Surgery would never be my first choice to treat any dysfunction. But sometimes our bodies need raw, physical intervention to function properly, and are opened, and our insides are rearranged by skilled doctors with the best of intentions.
As I write this, a loved one of mine is snuggled up in his bed, recovering from his second surgery in three months. Nothing life-threatening, but surgery nonetheless. His recovery will include several days spent in bed, followed by several weeks of crutches and physical therapy. I’m by no means an expert on natural healing (really I have so much to learn) but I believe in the power of preventative care, am learning more and more about nutrition as medicine, and am wide open to ancient and naturopathic healing wisdom. I thought it might be worth sharing about how I prepare our home for convalescence, and the natural remedies I use to encourage rest and healing.
A calm and serene environment
Before the period of convalescence begins, I make sure to thoroughly clean the bedroom where my loved one will recover. I remove clutter, wash, fold and put away laundry, and clean off all surfaces with a non-toxic natural cleaner. I also wash the bed linens and dry them on the line outside, to bring fresh air and a bit of nature inside. Once my patient comes home from the hospital, I tuck him or her into a bed that smells of sunshine. I also vaporize a mixture of orange, patchouli and ylang ylang essential oils to create a peaceful vibe in the room.
A plan for things to do
Hanging out in bed can be a little tedious, once the novelty wears off. I always check out a stack of new-to-us books from the library for my patient to read. Once a trip to the television becomes possible, we choose a movie series and spend the next few days and/or evenings watching a movie while snacking on freshly-popped organic popcorn. Family favorites include the Back to the Future trilogy and the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies.
Nourishing food for healing
Again–I have so far to go in this department, but do have certain items that I keep on hand when someone has a need of healing. We drink several cups of organic tulsi tea each day, incorporate organic turmeric into our diet via golden milk or vegetable curries, and make smoothies with whey protein and green superfood powders (thanks to my stepdaughter for the recommendation) to get some semblance of greens into even the most reluctant of bodies. We supplement with multivitamins and vitamin C drink mixtures as needed. It’s good for me to remember that even the tiniest of baby steps in this area moves my family forward towards better health.
A way to get clean
Eventually after a period of extended convalescence we all reach a point where we long for a nice, hot shower. I’ve found all kinds of neat products at Walgreens that keep incisions of all shapes, sizes and locations dry. But waterproof dressings aside, you don’t have to purchase a bunch of medical equipment just to assist your patient with bathing. For me, helping an injured loved one into the shower is a precarious ballet that includes strategically placed towels, a waterproof limb cover from Walgreens and a small plastic step stool from IKEA sitting under the water stream, ready to be repurposed as a shower seat. It feels wonderful to put on clean clothes and towel off sweet-smelling hair for the first time after surgery.
A good night’s sleep
We all know sleep is necessary for healing. Melatonin, no screens for the 1.5 hours before lights out time, and adequate pain control all contribute to a good night’s sleep. I don’t hesitate to give the pain medication prescribed by the doctor, as pain really does interfere with rest. Once pain is under control, we move to over the counter pain relief, but we are in no rush to stop taking stronger medicine because of fear.
I can say with certainty that these measures are a great comfort to a person weakened by pain and dependence on others. I prepared in this way for my own surgery a few years ago, and was much more comfortable during my recovery than if I’d been surrounded by mess, in pain, and bored to tears.