Saturday, August 4, 2012

Preparing for your hospital stay

Pin It Preparing for surgery, the days and the night before--especially, can be nerve racking! I was told that my recovery time in the hospital can be anywhere from 1-3 days, depending on my progress.

The night before:
  • If you live more than an hour away from the hospital facility, I suggest staying overnight at a hotel that is minutes from the hospital. You never know if you could run in to traffic, detours, etc--plus you get to sleep in a little more! 
  • Bring someone with you! Your significant other, a close friend, etc. Someone you want by your side! It's not fun to be in the hospital all alone.
  • Buy an antibacterial soap. Shower with it the night before and the morning of your surgery. I found Dial bar soap (I haven't used bar soap in years! I usually use the gels), it was only 97 cents at Walmart for two bars. I used one and saved one for when I got home.
  • Don't shave near your incision sites. This can risk an infection, per my nurse's orders. However, I REALLY wish I would have shaved my arm, had I known she was going to put the IV there. She put so much tape it hurt so bad when it was removed...and my hair along with it!
  • Bring comfortable clothes to leave the hospital in. I brought a pair of elastic waist capri shorts that were not too tight, and a loose shirt. This way it was easy to get dressed, wasn't tight on my incisions, and most importantly, comfortable on the way home.
  • Bring books to read, or crossword/word search books etc to keep you busy. Honestly, I was only in the hospital for a day and a half and I did not use them, I didn't even play around on my phone much either, but if I had been there longer, I know I would have wanted them.
  • Bring deodorant, tooth brush, and tooth paste. I was not allowed any make-up or perfumes etc, especially before surgery.
At the hospital:
  • BE ON TIME. Even though you will more than likely have to wait for the doctor, be on time! Heck, even be early! I got there 30 minutes early and they took me right away for registration and pre-op. I did sit in preop for about an hour while the doctor was in surgery, but that was fine with me.
  • In pre-op, you will usually first meet with a nurse who will take your vitals and ask you basic health questions. You will also be asked several times what procedure you are coming in for.
  • In pre-op just before your surgery, your doctor should come and greet you, along with the anesthesiologist and a nurse who will be there during surgery. They will again verify the surgery you are having, and give you a chance to ask any last minute questions.
  • You will then be wheeled into the surgical room. (Mine had music playing!) They will more than likely wheel you right next to the surgical bed, which was so narrow! I even told the nurse, "You do realize I'm here for weight loss surgery right? Aren't I going to fall off of the table?!" He assured me I wouldn't....and I took his word. As far as I know, I didn't fall off, haha. 
  • Once on the surgical table, they had me lay my arms out on these other tables, and then the anesthesiologist gave me a "mask for oxygen," told me to take 3 deep breaths...and I remember taking two and then I woke up in recovery! (It obviously was not oxygen lol)
Recovery & Stay
  •  I woke up in recovery after being there for about 3 hours. I remember waking up and asking for my husband...and then I was in my room. I honestly don't remember being wheeled into my room. I don't even remember when my husband came into my room...
  • The nurse will come in and introduce herself, ask how you feel, and take your vitals. She'll also instruct on your medicine, which is usually morphine. It's a button you get to push every 10-15 minutes if you feel pain. I stopped using mine by later that night because it was making me have really bad headaches! The pain itsself wasn't too bad (I actually ended up sitting in one of the chairs in the room for a few hours because my back hurt really, really bad from laying on it flat for hours).
  • You will not be allowed any liquids or food for the first day. I was given a cup that had a sponge on a stick to wet my mouth if it was dry.
  • You will be asked to walk around to avoid blood clots. I was very nauseous, and made sure to bring one of those pink bucket things they give you.
  • Before you get to drink anything, they will take you for an upper GI. This is to check for any signs of leakage. They have you sip on this liquid stuff and watch it as it goes down...
  • The next morning they brought me some broth and sugar free jello. I only drank some of the broth, and tried the jello but it was disgusting! And I didn't keep it down for very long.
  • If I would have been able to keep it down, I would have been able to go home, but I had to wait until the next day.
  • You will not be allowed to leave the hospital if you are the one driving. Make sure you have someone to take you home!
I did a lot of sleeping while at the hospital. Surgery and recovery is so hard on your body. I did not realize how exhausted it would make me.

Be nice to your nurses! They are on your side and want you to be able to go home as soon as you're ready. They are only doing as the doctor has instructed them to do. You will probably get a rotation of nurses every 12 hours. (I had a nurse and a nursing assistant every 12 hours).

Oh, and on the way home...bring that pink bucket with you in the car in case you get sick. I surprisingly didn't on my two hour drive, I did sleep though. 

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