There first two pressing issues for me when I started thinking about getting plastic surgery:
- I needed to find a highly credentialed and experienced surgeon
- I needed to find help at home while I was recovering.
I had never had surgery before. I was nervous about going under anesthesia. I knew I needed a solid team of supportive professionals in my corner and so I began my search.
Finding a surgeon was pretty straight forward but finding the right nursing service proved to be a bit more challenging at the time. Being a nurse I wanted a nurse to help care for me after surgery. I understood the benefits of receiving nursing care after a procedure which includes increased patient satisfaction, reduced incidences of complications, and improving overall outcomes. I believe wholeheartedly that nursing care is essential to a healthy recovery.
I was scared to death and anticipated that after my procedures (breast reduction and tummy tuck), the first three days would be the toughest. After any procedure where anesthesia is used a patient should be supervised for at least 24 hours as the medicines clear the body - each person reacts to anesthesia differently.
Post-procedure the tummy tuck would extremely limit my mobility and make it difficult to perform much needed activities like bathing and dressing. You never realize how much you use the abdominal muscles until having a procedure such as this. Even though I had the support of the few individuals I told about the procedure and my live-in boyfriend, I did not want to burden anyone. More importantly I did not want them physically caring for me.
I wanted to give myself the best possible chances for a healthy recovery and so I continued my search for in-home nursing services specializing in the aftercare of people recovering from plastic surgery.
As expected I found many home care agencies whose main focus of care was seniors and the disabled community. I wanted to be nursed by professionals that understand the physical and psychological needs of patients like me.
During my visits to the surgeon’s office I would ask him and the patient coordinator for help with finding aftercare. I was disappointed by how unhelpful they were in directing me towards the right resources.
My surgeon was quite apathetic about my need for aftercare. He asked me why I thought I needed it and waived it off by saying I would be just fine. I can’t say that I was really surprised by his attitude; however, I thought that at least the patient coordinator would be prepared to assist me but she wasn’t.
They just didn’t seem to get my need for aftercare that takes a holistic approach to care; mind, body and spirit. I would later find online communities where people were discussing aftercare and learned that mostly it was an afterthought. Whenever someone on the board had a question about an injury, infection, or nursing related advice the answers often times were hit or miss because no one had any real clinical expertise in post-surgical care.
There was actually an online community where the title of a thread was “Hot Mess of Holes”. People were trying to get answers about caring for surgical sites that have become infected and as a result had not healed properly.
I was totally appalled by this. These types of post-operative complications are completely avoidable with the proper education and preventive measures put in place by the surgeon and the aftercare nursing team.