Earlier this week, I had surgery to remove a cyst that was growing on my foot and ankle. My doctor discovered it during my yearly physical in June. I had noticed pain and numbness in my foot and leg for a few months but did not see the growth on my foot. It was really only visible if you looked at my foot from the side. So, I learned about it in June, but ended up having to wait until late September to have surgery. My doctor ordered an MRI which I could not get an appointment for until August. After the MRI, I went to the foot and ankle doctor, also known as a podiatrist. She tried to drain the cyst in the office but that did not work. So she recommended surgery. Because of the pandemic, I had to go to an outpatient surgery center in late September. In this post, I will cover how to prepare for surgery during a pandemic.
Stay on Top of Your Health
Just because there is a pandemic, that is no reason to ignore your health. Prevention is still important and you have to make it a priority. In my case, I went to my annual physical in June with my Primary Care Doctor. She recommended that I get an MRI on my foot for the cyst she found. She also advised me to go to my Ob-Gyn for my annual women’s health exam and to get a mammogram order just as I had before the pandemic. And she also reminded me to see my dentist because it has been a year. Although there are some delays with getting appointments, and you often have to get a temperature check and answer some Covid-related questions, these are no reason to delay care.
What to Do If You Need Care
If you need routine care such as a yearly exam or a mammogram, visit your primary care doctor first. She can point you in the right direction for best next steps. Be prepared to wait for an appointment. This is why it is so important to stay ahead of your health. The wait times are long now because of the staffing shortages and resources are tied up with pandemic care. Once you secure an appointment, write down the details in a calendar or planner. There will likely be things that you need to bring to the appointment such as your driver’s license and insurance card. Most offices require a verbal COVID screening with questions and a temperature check. Masks are often required for all medical visits whether in office or hospital. If you need imaging or surgery, be sure to get an order from your doctor and make the appointment as soon as you can because again, there are longer than normal wait times.
How to Prepare for Surgery
For surgery, you will likely need a pre-surgical negative COVID Test within 48 hours of your visit. In my case, my hospital called me and scheduled it at one of their facilities. I checked several pharmacies and urgent care centers near my house for the 48 hour window before my surgery and there were no appointments available. Having this sorted for me was a real relief. The nurse at the hospital gave me a nasal swab test at 7 am and the results were ready the next morning by 8 am. The results were ready for me in my electronic patient chart also known as My Chart. I also had a pre-surgical office visit to my foot and ankle doctor. She prescribed some medications for after surgery. I had to take those to my pharmacy and drop them off. Those took overnight to fill so I went back to pick them up the next day. Again, it is important to understand and plan ahead for all of these steps.
Taking Care of Yourself After Surgery
Because my kids are away at school and no one else was available to come take care of me after surgery, I did some preparation. Having been through five surgeries, I know what is needed to get through the first few days. I ordered a walker with a seat online and had it delivered to my house. My husband assembled it for me after work so I had it on the second evening after my surgery. I also ordered some healthy, ready to eat food through Shipt. Prepared salads, fruit cups, yogurt and sandwiches are best as you will not able to cook or clean up. You will have a lot of down time and probably not have too much energy after surgery. Also, your attention span may not be what it was before surgery for a few days. I like to listen to audio books on Audible.
Once again, do not delay preventive care during the pandemic. Dental visits, well child check ups, physicals and chronic disease follow-ups are still needed at this time. Keep a close watch on your health and stay in touch with your primary care doctor. Schedule appointments as soon as you know you need them.