What to Say After Surgery – Providing Support for your Friend

As a patient looks out from her hospital bed, she wonders if her loved ones know what to say after surgery.

At some point, we have all had at least one friend or family member who has endured some kind of surgery. We all make a promise to go visit. We pick up some flowers and then that awkward moment hits. We walk in the room and we are expected to say something. If you’re feeling that knot in your stomach, even as you read this, allow us to offer some advice as you think about what to say after surgery.


How Close Are You?

Consider your relationship. The closer you are, the more you can say without hesitation. If you’re not as close, you may want to be a bit more careful about what and how much you say. Be natural and warm. Don’t let the seriousness of the surgery push you too far past your comfort zone, causing you to say something you both might find uncomfortable. Stick to small talk and simple, yet caring, questions such as “How are you feeling?” or “Is there anything specific you need today?”


Stay Positive

Keep your conversation upbeat and positive. The Kidney Cancer Association shared an article last year, in which it explained that optimism and emotional well-being are critical to immune health and recovery. Leave your fears or concerns at the door, and instead let your friend know how well she looks and how glad you are to see her recovering. Revive your friends’ spirits with a thoughtful hospital care package. Share uplifting or humorous stories from work, meetings, or other places he or she is missing. And of course, “We hope you get well soon” is certainly welcome.


Be Specific

When you offer to do more, provide specifics. Don’t just say, “What can I do to help?” The vague, open-ended question puts too much burden on the recovering patient. Instead try something specific such as, “What day can I bring your family dinner?” Offering a specific suggestion will ease that burden and be a welcome gift.

When offering food or meals, be sure to ask about dietary restrictions or sensitivities. Post-surgery may bring some nutritional complications so asking ahead of time will save you both an awkward moment later, if you happen to use a prohibited ingredient. These days there are dozens of online recipe databases so you can find safe and healthy alternatives for meal deliveries.


Loving Whom They Love

Don’t forget your friend or family member’s loved ones when considering what to say after a surgery. Especially if they aren’t present during your visit, make sure to ask how their spouse or children are doing. The well being of their own family and friends is likely on their minds while they recover. Extend an offer to help with carpooling or running an errand, if they express concern over getting those daily tasks done.


The Most Help

If you expect a series of updates and needs throughout the recovery process, one of the best things you can say to a friend or family member after a surgery is “Can I set up a Lotsa Community for you?” There, you and other volunteers can connect with friends and family around the world and keep everyone updated on the recovery progress. You can also schedule meals, errands, carpools, and more to make the road to health that much smoother.