I recently had surgery and decided it was best to share my knowledge as a military wife’s guide to having surgery.
It’s never convenient to have surgery, but when at all possible try to schedule it or have it be sprung upon you when your husband is due to be out in the field. Variations on this lesson can include him being deployed, out to sea, or on an extended training mission.
Follow the surgeon’s instructions to the T. This may include having to wash all of your clothing, towels, pajamas, and bedding the night before surgery and showering with surgical scrub. When doing this be sure to grab the wrong sized jeans, at least two sizes too small, underwear that has holes in them and a bra that doesn’t have adjustable straps. Be sure to not notice this until 20 minutes before you are due to leave the house and it is too late to wash new clothing.
As a last resort, grab the pajamas you had washed per the surgeon’s instruction and opt to wear them to your appointment. Be sure that the pajamas are in fact the yoga pants that your dog tore a hole in two months earlier.
If possible, and I know it won’t always be, try to have as many drug allergies as you can making it nearly impossible to choose a good anesthesia protocol for you the day of surgery. Make sure that these allergies cause your anesthesia options to include full general anesthesia and fully intubated, for a procedure that will only take twenty minutes start to finish, or to be preemptively treated for the symptoms that you have when given drugs that you are allergic to.
Though it’s nearly impossible to ensure, it is always ideal for the surgeon and their nurses to wrap your surgical dressing too tight under your bandaging causing complications in healing the days following surgery and requiring an early recheck.
Also make sure that all of the people who would usually drive you to your follow up appointment one week post-op are unavailable while your husband is in the field.
When you have successfully lost the use of your dominant hand postoperatively be sure to have a series of baby gates and other obstacles scattered around your house that make it difficult to navigate one-handed. When you can, make sure that these baby gates periodically get stuck in the locked position, requiring them to be opened with both hands. Also make sure you have at least three dogs that you are not supposed to touch postoperatively to minimize your risk of infection to get constantly under your feet at any given moment.
If you can, call ahead to your local library and make sure that all of the books on your reading list will have at least a twenty-person waitlist. This should include both electronic book options, as well as physical books procured from the actual library location.
Don’t forget to make sure that you only have a stick shift vehicle available to you. This will ensure that your doctor will revoke your driving privileges in spite of you having been told that you could drive after two days, further ensuring that it will be nearly impossible to make it to any of your recheck appointments.
And please make absolutely sure not to realize that you are unable to take the garbage out to the garage let alone get the can to the curb every week until your husband has already left. This will ensure a utilitarian attitude toward using and discarding all items in your house for the following sixteen days. It will also ensure a backup of garbage in your house and your garage during a heat wave.
And above all else, make sure that you live far away from every other military spouse that you know. Also make sure that the bulk of the people you know very well don’t live in the same state let alone same time zone or even the same country as you do at the moment. Because that which does not kill us only serves to make us stronger.