You probably have some ideas about what to get a friend or someone in your family for his or her birthday or an upcoming holiday, but deciding what to give someone special in your life after back surgery can be a bit more challenging. Generally, it’s best to focus on gifts that are practical and meaningful for the person who just had surgery. If you’re still stuck for ideas, here are five suggestions.
1. Home-Cooked Meals
Even when people have minimally invasive procedures, their ability to move will likely be limited until they fully recover. If there’s initial bedrest involved, meal prep can be burdensome. If their loved ones have procedures such as extreme lateral interbody fusion, Santa Monica residents should consider making some nutrient-rich home-cooked meals. Getting help with meals reduces the temptation to turn to comfort foods that could inhibit the body’s natural ability to heal and recover. Another option is to prepare up to a week’s worth of meals and place them in the freezer so they can be heated up easily.
2. Your Time
One of the simplest gifts you can give someone after back surgery is your time. A recovering friend or loved one may not be able to socialize as much as normal, which could contribute to depression and anxiety if he or she feels isolated. There are many ways to offer your gift of time. Possibilities include:
- Making yourself available when your loved one just wants to talk
- Arranging gatherings of family members or friends—and taking care of all the related setup and cleanup duties
- Planning activities you know your loved one can safely do during the recovery period.
If your friend or loved one is advised against driving until fully recovered, chip in and volunteer transportation to and from follow-up visits with his or her doctor or Santa Monica spine surgeon. Picking up his or her kids from school or carting them to and from afterschool activities can also give your friend fewer things to worry about post-surgery. Handling transportation obligations for your loved one also minimizes the risk of reinjury to a spine that’s in the process of healing.
4. Help with Pets
Pets need to stay active even when their owners need some downtime while recovering from back surgery. Offer to do things like taking your loved one’s pet for daily walks and coming over a few times a day to make sure food and water bowls are clean and full. If you’re not a dog person, consider purchasing a gift certificate for doggy daycare or a professional dog-walking service. If a friend’s pet needs a lot of attention, another option is to pay for the pet’s stay at a kennel for a brief period.
5. Mental Stimulation
Having a lot of extra time during a recovery period can be frustrating for someone who’s used to always being busy. Plus, mental stimulation—beyond simply catching up on Netflix or DVR content—is just as important as appropriate physical stimulation after back surgery. Fortunately, there are many ways you can give this gift. Options include:
- Crosswords and other word puzzles
- Brain-teaser games
- Asking what’s on your friend’s current reading list so you can pick out a few books to give as gifts
These are just some suggestions to get you started. You can always just ask your friend or loved one if there’s anything he or she needs. Even just lending a hand around the house or running a few errands can be something greatly appreciated by someone recovering from spine surgery.
If your loved one has had spine surgery, he or she will be grateful if you offer any or all of these thoughtful gifts. If you’d like more information about how you can help your loved one recover after surgery, call his or her doctor or the friendly staff at The Spine Institute. Our team has years of experience in every aspect of spinal health, including post-surgical care. Call us today at 310-828-7757.