Is This You? When surgery comes knocking |

Is This You? When surgery comes knocking

Trina Machacek

If for some happy reason some sort of surgery has not come knocking at your door, hurray for you and your household. But alas for many of us that knock has come at least once, some more times than we can or want to remember. I have found it’s all in how you prepare for the aftermath of any surgery that makes for smooth sailing down the recovery road.

I just had a conversation with a woman who’s getting ready for a surgery that will entail some recuperation time, leaving her without the use of her right arm for a month or maybe more. She has absolutely worn herself out with the getting ready process.

Cleaned her whole house extra well, made enough dinners to fill two freezers, gone grocery shopping until her pantry is bursting, made out all the checks for the bills for the month so they just have to be put in envelopes when the money arrives, even had a permanent for her hair because her hair will need to be combed and done by her husband. Needless to say she looked like she needed a month long vacation! Why do we do these things? It’s our nature to nurture. Several years ago I had carpal tunnel surgery. Both arms at the same time. Let me just say here when both of your arms/hands are buggered up at the same time for a few days, you really find out just how much your marriage can stand. And just how far you can push that for better or worse thingy in the marriage vows. With just one hand you can still do some things, but without either left or right you truly do “Depend upon the kindness of others.”

My husband has had his share of back issues with surgery after surgery and I’m here to teach you three things about going through the surgery tunnel. To hopefully keep you from hitting the train coming at you from the other end of said tunnel.

First: No matter who’s having the procedure, leave your modesty at home. Yes, there’s no hiding anything you have. Those in the healthcare industry have seen it all, heard it all and are not easily embarrassed or surprised by whatever you think you have that’s any different or more special than anyone else in the lineup that day on the operating schedule. So just do what a friend of mine told me a long time ago. Cover your eyes and say, “Can’t see you and you can’t see me.”

Second: Never assume the doctor will come out to tell you the outcome of the operation after the deed is done. Make sure you tell him or her, where you will be, and then be sure to be there. I waited an exceptionally long time for the doctor after my husband had a minor knee surgery. Seems the doctor failed to let me know all was done and he left the hospital and went back to his office. You don’t want to go back to the office and leave Trina waiting. She gets angry. That poor little receptionist still has my voice screeching in her ear after more than 20 years. And the doctor has my picture up on his wall to remember me by. So stand up for yourself and the one you’re there to advocate for. I understand oversights, but this guy was just arrogant. Now he speaks one octave higher and I’m proud to lay claim to that octave.

Third: I saved the best for last. Be sure to watch the hospital employees in the lines in the cafeteria. They know of what they speak when they order. They go there every day, eat there every day, and deal with the cooks and choices every day. They know what does and doesn’t get rotated. So while you’re in there take a minute or two and just watch the action. That’s how I found that you don’t take the milk in the front of the cooler and to order the wrap of the day at one hospital I know of because it’s something even the nurses look forward to. Which in any cafeteria is a big deal. Oh and as the patient, it’s more than OK to ask the night nurse for ice cream from the cafeteria at 2 a.m. Usually she will happily go after it. That way she gets some too and someone to share it with at 2 a.m.

Here’s hoping you never have to recall and use these tidbits, but that you have the memory to recall them if you need to. Stay healthy my friends.

Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada, her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at