present and surgery is still a very important treatment modality for various human conditions. My guess is that many of you will have one or more surgical procedures in your lifetime.

Surgery is a team effort. The surgical team does its part in preparing through education and training. But how are you preparing?

I would like to offer some choice tips. Knowing that each person and situation is unique, variations would be in order.

There are three general situations when a surgical intervention could occur.

The first is Emergency Surgery. This might occur because of an accident or because a body part, such as an appendix or a blood vessel, bursts. There is not much time for preparation other than trying to be in the best physical, mental and spiritual condition at all times. (In actuality, this applies to all three situations.) I would also suggest speaking with your doctor for input regarding a plan in case of an emergency. It is a good idea to have some access to your medical records at all times.

The second is Elective, Non-Essential Surgery. Things that are neither life nor limb, nor sight threatening. An example of this would be a cosmetic surgery. Before making the choice to have the surgery, look at your options, your motives and your consciousness. If they are not clear, then avoid the surgery. Don’t get me wrong. I love surgery. I did my post-medical school training in surgery. I have gone “under the knife” many times and each resulted in a near-perfect outcome. It is just that when your body is exposed to a surgical procedure, there is always a Yin and a Yang. It may be perfect or there may be side effects or unexpected results. If you choose to go ahead, then follow the suggestions of the third surgical situation.

The third is Elective, Essential Surgery. Everything else falls into this category.

Pre-op (before the surgery):

1. Gather knowledge: Understand why you are having the procedure, what will happen during the procedure, and how you and your life will be altered after the procedure.

2. Define communication channels with your surgeon, primary care specialist and the anesthesiologist. This will help to eliminate fear. Discuss your fears regarding the surgery.

3. Make sure medications and post-op prescriptions (pain, nausea, etc.) are filled and ready before you have the surgery.

4. Prepare your home for recovery (including a way to get to and from the surgical facility). You may need a surgical bed, a special toilet or shower, crutches or other medical supplies. If you live alone, set up some visits from friends and family to make sure you are okay. If you are in a relationship, make sure the caregiver will be able to assist you in recovery – and also make sure the caregiver can take some time out for themselves.

5. Nutrition. If you are able to, begin to go to a softer, more liquid (blended) diet a few days before the surgery. Make sure that it is still balanced with macro and micro nutrients. Stock up on the dietary delights that will serve you best for recovery. Avoid dairy products for at least a day or two after general anesthesia.

6. Follow all the instructions of the doctor and the hospital.

7. Mantra. This is optional but it has worked for me and all of my clients. Once you decide to have the surgery, begin to focus your mind in a positive manner. Do this at least once or twice a day and do it immediately whenever negative thoughts or fears come into your mind. It can be spoken and/or visualized. For example:
_I am ready for surgery and my body is receptive. The Surgical team is ready and will be skillful. The surgery will be perfect . The healing and recovery will be perfect._

Please use this as a template and feel free to elaborate. I personally picture the intravenous line going into my body, the medications entering, the actual surgery, and more.

8. It is always a good idea to consider your Prime Directive*, a legal will, and the possibility of organ donation.

9. Peri-Operative. This is the time that starts moments before you lose alert consciousness; it continues during the whole procedure and ends when you are first become aware that the surgery is over. Again, this has worked for me and all of my clients.

The last thing you do before you go “under” is SMILE. You may start with your mouth and face but make it an entire body, mind and spirit smile.

The first thing you do when you are aware that the surgery is over, before you say a word, is SMILE. That way your entire procedure will have been surrounded, sandwiched or bookended by a SMILE – and what could be better?

10. Post-operative. This starts when the surgery is over and you are in recovery. It may include a hospital stay or you may be home after an out-patient procedure.

You probably received medications for anesthesia and to help you relax. Begin breathing exercises such as the Meta4Square Breath to help detoxify your body. It will also help to prevent complications such as pneumonia.

11. Honor the fact that you just had SURGERY. Give yourself a longer time to heal than your doctor gives you. Use your normal state of health, medications, age and healing abilities to assess the time line. Just as a rule of thumb and assuming all things are good and normal, triple the time. If the doctor says two days, consider six days, two weeks, six weeks, two months. Do the math.

12. While recovering and healing, spend time evaluating all aspects of your life that may have been part of the cause: weight, diet, stresses, physical activity, etc. and change those aspects that do not serve you well.

By following these simple tips, it may help to ensure that your next surgical procedure will be a PRIME CUT!

*Prime Directive – Indicate your wishes should you have a cardiopulmonary arrest or go in to a vegetative state. This should be on record with your family and your doctor.

Stay tuned for the next blog covering other aspects of my Magical Medical Tour:

  • Glenn’s latest CD, Sleep Suite, is now available online. For questions or to visit Dr. Glenn Wollman’s web site, connect with him through YogaHub.
  • [tags]Emergency Surgery, medical records, medical science, Prime Directive, Surgery, surgical procedures, surgical team, tips after surgery, tips before surgery, tips for surgery, Yin and a Yang[/tags]

    Author: Glenn Wollman

    Glenn Wollman, MD, has always been at the leading edge of medicine. He helped pioneer the specialty of Emergency Medicine and, at the same time, also developed and ran one of the first hospital-based Integrative Medicine programs in the Unitied…

    6 Responses to “Prime Cut”

    1. Meg says:

      Very helpful, thanks! I am sending this one on to a friend preparing for surgery.

    2. Bob Gayou says:

      Excellent. I am a practicing physician, not a surgeon, and very “western” in my approach. Nevertheless, I think this is an ideal outline of how to prepare yourself for surgery. By whatever name, the power of our mind over our body is potent medicine.

    3. gr8fulwmn says:

      Fantastic. This will put a lot of people at ease during one of the most traumatic moments of their lives. Why arent at least some of these tools given to patients before their surgery?

    4. Brooke Porcelli says:

      Thank you Dr. Glen for this useful information. I really appreciate your discussion on “Honoring” recovery time from surgery- to take even more time than the doctor prescribes – essentially to reflect on why you ended in up in surgery in the first place. This applies to my laparoscopy that I had last year. It forced me to “realize” all that brought me to that point, thank you for the reminder. We often forget. -Brooke

    5. Tracey says:

      Wonderful article that I will refer to several friends. Personally, I especially enjoyed the “permission” to give ourselves longer to heal. I tend to become competitive with the doctor’s estimate…thinking that I should heal even faster to prove I am somehow “better”. Your advice to triple the time is really brilliant and freeing. Thanks so much…love your articles!

    6. Dennis DeMarco says:

      This article is very thorough in covering every aspect of surgery and should be followed by everyone who is going “under the knife”.

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