Friday, July 19, 2013
Yesterday, I had surgery to remove a growth on my right vocal cord. This is a minor surgery — I was in and out the same day — but it's still surgery, with general anesthesia. Here's how I got prepared, based (in part) on the clear post-surgery instructions I received.
1. I arranged to have someone drive me to surgery, take me home — and then stay with me overnight, just in the highly unlikely case that something went wrong.
Fortunately, I've got a great neighbor who could do that for me; other people offered to help, too. But when the hospital wanted to schedule the surgery for July 5, I had to ask for another date, since that's the one time she wasn't available.
And having someone stay overnight gets you to do the same thing that having any other company does: You take care of all those little around-the-house cleaning and tidying tasks you've procrastinated about.
2. I already had an Advance Health Care Directive, so I just needed to bring it in so the hospital could have a copy. If I hadn't had one, this would have been a good trigger to get one written already. (I also already have the other important legal documents: a will, etc.)
3. I'd installed 1Password on my MacBook a few weeks ago, largely to make it easier on my brother (or whoever has to deal with my computer and online life) if anything happens to me. Now that person only needs two passwords: the password to my computer, and the one to 1Password. However, I hadn't yet entered any data into 1Password — so having the surgery was a good trigger to do that.
4. I paid any bills that were upcoming in the near term — again, a just-in-case kind of thing.
5. I made sure I had all my final questions ready for my doctor and my anesthesiologist, both of whom I saw before the surgery. (And I highly recommend both of them!)
6. Since I'm supposed to talk as little as possible in the week after surgery, I cleared my calendar of any appointments that would require talking: clients, doctor appointments, etc. Fortunately, I've got the Internet and I can still type! My brother will call my dad to relay the "she's fine" message, since my dad isn't an email kind of guy.
7. Of course, I stocked up on the types of foods recommended to me: popsicles, ice cream, applesauce, cottage cheese, etc. My neighbor enjoyed sharing some Talenti Gelato with me last night!
8. And I had my prescription pain pills on hand, just in case I needed them!
All seems to have gone extremely well — but I'm glad I was prepared in case anything went wrong, too.