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Unread 12-06-2003, 12:16 PM
Hospital 101

Hi all,
THe support on this site is wonderful! These may sound like a silly questions, but here they are. I have never been in the hospital and the closest I have been to "visiting" is seeing a hospital scene on tv. Is there anything the nurses will expect me to know or do? Should I have my DH tell them I am a "newbie" when I get to the room?? What types of things will the nurses be doing and how often will I see them? I am thinking of requesting a quick room tour as part of my pre-op so that things will look familar when I wake up after the surgery. Also, I have seen several references to goodie baskets for the nurses. What items should I include? I am all for keeping people with sharp objects happy! Thank you!!

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Unread 12-06-2003, 01:06 PM
Hospital 101

Hi Lexi,

Welcome to Hyster Sisters!!

Each hospital probably has a slightly different routine, but I can tell you what I remember, and I'm sure that others will be along soon to add their experiences.

I had a TVH with repairs for a cystocele and a rectocele, so my length of time in the hospital may not be the same as yours, but this will give you a general idea. After we arrived, I was taken to the pre-op area where I was weighed, had my BP taken (yes, it was high, because I was pretty nervous, but they are used to that), and then changed into my gown. They had me get onto the gurney, and covered me with warm blankets (both because it was cold and because I was pretty shaky from being nervous). Then they got the IV's started. The anesthesiologist came and talked with me, and gave me some Versed which helped calm me down. He must have put something else in my IV after that, because the next thing that I remember is waking up in my hospital room. I don't remember the recovery area at all.

When I woke up I was hooked up to a morphine patient controlled pump that had a little clicker thingie that I wouldn't let out of my fist . It worked!!

I was pretty groggy for most of that afternoon, and just barely remember that a friend came by to see me in the evening. I do remember my DH and DD being there, and telling me everything was OK.

The nurses were in and out, checking my BP, checking to be sure that I was not bleeding more than is to be expected, checking IV's etc. You'll have a button to push to call them, if needed, but if your DH or someone can stay with you, then if they are a little short-staffed, you'll have someone there to help out.

The following morning my morphine pump was disconnected, my catheter was removed, and I was allowed to get up and use the bathroom, and I went home in the early afternoon.

I didn't bring a goody basket, but after reading about it here on HS, I think it would have been nice, but it's certainly not necessary or even expected by the nurses.

Please be sure to also read the Pre-Op Hints and the Post-Op Hints. They are full of great advice that will help you to prepare for your surgery and recovery.

I hope this helps - I imagine that the hospital would be willing to show you around, too.

Unread 12-06-2003, 01:41 PM

I hate hospitals. Not because of the nurses or doctors or what happens there, but - and you're going to think this is weird, no doubt - because of the smell! I've heard some people say that there IS no smell, but I dispute that wholeheartedly. It smells of disinfectant and cleansers and I hate that smell. You'll see me using lemon-scented cleansers at home because of it. LOL! Okay, now that that's out of the way:

You'll want someone there to ask questions for you that you may not think to ask (can you have caffeine afterwards, how long and when are visiting hours, etc). They'll put an IV in your hand, but you can request one in the crook of your elbow instead. Sometimes that's more comfortable for people. I don't know, since my skin is so sensitive any needle hurts for as long as it's in there!

They'll ask questions and then put the drugs straight through the IV so you don't have to swallow anything.

When you wake up, you'll either be in recovery or in your room. I got lucky and got a private room, though I was slated for a double - they ran out just as I got out of surgery! *happy dance* The nurses will check your blood pressure and they'll ask you to cough for them. I labelled myself right then and there as "uncooperative" because I refused to do so. The nurse got irritated (never upset, never mad, just very irritated) and said, "We need to make sure there's nothing in your lungs!" I told her flat out that I had no plans on coughing or sneezing or anything like that for at least two weeks and that if I HAD something to cough up I would probably not have a choice and would do so, but since I didn't .... well, let's just say that I told her what she could do with that suggestion, and she walked off to report me to whatever authorities needed to hear about it. My husband busted out laughing as soon as she left and said, "Well. Guess they didn't take your b**** gland, did they?!" *grin* Nope!

Okay, so they came in to check the IV drip and my blood pressure and temperature every two hours the whole 24 hours post-op! Yeah, they woke me up when they had to. I had a Darvocet or percocet drip or something like that with a button and it was great. I'd be awake for about 10 minutes at a time for the first 8 hours and then I'd press the button and DH would say, "Good night, see you in an hour or so" and I'd drift off again.

You'll probably have some cuffs on your legs. These are interesting devices that didn't hurt at all, but they'd fill with air, hold, then release the air on my legs about once every 20 seconds or so alternating legs. This keeps the circulation moving and helps to prevent blood clots and such. I got to take mine off the second night.

