Hi newbies. I'm 19 days post TAH,BSO & APPY so I'm not such a veteran but I wanted to share some things before they completely banish from my memory! I hope you'll be happy to know that at 19 days post op, many of the details are a blur already! So here's the list:
NIGHTGOWNS: I grabbed a couple button front nightshirts for the hospital. Not only did I feel more comfortable and less like a patient, I could swear the staff looked at me differently! Got mine on amazon & overstock.
T.N. DICKINSONS HAZELETS: This is just a little jar of witch hazel & aloe pads. I used them to clean everything from my face to my pits!lol The fragrance is so refreshing and and just made me feel cleaner. Having them handy meant I didn't need anyone to help me if I wanted to clean up a little. Made me feel a bit more human & independent.
BUMBLE AND BUMBLE HAIR TONIC: This was the same deal with the fragrance bc it's loaded with tea tree oil. Unlike the dry hair wash sprays, this does wet your hair down a little but it is so clean smelling and softens so well that it was worth a little spritz on the pillow now and then. Doesn't leave a film either like I found most of the dry shampoos do.
MINI_TISSUES: While they may give you a little box of these, they're never there when you need them. One of these little plastic pouches can live in bed with you and you don't have to ask for anything!
CEPACOL: This is something that saved me! They're over the counter in your drugstore but are a script in the hospital. You have to tell your nurse your using them and only have one every couple of hours... but my throat was so raw from the intubation and these were the only things that did the trick.
MINI-PRUNE & CRANBERRY JUICE CANS, JELLO CUPS, ORGANIC BOUILLION CUBES: I was at a great hospital and still their juices were loaded with sugar & the jello and broth were the worst I've ever tasted! You don't need to bring much bc you won't want much, you'll mostly love the ice chips, but when you're on a liquid diet for two or three days, it makes a difference!
INFORMATION & ADVOCACY:
If you can have someone stay with you all the better. My husband went home for a few hours during the day but slept at the hospital. If you have the means, it's worth having a private nurse if there's no one to stay with you. Some hospitals won't allow a family member to stay but will give you a "sitter" if you're really anxious or concerned. Speak to your doctors before hand if you know this will be the case. Both my husband and myself feel his presence made a big difference in my comfort, care and the speed with which I got the heck outta there! Just having him there to help me to the bathroom after the catheter came out... without having to ring for the nurse or wait for them to come, was worth it!
Be armed with a list of any and all meds including vitamins that you are taking (bring them all with you if you can and you have someone to secure them). Some of my asthma meds weren't even available in the pharmacy at the hospital so it helped that I had my own and didn't have to change anything.
Type up a list with all your docs office #'s on them and any hospital #'s that may come in handy ( maybe the integrative medicine department for a reiki massage or some meditation/breathing coaching and DEFINITELY the Patient Advocate). Make sure to get what you need. You should not be writhing in pain. Fight for good pain management and if you don't get it, ask to see the pain management team and the patient advocate.
For me the biggest "right thing" I did was to make sure I had a window bed. I know myself and I know I'm prone to anxiety and depression. I was nervous about how I would respond to this surgery -- no kids and only 42 years old. I knew I needed a window to look out -- to get my vitamin D -- to have privacy but not be closed in. I told everyone my circumstance and on the first night, we had to go to a private room. The minimal extra cost was manageable for us for one night and it was 100% worth it. The view of the east river in NYC kept me sane! I told everyone why I was in the private room so they didn't just think I was loaded (I'm not) and basically begged them to find me a shared room bed with a window asap. The next day... voila, I got it. Still had a view of the east river and the helipad to boot. I don't think I turned on the TV once! Be vocal and honest about your physical and emotional needs. You are who are and this is no time to be ashamed to ask for help. I truly think this got my recovery off to the positive start I was hoping for.
