It’s an extremely rare person who would not feel nervous before surgery of any kind, even if it’s an outpatient procedure that will only take a few minutes. In the case of cataract surgery, the fear can be even worse than the procedure itself.
People who are under intense stress can suffer a range of symptoms, including irregular or racing heartbeat, nausea, upset stomach, difficulty breathing, and an inability to sleep. It can even affect your mind, causing you to forget important details about the operation, like advice on how to get ready or what to do after you come home from surgery.
Here are 9 ways to relieve cataract surgery stress:
1. Just Think About It
Let’s start with the first, and most difficult, suggestion—change your own mind about how you feel. Admittedly, it takes a great deal of discipline that’s hard to muster in the face of great anxiety, but try to remind yourself how your sight will be saved after a relatively short, quick, and easy procedure. What you are about to go through will prevent you from going blind.
2. Learn Everything You Can
For many, it helps to learn as much as possible about the surgery before it happens. Knowing exactly what’s going to happen and how others have dealt with what you’re going through can be a great relief. Knowledge may be all you need to relieve your anxiety.
3. Talk to Your Surgeon
It almost always helps to just talk to someone, and who better than your surgeon? Who else knows every detail of the procedure you’re about to undergo? It’s fairly likely that your surgeon has performed many successful surgeries of this kind before, and he or she may have some stories of encouragement for you, as well as important and comforting knowledge of his or her own personal experiences.
4. Imagine the End Result
It may help if you keep focused on what happens after, as if it’s already done and you can go home, the procedure over. This takes a great deal of imagination, rather than the discipline of thinking rationally about it, but if you have that level of imagination, it’s certainly worth trying.
5. Alternate Methods
This encompasses a whole range of stress-reducing tactics that are not usually under the medical umbrella. Nevertheless, they have done a great many people a lot of good. Yoga, hypnosis, massage, acupuncture, acupressure, and other treatments have allowed those suffering preoperative stress to sleep better at the least.
6. Herbal Supplements
A form of alternative treatment involving traditional ingredients to produce a more restful state. The herbs are often just infused into tea and drunk. While these supplements are generally called “all natural,” you should always consult your doctor before taking them, since they can have an effect on other medications you may be taking, including the anesthetic you are given before surgery.
7. Have Some Fun
Do something fun to take your mind off of what’s about to happen. Whatever that specific thing may be is up to you, since an individual’s idea of fun differs from person to person. Whatever you generally do to take your mind off of things and unwind after a hard day may be just the thing to help you out before undergoing cataract surgery.
8. Treat Yourself
In the same vein has doing something fun, do something that usually relaxes you. If you like going for long walks, do that the day before the surgery. Or listen to music that fills you with peace (or joy). Take a long bath. If it makes you feel relaxed or calm, it will help you deal with your anxiety.
9. Distract Yourself
Once you get to the hospital, you’ll probably be waiting around, even if you get there right on time, giving plenty of time for stress to ramp up. You’ll do better if you keep yourself entertained, but the hospital waiting room is probably one of the more boring places on earth. Fix that by bringing something along to entertain yourself, like a book or some magazines, or even a portable mp3 player. You’ll probably want to bring more than one thing to do, in case the wait is long.
Stress adds complication to the body’s systems, and can therefore cause some complication in the upcoming surgery. Do what you can, whether you kick back with friends or take some herbal supplements, to help yourself get into the best mindspace possible. Think about the positive outcomes, and you’ll do well.