Another issue, initially, is comfort, says Dr. Odom. You'll be on pain medicine when you first come home after surgery. You'll also be figuring out what you can and can't do — how to sit, how to stand, etc. — while still staying comfortable.
"And honestly, people sleep a lot after surgery, for about the first five days," says Dr. Odom. "You're totally exhausted, because your body is working so hard to heal. Even if your surgery is going to be laparoscopic, there is a tremendous amount of healing that has to go on under the surface! So to expect that someone who has just had weight loss surgery can supervise a home or really be counted on in terms of caregiving is not advisable."
Here are some tips from Dr. Odom to help you prepare:
• Have a family meeting to discuss your surgery. This will help ensure family members know what to expect during your recovery, what kind of help you are likely to need, and for how long.
• Delegate! People will ask you how they can help — tell them. You can delegate laundry, grocery shopping, dog walking, washing dishes, etc.
• Cook and freeze family meals in advance.
• Know what your nutritional requirements will be post-surgery, and make arrangements for those as well.
• Do any heavy house cleaning that needs to be done.
• Ask a relative or close family friend to stay in your home for three to four days after you are discharged from the hospital. You'll be taking medication to control pain and will need to spend your time sleeping and resting.
• If you haven't already, make a schedule of the family's appointments and after school and weekend activities.
• Organize carpools for the kids.
• Hire someone to clean your home. No lifting or any type of heavy work will be permitted for several weeks. Depending on the season, you may need to hire someone to do work in your yard as well.
• Utilize babysitters. You'll need to rest, and if you have small children or babies, you won't be able to lift them. Childcare assistance will be essential during your recovery.
• Finally, let your family know that you'll need their support. "After surgery, you have no hunger, and your whole relationship to food has been turned completely upside down," says Dr. Odom. "It's like a fish out of water — you're sort of flapping around, trying to figure out what is going on. You're looking at your favorite foods, not even wanting them. It's so different from all that you knew before, it's a major life change, and people don't always understand that."