prepare for an unexpected surgery

Things You Can Do Now to Prepare for an Unexpected Surgery

What to do now to prepare for an unexpected surgery

Well, it hit us pretty hard. That glaring moment when you realize you or someone you love needs to prepare for an unexpected surgery.

And not just routine surgery. But surgery will take 6 months to heal before they can go back to work. And in our case, it was my hubby. The primary breadwinner of the household. Someone who has never been sick a day in his life. And who has only had one very minor surgery? So, here we go…

For those of you who are regular members (you can sign up below), you know that all I do is plan and organize, particularly when we prepare for an unexpected surgery.

It is in my blood. But nothing prepares you for, “Oh, by the way, honey, the doctor says I need rotator cuff surgery for an almost completely torn tendon in my left shoulder. Oh, and I will be off work for 6 months!”. SIX MONTHS!!! Time for a solid plan. And, we had only a week to do it. So here goes…

It started back just after July 4th of this year. Hubby had just mowed the lawn and decided to eat and then take a shower. It was 90 degrees that day. He finished eating and went to take a shower. He did not come back out to watch TV. So, I popped my head into the bedroom to my surprise, found him in bed. I asked him if he was tired and he told me he slipped in the shower while grabbing the soap off the ground and his left shoulder hit the shower wall. Well, he told me this in some very flowery words in not such a nice way. 🙂

I left him to rest. The next day, he went to work and came home. He could not raise his left arm more than 6 inches. I was in a panic. I told him that I was making an appointment with our Orthopedic doctor. Big mistake. He of course refused. Never tell someone what to do when they are in pain. So, he refused to go until July 25th.

We got to the doctor’s office and he did an x-ray and of course, found nothing. X-rays don’t show your tendons and muscles. He reviewed Charly’s symptoms and recommended a steroid shot and therapy. Or we could do an MRI and look at the shoulder muscles and tendons. I choose the MRI. It showed an almost complete tear of the tendon in his left shoulder. Only two choices-do nothing or have a painful surgery with a long recovery. We chose surgery.

The doctor recommended doing it right away to speed up the healing time and recovery process. So, we scheduled it for August 8th. We had 7 days to prepare. Here is what we did. These quick and simple steps got us ready for a difficult recovery and I know it can for you too!

prepare for an unexpected surgery

It’s like disaster preparedness fast-forwarded. With just a few simple smart steps, we quickly learned to prepare for an unexpected surgery:

  1. Stop and take a few deep breaths. OK, grab two or three small tablets of paper. You will need them to take a lot of notes and to keep good records.
  2. Immediately ask your co-workers if they have had a similar experience. If they needed to prepare for an unexpected surgery. Charly asked and found two coworkers that had the exact same surgery. They told him to call the Benefits and Health Services Center at General Motors now. Get on the phone and call and get the paperwork now to complete the minute his surgery was over. That way, he would have very little lapse in his paychecks.
  3. Do a budget that matches your disability or workman’s comp pay. Our disability, we found out, is about 80 percent of his normal pay. Time to make a budget for the next six months so we stay on track. Who wants a financial windfall on top of the long painful recovery?
  4. Get to know the billing and surgical managers at your doctor’s office. Be their friend. Ask questions and BE NICE! They are the key to your medical bills for the next few months.
  5. Make sure every party involved in the surgery has pre-authorized your surgery with your insurance. Don’t leave it to chance! This means the surgeon, the hospital, the anesthesiologist, and physical therapy. Do it now and don’t wait. You may get the “Oh, you should be covered so don’t worry”. No, call them all and make sure you are covered and for how much before the surgery.
  6. And, you don’t have to wait for the ax to fall. Even though you don’t need surgery now, you can prepare. Call your company’s benefits center and ask them how it works. Ask your coworkers if they had this experience and how they prepared for it. And do a practice budget. This disability budget should match our retirement budget pretty closely. So, we are even more ahead of the game.

I have a friend who wrote about surviving surgery: Phyllis Rae of FollowPhyllis’s guide to surviving surgery. She helps millennials get fit and live happy, healthy lives. And while you are at it, hop over to my post about meal prep and clearing your pantry. This will help you get your meals ready for the surgery.

We can all breathe a sigh of relief, relieve unnecessary stress and get through this more easily with support and preparation. Won’t you try these steps? You’ll be thankful you did. If you liked this article, consider signing up for my free monthly declutter, organizing and productivity worksheets, news, and tip here:

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I would love to hear from each of you. What do you think of this article or if you have any questions or comments? Feel free to add a comment here or zip me an email. Until next week…

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