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3 Recommendations for your hospital stay... 3 Recommendations for your hospital stay...

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Unread 05-21-2011, 01:38 PM
3 Recommendations for your hospital stay...

Hi there:

I had my TAH (kept both ovaries and tubes) early May 2011. While in the hospital after surgery I ran into a few irritating issues that I wanted to give women close to their surgery a heads up on:

1. If you get a catheter inserted for your surgery, there is the risk of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI). After the catheter is removed some of you will experience the same symptoms as an actual UTI but not have it, while others will have it. I have a history of frequent UTIs and while in the hospital recovering from my surgery I complained to my doctor about my UTI symptoms to which she replied those feelings are normal and at the time, I accepted it. What I SHOULD have done was requested a culture on my last day in the hospital (they won't due it early in your stay since you get an antibiotic in your IV while you have the catheter in) so that I could have known for sure to get the appropriate treatment. After leaving the hospital my condition worsened and, of course, it was on the weekend where my choices were suffer until Monday or go to the ER. I waited until Monday and my doctor ended up calling in an antibiotic for me (since I couldn't get to her office because I couldn't drive and because of my history of UTIs). I would have preferred to have known for sure whether I had a UTI or not (hate to take unnecessary antibiotics). Anyway, if I had to do it over again, I definitely would have requested a UTI test while still in the hospital.

2. Pain drugs make you nauseous. For me, having a little food in my stomach relieves the nausea. I had to fight with my doctor after surgery to allow me to have a few bites of bland food (bread or crackers with broth) in order to ensure I didn't get nauseous from the pain meds. Once I was allowed to eat a few bites, I felt much better. Doctors can be VERY rigid with their rules - i.e. no food during and right after anesthesia. But pretty much all pain medications warn you not to take these things on an empty stomach! So most people end up nauseous and I for one was NOT about to throw up after major abdominal surgery - oh the pain (not to mention the shaking and the sweating)! If I had to do it over again, I would have discussed with my doctor beforehand (so we weren't yelling at each other in the recovery room) that I REQUIRE a piece of toast with broth after surgery to ensure that I don't throw up. Their concern is that your bowels need to "wake up" from the anesthesia which is why they insist on no solid food until you pass gas (crazy in my mind as this could take days to happen and still no food to help keep the nausea at bay while taking all those pain meds). The way they act (docs) you would think I was asking to eat a 7-course meal after surgery (I wasn't even hungry - just knew what I needed). The piece of toast and broth didn't end up killing me and made a world of difference in the nausea department.

3. The hospital asks you for a list of prescription and non-prescription meds as well as dosing schedules to have on hand during your stay. They provide all of these medications to you - they tell you not to use your own if you have brought any. If you don't put the HIGHEST dose that you are liable to take then they rigidly restrict you to whatever you have put down. For example, say you take .5 mg of Xanax at home once per night but will occasionally take (2) .5 mg tablets if you really need them. Don't put down that you take only .5 mg once per night. Say that you take 2. That way, when they offer them to you, you can say you only need half the dose if that's all you need. If you feel you need more, you have them available to you. It is such a pain because they will not give you anything additional without clearing it with your doctor which means you need to wait until the following day - sometimes early afternoon before it's all been sorted out and of course you no longer need it. Same thing goes for OTC medication. I was DYING for some Gas X and didn't even think to put that on my prescription list since I rarely take it. Well they would only give me less than half the normal dose I would have taken at home! So make sure you list EVERY over the counter product you take - no matter how infrequently. Honestly, for me, the gas pain was the worst and even the IV drip meds did nothing to lessen it. It was horrible and I barely slept the first few nights and here they were handing me totally ineffective amounts of medication. Lastly, on this topic, make sure the pain meds dosing schedule is discussed with you and make sure you find it appropriate - BEFORE night-time. I found that (when they switched me from the drip to pills) the pills only kept the pain at bay for 4 hours. Trouble was, I got 2 pills every six hours. I asked the nurse - after feeling pain at the 4 hour mark - if I could do 1 pill every 4 hours. She said no. Well, I complained to my doctor the next day and she did switch me to 1 pill every 4 hours and that worked perfectly. The nurse wasn't able to make the change, but she should have offered to call the doctor.

Anyway, I pray that all of you have flexible doctors. I really like my doctor but these are things you have no way of knowing about until you go through them. My best advice is BE FIRM! This is your surgery, your body, your pain and your comfort we're talking about here. Hospitals are big business and it's always rush, rush, rush to the next dollar sign (er, I mean, patient). It's up to you to make sure your needs are taken care of.

Good luck! I hope this helps and if other sisters who have already gone through their surgery have anything to add, please do!
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