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Unread 03-11-2002, 03:25 PM
Post Recovery Care

I am scheduled for a TAH on 3/28. I live alone in a two story house and will be responsible for caring for myself upon release from the hospital. Have any of you been in the same boat? I can use some tips and need help allaying my fears that this will be a disastrous situation.

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Unread 03-11-2002, 03:52 PM
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Hi Shelly,

This is a serious major surgery as you know. Friends, family, church friends, neighbors? If you have NO ONE to help the first few days or first week can you hire short term help? Perhaps a nurse assistant a few hours a day? Call the hospital or numerous organizations for short term help. I worry that you will endanger your recovery if you are alone. Wish I could help.

Unread 03-11-2002, 03:53 PM
Post Recovery Care

Hi Shelly,
I Haven't been in that situation. I came down to my mom's who is elderly to recover.
I think if I HAD to go it alone I could have. But we are all different.
Just have lot's of prepared meals, juices and bottled water on hand. Sanitary Napkins in different sizes have been useful too.
I was fortunate in that I had 6 days in the hospital. So felt fairly okay when I came home.
If you can sleep downstairs and not have to go up and down too much that would probably be good too.
Do you have a friend or neighbor that can atleast check on you daily and see if you need anything? I hope so.
Wishing you a smooth recovery.

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Unread 03-11-2002, 04:09 PM
Post Recovery Care

Thanks gals... for your support!

I have been stocking up on items I think I will need (tips from the hyster sisters) like prunes, gas-x, sanitary pads, ear plugs etc. These were some terrific ideas!

I think I am more worried about the eating, bathing, banking etc. Money is pretty tight here since I was laid off in November and am still unemployed. Both of my parents are gone ( my mom passed away in August) and my daughters live far away. I do have a neighbor who said she would go to the store for me if needed. I have thought about sleeping downstairs but, while the kitchen is downstairs the bedrooms and bathrooms are up stairs.

I am a pretty strong gal and have lived alone for 10 years now and think I can handle it .... except for the stair thing. I am worried I will pass out and no one will find me!

I think I will get a key made for my neighbor and ask her to check on me when she gets home from work.

I am also going to tell my doctor about my situation to see if I can stay an extra day or so.
Unread 03-11-2002, 04:35 PM
Post Recovery Care

Shelly, I had a TAH/BSO five weeks ago. I live alone. I live in a second floor condo, but once I am inside I am on one level. Anyway, I was VERY well prepared for the surgery, and it sounds like you are too. Stock up on lots of frozen dinners, soups, whatever you like. Have plenty of juices and tea (if you like it).

I did have someone checking on my on a daily basis who could also go to the store, bank, etc. for me. If you have a neighbor who is offering to do this, take her up on it!

I HIGHLY recommend a "reacher stick." For someone alone it is a MUST.

I will tell you, I was in the hospital five days. For about the first week I was at home I pretty much stayed in bed, reading or watching TV. Do you have a TV in your bedroom? If you do, just plan on staying there most of the time, rather than staying downstairs. If you are drinking as much water as you should, you will need to go to the bathroom often, and climbing the stairs every time for that will be annoying. I don't think stairs themselves are that much of a problem, hold on to the rail and take it SLOW.

I was able to prepare my meals myself and had no problems with showering. Again, I did everything super slow and careful.

Another thing I did, being alone, was to write down when I took my pain meds, antibiotics. It is easy to forget when and if you last took your medicine.

Good luck and don't worry. Many times I wished I could be like some of the other ladies with husbands taking care of them, but I am really proud of myself for being able to get through this and all in all I think it makes us stronger in the long run. You will be fine!
Unread 03-11-2002, 04:55 PM
Post Recovery Care


Thanks so much for your response. When I read it, it brought tears to my eyes. I know it will be hard to go through this alone, but, knowing that you did it successfully gives me a lot of hope! Where can I get a reaching stick? I noticed you live in the Bay Area so I should be able to locate a store that you suggest. How are you feeling now at 5 weeks post op?

Thanks again ~ you are an
Unread 03-11-2002, 05:03 PM
Post Recovery Care

Hi, Shelly -

I haven't been alone, but I have a husband with an injured foot who's hobbling around and we're kind of taking care of each other :-). And, other than getting in and out of my recliner for the first few days, I really could have managed on my own if I had to. But as Shelley said, we all are different, and I've had a relatively easy time (so far). Others don't and will need more help.

I would bet your neighbors and friends would be more than happy to stop by to check on you, do shopping, etc. Don't be afraid to ask for help!

You've already gotten great suggestions here. I'll add a few -

Getting in and out of bed - The nurses at the hospital will tell you how to do this without straining your incision. If they don't, ask!

Lifting heavy things will be a no-no. Your doc will tell you how much is ok - mine said 10 lbs, some say 2 or 5. So, put things (cat litter, laundry soap), etc. that are in big containers in little ones. I have a big laundry soap container that has a push button and can sit on its side, so I stuck it somewhere that I just have to push a button and fill a little cup.

Bending is something that should be avoided as much as possible, and may be hard for you. The reacher is great. Additionally, before you go to the hospital, put everything you can think of at waist level - clothes, dishes, food, toilet paper, whatever you think you'll use. Live with the clutter!

If you have a plastic chair, stick it in the shower - you can use it to sit on if you feel unsteady, or to help you wash your legs.

Keep a phone near you at all times so you can call someone if you have to

You might want to have a little cash on hand in case a neighbor has to make a run to the store for you.

Make sure you drink, walk, and rest!

You can do it!!
Unread 03-11-2002, 05:13 PM
Post Recovery Care

Oh, one more thing I thought of - in putting things at a level where you don't need to bend too much, don't forget things in the refrig. My crisper is way at the bottom, and if I behave and don't bend, I can't get things out of there - put stuff on higher shelves
Unread 03-11-2002, 05:30 PM
Hi Shelly

I saw that you are unemployed and I presume collecting unemployment insurance. Might I suggest you look into switching to SDI, State Disability Insurance. It is also available thru the EDD office. As we are both in California I assume the same rules apply. I was unemployed when my surgery was scheduled. My unemployment insurance had run out but I was eligible for SDI and it is paying more than DOUBLE what the unemployment insurance was. You can keep your funds in the unemployment kitty to return to when the doc releases you to go back to work.
My checks started rolling in before surgery. It has been a godsend.
Also, I recommend the grabber as well. Got mine at a hospital supply store. It is priceless when you drop something as well as getting stuff down from high shelves etc. I also rented a hospital bed table. It was only about $1 a day and is great cuz it holds everything you need and no reaching.
Good luck. We know you can do it.

Unread 03-11-2002, 07:06 PM
Post Recovery Care

I would suggest that you make sure you have food and everything else you need in the house. Do not be afraid!
you will not be helpless, they will have you up an walking in the hospital the day after your surgury. I got up at the hospital the day after my surgury and went to the " nutrition room" and got my own soft drinks. If you have no young children to take care
of you will bE fine, ( With no complictions )some of these poor sisters go home to 3 children under the age of 5 and have no help! Make sure you stock up on things you'll neeD.

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