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I’m having surgery. Now I’m nesting and thought you might like to know how a surgeon nests before her own operation.

I get really clean. Okay, I’m clean, but I get super clean.

Bathe with Hibiclens soap the night before and the morning of surgery. Don’t forget to clean out your belly button if you’re having abdominal surgery.

If I’m having anything other than an operation on my innards–in which case I follow my surgeon’s instructions–I make sure my bowels are moving before and after surgery. If I have a prescription for narcotic pain pills, I’ll be especially diligent in this regard. I’ll start taking a stool softener (docusate sodium) the day I get home, and continue until I’m sure everything’s back to normal. Any natural stool softener or laxative works too. Bad constipation is painful at minimum, but can also end up with you in the ER, having someone else help you out with a gloved finger. And after that humiliation, you will never let this happen again.

If you’re going to have surgery on your hands or feet, get rid of thick calluses and hangnails. They hold bacteria. Yes, we’re going to prep your skin with some hardcore, anti-bacterial soap, but those thick, cracked calluses hold onto dead skin cells, oil, dirt and nastiness. Get ‘em knocked down. Cut your nails. Give yourself my “poor man’s manicure.” Pour a little olive oil in your palm. Add a teaspoon of sugar and massage it into your skin and all around your nails. Even better… Go get a professional manicure or a pedicure.

Set yourself up for post-operative success. If you’re going to need ice, get a cooler full. Make up some bags of ice ahead of time. If you don’t have much help, get plenty of frozen dinners and bottled drinks.

And call your mommy!



  • 1010ParkPlace June 25, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Thank you, Barbara, for always telling us things we need to know, but no one else is talking about. Hope you’re on the mend. xoxox, Brenda

  • Donna O'Klock June 26, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Really great advice… of course! Thank you for the inside scoop on something I’ve never heard discussed before. I hope your surgery went perfectly and you are feeling great as quickly as possible!

  • Rosan McGowan June 29, 2017 at 4:19 am

    thank you Dr. Barbara for great information!
    Happy you are rapidly recovering and hopefully resting like you would advise us to do.

  • judy Miller June 29, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Great report. I hope you’re feeling better and better.

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