Be kind to your nurses. I definitely freaked out at them a few times but then it was right back to sweetness sugar pie. Nine times out of ten they're doing their best with a huge case load. Sent my hub down to the gift shop for a gift box of chocolate and nuts on my last day. I think my fave nurse almost cried
TRI-STEP DISPOSABLE MESH BRIEFS (box of 50): Best investment ever. You will likely have some bleeding at some point, not to mention some sweating and maybe a little odor from some internal stitches dissolving. If you're going to have a belly incision like I do, I couldn't imagine having anything heavier than these mesh babies sitting over it. At the same time I wouldn't want to go pantyless for the sake of cleanliness. I'm overweight and have had no incision problems (knock on wood-lol). I think these babies really help keep it clean and dry and they cut down on the laundry for my darling hub.
LEADING LADY FRONT CLOSURE BRA: I'm well endowed
lol, so I knew that if I wanted to get out, I was going to need something comfortable that wouldn't do what my normal bras do, but would lend a little bit of support!. I bought them with the band two sizes larger than my original and it's worked wonderfully. The front closure means it's one more thing with which I don't have to ask for help!!!
HIBISTAT WIPES: These weren't in the hystersisters store before I went under but I think they are now. We use them for everything from my shower seat to my husbands hands when he helps me clean up or gives me meds. He's had a cold for a week now and I'm still not sniffling (knock wood again-hahaha).
WET WIPES, BABY WIPES, PURELL: Same as above but gentler and for me sometimes too. There's bottles of these everywhere. On the days when I don't have the strength to shower, they come in very handy. And as soon as my husband sneezes, there's something to get rid of the germs at arms length. The baby wipes are vagina safe for me as reco'd by my nurse practitioner and they make me feel cleaner than just TP with the slightly weird poops most of us seem to have post op. You'll get very used to talking about poop post op!
SHOWER SEAT, WALKER, CANE: The seat is key for a million reasons so I'll leave it at that. The walking devices I think would depend on how they make you feel. I don't use them around the house but I think I was able to get out of the house a little earlier than most because of my willingness to use these aids. Only went down to my high rises garden but the air and the flowers did wonders for me and I wouldn't have made it without the walker. My Dad had surgery a few years ago, and he hated these types of aids. Made him feel "less than" if you know what I mean... so it's really up to you. I didn't feel any stigma and haven't allowed myself to get dependent on them so for me, it's all good.
A SMALL ONE... SIPPY CUPS & BENDY STRAWS: The last thing you want to do is have to clean up a spill next to your bed. You'll be taking meds likely round the clock for the first few days and we must must must hydrate! These have saved us on many occasions when I would have had a full 8 oz's of liquid all over me if not for a tightly fitting cover!
A BIG ONE ... BOB-OPEDIC! No joke. We were ready for a new bed anyway so a few months before surgery we purchased a California King adjustable bed from Bob's discount furniture. It's really two twins pushed together but it feels like one bed -- until I have to adjust 20 times a night and I don't wake up my hub! If you have the means, this was an amazing purchase for us. I think I've slept much better for having it and it's made me feel more independent with getting in and out of bed. Not a necessity but a luxury worth it's weight in gold for my recovery. I'll be very happy to have it long after as well... it's memory foam and wicked comfy!
Finally, think about the things in your life that give you comfort... maybe it's not the bed for you, it's an easy chair that you love and fight over with your hub. Let him know it's yours for the recovery!LOL Whatever it is, line it up before hand. Not only will it make your recovery easier, it will make you feel more secure. I've found that lining these things up before hand has made me feel a little more in control during a time in which I have to be real... is pretty out of control as far as everyday life goes!
I told everyone I could what was going on and asked them to keep calling and checking on me (& my hub and puppy) even if I didn't call back. It's been a great help having the helpers & cheerleaders in my life show up (and the people on this board have been some of the best cheerleaders around). Not everyone will be able to deal, but if you ask for help from enough people, the good ones will outweigh the slackers!
Bon voyage my sistahs... it hasn't exactly been easy so far and I know I have a long way to go... but it's not been as bad as I thought it would be either. KIT! xoxo, Pami