If you are feeling anxious about an upcoming surgical operation, don’t worry. It is quite normal for people to undergo such feelings before an operation. That feeling of anxiety is referred to as preoperative or preoperational anxiety. It is fairly common for patients to suffer through a certain degree of anxiousness before undergoing the knife. The question here is: why are you anxious in the first place?
Patients fear surgery because they don’t know what will happen during the procedure. This is especially true if it’s a major operation that will have a small chance of survival. For one of the first times in your life, you are not in control of what will happen to you. Imagine lying down there on the surgical table with doctors prodding on you. Anyone will be anxious about that.
There are different levels of anxiety ranging from low to moderate to high. Low-level anxiety is seen in patients who are optimistic and choose to see the positive side of things, while moderate-level anxiety will fear the idea of the procedure but will listen to accurate information about it, too. Information about the surgery will resolve their feelings. Then, some patients suffer from a high degree of anxiety. They have an irrational fear of the procedure, so these feelings affect how doctors manage their anxiety pre-surgery.
Trust Your Medical Team
The first step to addressing your fears—rational and irrational—is to develop trust in your medical team. If you trust your medical practitioners to do the right thing, then you will feel more comfortable about the idea of going through with the operation. Ask your doctors all the questions in your mind. Seek the answers that you need to hear. Doctors will be honest with their patients about the level of risk they are taking.
You might also want to know about how advanced the medical equipment is right now. Doctors are using EHR during surgery, which makes the procedure more accurate than ever before. With EHR, surgeons can receive real-time vital signs of the patients, as well as their medical history, previous lab test results, medications, and many more.
Know Your Body
Even the best doctors will not know your body as much as you do. You’ve been through a lot with this body. You know how strong it can be and how it is capable of making the right decisions. Trust yourself enough that this is what your body needs. The fact that you are undergoing a procedure despite your fears means you are doing the right thing for yourself.
That being said, you should also take care of your health by eating a balanced diet and exercising when possible. Physically, get your body ready for the procedure by following your doctor’s instructions—sticking to healthy food, avoiding dehydration, and stopping certain medications. Emotionally, perform deep-breathing exercises to relax your muscles. You can also try meditation.
Seek Psychological Help
If meditation and deep-breathing exercises don’t address the issues, consider seeking professional help. You’ve already made the big leap of agreeing to a surgical procedure, so why shouldn’t you seek psychological help for your anxiety? Since you have to sleep better and take better care of yourself before the surgery, it will do you well to reach out to a psychologist who can help you with some exercises. Remember that your fears are not uncommon. There is no reason for you to be ashamed of these fears.
Surround Yourself With Loved Ones
People who will undergo surgery usually share this information with only a handful of people. They are not keen to tell everyone in their circle about the surgery. Choose the people with who you will share this information. Admittedly, some people will overreact about the procedure. You might even find yourself comforting them instead of getting comfort. This might even be good for you because it’s a form of distraction.
Speaking of distraction, do activities that will take your mind off the surgery. As long as your doctors did not prohibit the activity, then you can do it. This might be the most effective way to manage your anxiety about the impending surgery. Take your mind off things by finishing a TV series, doing puzzles or adult coloring books, reading a book, or going for a walk every day.
This is probably not the first time you felt anxious about a medical procedure. Some people fear even the thought of a routine physical exam. Do your best to understand why you need to do it, as well as how beneficial it is for your health (and for your family) to address medical conditions. Living a long and healthy life should be your goal.