The catheter didn't hurt me at all and I was grateful for it that first day and night. It meant I didn't have to try to get up to go to the bathroom every hour or so. There was a little pressure, but no pain as they removed it the next morning. They also removed my IV drip that same morning.

The bed was uncomfortable. BRING YOUR OWN PILLOW!!!! I have a sore back most of the time anyway and this almost did me in when I was semi-sitting up. DH brought me my pillow and I crammed the hospital pillow behind me for lumbar support and that helped immensely. The tv controls are on the side of the bed either IN the bed rails or on a remote wrapped around them. If you're a big tv user, this is a God-send. I don't watch tv, so I didn't care, but I did like the radio controls that were there and listened to the radio a lot.

Ask for tea with caffeine in it if you need the caffeine. I wasn't allowed the acidity of coffee until the second day and I was starting to have caffeine withdrawals so they brought me hot water and tea bags. It worked well. My DH brought me a little stuffed boxer puppy since I couldn't sleep with my own boxer dogs and the nursing staff thought it was the sweetest thing they'd seen in a while. Apparently one of them took my picture while I was sleeping with "Frances" in the crook of my arm, and they've still got it hanging over their nurse's station.

Above all, don't be afraid to ask anything! The nurses are there to talk to you and to make you feel better. So if anything hurts, or you're uncomfortable, press the nurse call button and ask them. If your IV starts to beep at you, press the Nurse Call button immediately - it means its starting to run low and you do NOT want it to run out. Blech.

1) a comfy nightie/pajamas for the second night if you're there.
2) your own pillow
3) a BATHROBE! They'll want you to walk the halls. And, even though it's painful to do so, you need to do it. You'll feel better by doing it. My husband went with me every step of the way and we were able to stop off in a small alcove with a window every so often at the end of it. It was nice and the nurses LOVE to see you up and about.
4) magazine or book for something to do when you don't have visitors
5) personal phone book so DH or SO can make phone calls to people to let them know you're okay.
6) hairbrush, comb, hair ties, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo (some will make you take a shower, some won't let you. I did and it felt fantastic!)
7) a dress or sweats or something comfy to travel home in...don't forget the coat and shoes!

Good luck. You'll be fine, I'm sure!

- Beakh
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Unread 12-06-2003, 02:22 PM
Hospital 101

Hey! That last post was pretty thorough. I think you should read the castle stories to get a good balance of bad and good experiences. Mine wasn't that good either. Tell your dr if your experience left a lot to be desired.

I had a blast in pre-surgery and recovery. Those nurses were the funnest! They were the most attentive, and the most informative. Ask questions - they love to answer those for you.

When you get into your room, you will be interrupted every half hour or so for vital checks and "bag" checks. After they take out the catheter they may only interrupt your sleep every hour. Do not expect to get a lot of rest in the hospital, and make sure those nurses do what you ask them to in a timely manner. If your good manners don't impress them, complain to your dr.

Take care, and good luck!
Unread 12-06-2003, 02:38 PM
Hospital 101

Slippers, don't forget your slippers.........LOL..........
Unread 12-06-2003, 03:04 PM
Hospital 101

Hi Well, I didn't think to bring a goodie basket for the nurses and other caregivers. Wish I had... they really appreciate that. When my husband was hospitalized last year I would bring hershey "kisses" and "hugs". Also a basket with fruit, cookies, snacks. They loved it. Also thank you notes are good.

If it would make you feel more comfortable to see a hospital room when you do your pre - op, I am sure they would be happy to show you. And anytime you have questions while you are at the castle just ask.

Unread 12-06-2003, 03:10 PM
Hospital 101

i was in the hospital only one full night.....i did nothing but watch t.v.and sleep! when they come and get you to prep for surgery, make sure you tell the nurse that this is your first time. if you are scared/nervous........tell her! tell the anestesiologist (boy, i spelled that wrong!) that you are scared/nervous and have never been under any knock-out drug (only if that is true). they will do their best to calm you. just let them know you are new to this and they will guide you thru it. my best advice.........if you are in pain, tell them! and don't eat that awful broth!

relax.....look at it as one of those great experiences because shortly afterward, you will be glad you let them take all that nasty problem causing stuff out of you!

Unread 12-06-2003, 04:24 PM
Hospital 101

I wished I had a small drink flask and lid with a long straw in it.
It was a real pain first up trying to reach for a glass of water - and being a bit shakey...........more water seemed to spill everywhere except down my thirsty dry throat.

Unread 12-06-2003, 04:35 PM
Hospital 101

Wow, thank you for all the great advice. I especially liked the smell one! I too am very sensitive to smells! I am bring some lavender oil to sprinkle on my pillow. I am having a TAH so will probably be in for several nights. I have printed off all the wonderful hints and added them to my things to bring or buy list :-)

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