Major surgery of any kind can be very difficult to deal with. It doesn’t have to be a life-threatening situation for there to be early complications, physical discomfort, and a long-term recovery. Indeed, this is the case in most medical situations that could be labeled as “major” surgery.

This is a time when it’s important for people to be able to lean on family. So, if you happen to be faced with the prospect of helping a relative go through surgery, you should make an effort to be as available as possible, and to help in ways that go above and beyond. It’s sure to be appreciated, and you’ll feel good about doing your part as well.

These are a few ideas for how you can help out in this kind of situation.

Take Some Cooking Lessons

People recovering from surgery are almost always rather isolated, and may be more or less depending on family or friends for meals. Takeout is fine on occasion, particularly in the first few days when the schedule might be a little hectic. But as you help your relative settle into the recovery process, takeout can get old (not to mention unhealthy), and a home cooked meal can be deeply appreciated. If you already know what you’re doing in the kitchen, great! If you’re just okay, you can find some easy preparations and recipes easily, whether through videos online or programs like How To Cook Everything. And of course if you don’t know how to cook at all, now might be the time to take a few lessons. One way or the other, providing a few meals here and there can be a big help and comfort.

Record Medical Information

This is actually a little bit less necessary than it once was, thanks in large part to technology. Data Recovery and cloud storage options can be put to use by hospitals so that files are rarely if ever lost. And even without these concerns, basic digital records are making medical information more accessible than ever. But just to be on the safe side, and to alleviate any anxiety on your relative’s part, go ahead and record all relevant information regarding the surgery on your own. That way you can easily answer questions, and potentially even talk to doctors or nurses if your relative is having a hard time.

Don’t Get Tired 

It’s tough advice, and maybe even unreasonable at a certain point. But it’s crucial to be alert and available particularly in the early going when you’re helping a relative who’s just had major surgery. They may need help at odd hours, you might need to fit more into your routine than you ordinarily do, and it’s probably going to get a little bit stressful. But letting this show can make the patient more anxious. It’s important to do your best not to get tired and not to show strain, so that you can help recovery go as smoothly as possible.

Educate Yourself On Recovery

Take the time to listen to your relative (as well as doctors and nurses) and research the relevant procedure, so that you can broaden your knowledge about the recovery process. You don’t want to be overbearing about it, of course, but if you can speak knowledgeably about how things are going and what steps should come next, it might be appreciated. This is perhaps the easiest step on the list, though it will require some effort.

Make The Home Comfortable

This idea can go a lot of different ways depending on the home and the nature of the recovery. In some cases you might just want to help out with adjusting pillows and furniture as needed by your relative. In more extreme cases, you might want to consider larger home adjustments. American Standard Walk-in Tubs can be immensely helpful for someone having trouble getting around after surgery, for instance, as can adjustable chairs and beds. The same can be said for a temporary ramp in and out of the house. Theses can be somewhat expensive, but if they’re needed at all they’ll be greatly appreciated.

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