Dr. Nowak, Founder of Post-Op Provisions

Deborah-Nowak-2One of the main reasons I went into surgery was to find creative ways to help people through difficult times. Also, I love anatomy, working with my hands, seeing a project through from start to finish, and working with people. I get a huge kick from being able to solve problems for others. Perfect – right? I thought so but as the years went on I became less and less enchanted with actually being a surgeon. More bureaucracy, more rules, more interrupted sleep, more needless stress, more money talk mixed in with patient-care (which always made me feel icky)… I could go on. The basic gist is that practicing surgery held little joy for me anymore, and was taking more and more of me away from my true priorities (family, kids, happiness, health, etc.). So I quit.

I didn’t quit, however, like normal people do. I quit without having any clue what I would do next. Then, a family member found out she needed surgery. I did what I do; I tried to figure out how to help, how to make the process easier for her. I sent her a care package. I filled it with things I’d advised my patients to get, or that I’d stealthily handed out from my office; things I knew she wouldn’t know she needed and probably didn’t have lying around. Post-Op Provisions was born.

As I got further into setting up this business, I realized there was even more of a need for it than I’d thought. Surgical care has changed over the past 20 years, with 65 – 70% of all procedures being performed on an outpatient basis in 2015. Now most people go home right after surgery instead of staying in the hospital for a few days. That means patients don’t get the care they used to after surgery. Nor do they get the supplies they need to care for themselves at home – unless they get them on their own. We can do better.

Most of the things in these boxes are pretty simple, as surgical supplies go – but that’s from the perspective of surgeon who’s spent countless hours changing dressings, providing aftercare instructions, and counselling people through the ups and downs that can follow any procedure. Standard stuff for me, but maybe not for you. I think we forget that. We (surgeons, and healthcare folks in general) forget that most people don’t consider changing a dressing simple, don’t know that narcotics are constipating, don’t realize that slight changes in personal routine will be necessary for the first few days at home. These little tips, however, can make a huge difference in decreasing anxiety and promoting independence after a procedure. That’s the mission of Post-Op Provisions.

So, I’m still trying to find creative ways to help people – just not at the bedside or in the operating room. I hope you find these products useful, please let me know your thoughts and if there’s anything we’ve overlooked. Patients should be pampered, whenever possible, and I sincerely hope to help make outpatient surgical recovery just a bit easier.

Take care & best wishes,
Debby Nowak, MD

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