A stay in the hospital is bad enough for some people, but the prospect of having surgery is even worse. There’s the fear of the anaesthetic and being put to sleep. There’s the fear of something going wrong within the operation. And there is the fear of the pain that might persist for a while after the surgery has been completed.
What about you? Do you identify with the above? Would you rather put up with whatever health issue prevails in your life, instead of lying on an operating table? We aren’t going to lie to you in this article. The prospect can be frightening, but if you have resisted packing your bags for surgery, we do have some advice that might help you.
1. Choose a surgeon you trust
Every surgeon has training in place, and most have years of experience to back up their credentials. So, the bottom line is this: you are going to be in safe hands. Of course, if you are terrified of surgery because you have heard about mistakes during surgical procedures, you may question the ‘safety’ aspect. In the majority of cases, of course, there are no problems within surgery, but if you are still resistant, you may be able to request a specific surgeon to handle your procedure for you. Research your condition and hospital, find out who the best surgeons are in their field – Timothy Steel for spinal operations, for example – and if circumstances allow it, request for the person of your choice to be the surgeon for your operation. This way, rather than hoping you are in safe hands, you will know you are in safe hands, especially after checking out their credentials.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Many of our fears come through the unknown; not knowing what is going to happen to us before, during, and after surgery. There will be countless questions running through your mind, especially those ‘what if’ questions when you are feeling panicky about the prospect of surgery. While you could research the surgical procedure online, you might also book an appointment with the surgeon to ask those questions that weigh heavily on your mind. Chances are, many of your fears will be allayed through a simple conversation, so prepare a list, and don’t be afraid to ask anything, even if the question appears silly or insignificant.
3. Seek counselling
If you are genuinely fearful of surgery, and your anxieties are causing you to back out of appointments, then counselling may be the best course of action for you. Cognitive behavioural therapy is usually the method of choice, as a CBT counsellor will help you to consider the fears you are experiencing and will help you take actionable steps to overcome them. While it may not completely remove every fear from your mind, you will still have strategies in place to prevent you from backing out of surgery or having a panic attack when you’re in the hospital.
4. Consider alternative therapies
Aside from counselling, there are alternative therapies available to help you with your anxiety. Consider yoga, meditative practices, hypnosis, and acupuncture as just some of the examples available to you. Of course, if you are fearful of needles, you may be resistant to that last one! It’s about finding something that works for you, so again, while you might still have fears in your mind, there are still avenues you can go down to manage the anxiety you feel.
We aren’t going to tell you that going for surgery isn’t frightening. The bravest people in the world might shudder at the thought. But there are ways to deal with your fears, so if you are going for an operation soon, we hope the suggestions in this article have helped you. And remember, while the prospect of surgery can be scary, don’t forget the eventual outcome. If you are currently suffering from any kind of ailment, going into surgery may be for the best, so let that rule your thoughts when you’re facing the prospect of the operating table!