Comforting Words Before Surgery

Updated October 11, 2019
Comforting Words Before Surgery
    Optimistic surgery patient in the hospital
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Surgery may be a part of life at some point for many people, so a person may appreciate hearing comforting words before their surgery. These words give us hope and a feeling of belonging and worth. These words will also give us the strength to move forward when we're not feeling so great before the surgery.

Examples of Comforting Words

There's tremendous power in our words. We never know how the things we say may impact another person. Therefore, hearing a comforting word or two can really help to make a loved one feel better during a time that's sure to be stressful. Here are a few ideas:

"What would you like me to do to help you get prepared for the surgery? Do you need any groceries in the house for the kids? Can I pack a bag for you?"

Words such as "How can I help?" let the person know you're there for them if they need anything. They might be overwhelmed, so feel free to make specific offerings, such as cooking a meal or packing a bag of items from the house.

"How does all of this make you feel? Do you like your doctor? Are you hopeful this will improve your life for the better?"

Words such as, "What are you feeling?" will let the person know you care about them. This lets them know, in a way that's comforting, that you're there to listen if they need to talk about what's going on.

"You're in very capable hands. Think about how many of these surgeries are performed on a daily basis all over the world. You'll be fine. And, then, you'll come out of this on the other side feeling better than ever. Hold on to that."

Let your loved one know things will be fine. Sometimes just hearing these simple words from someone else can give that extra bit of encouragement before surgery the patient was looking for.

"I'm going to be right here waiting for you when you get out. I'm going to be sitting in this very chair just waiting to see you come through the other side."

Tell your friend or family member you'll be waiting for them after the surgery. This can help to divert the focus away from the surgery and onto the time after surgery.

"Know that I love you very, very much. My prayers and love will help carry you through this difficult time. And, when you come back, we're going to take that trip to Belize."

If you're very close to the person having surgery, telling them you love them will always be the way to go. Also, feel free to offer something exciting to look forward to after their recovery. This can be a great source of both comfort and determination.

"Okay. I'm going to hug you now. There's nothing you can do to stop me!"

Offer some type of physical touch (and insert a tiny bit of humor, if appropriate). Putting our words into comforting gestures can provide comfort and (hopefully) make your loved one smile.

The goal in all this is to give your best wishes for surgery, even if they sound corny and make no sense to anyone else but the few who are in the conversation. Comforting words can even come in the form of a joke. Tell a goofy joke your friend or loved one likes. Taking their mind off the surgery for just a few minutes will help ease their mind.


Things Not to Say

Comforting words mean words that are going to help your friend or loved one through their ordeal.

  • Words such as "I know how you feel" do not come across as comforting because it sounds like it is more about you than them.
  • Telling him not to cry doesn't constitute being comforting either. If a person is crying, they're working through the pain and emotions they're having about going into surgery.
  • Never tell them you are sorry. Most people don't want to feel like people are taking pity on them. So, these three little words are not much of a comfort when it comes to helping someone through surgery.

Comforting Things You Can Do

Sometimes, one small action can make all the difference to someone before going into surgery. A hug, a pat on the hand or a smile can go a long way.

Make sure you act natural. If you act on edge or uncomfortable, you will most likely be giving off that vibe to the person about to go into surgery. Making them feel at ease is the best thing when you're there for moral support.

Allow the person who's going to have surgery to talk openly about it. Let them voice their concerns about the procedure. Allowing them to do this lets them focus and look at the big picture of what's going on. Often, just being there can do wonders.

Another thing you can do is send flowers, a plant, or a card. By doing this, you're letting the patient know you care about them. A simple gesture such as this can go a long way to making someone feel better.


Offer Simple Support

In times of trouble, simple support is usually the path of least resistance. Considering that your friend or family member is already stressed, you want to be a quiet source of steady comfort. Share some kind words. Offer to do some small task for them while they're in surgery.

Aside from that, your presence alone will be healing! While your loved one is in surgery, take a scan through Love: Expressions in Words. We'll help you write a truly heartfelt card that will be sure to make your loved one smile.