Suggestions For Post Op Care

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Take To The Hospital

-Books and magazines
-Phone
-Tablet or laptop
-Chargers for electronic devices
-Pajamas (You will feel better in your own pajamas than an ugly hospital gown. Trust me.)
-Robe (You’ll want to cover up when guests come to visit or when they take you to physical therapy or for any tests, such as MRIs or CAT scans.)
-Slippers, preferably ones with hard soles and/or rubber traction (You will be walking the halls the day after surgery, as well as making multiple trips to the bathroom)
-Snacks (Hospital food is heinous. Plus your sleep schedule will be erratic at best, and there’s a chance you could miss meals.)
-Cash for vending machines or coffee
(The family lounge in my recovery ward had a Keurig, but you had to pay 50 cents per cup.)
-Hard candies (Your throat may be sore if they put a tube down it during surgery, and the candies help soothe it.)
-Pen and notebook (You will want to jot down notes about your pain levels, as well as questions to ask the doctors when they make their rounds in the morning and evening.)
-Download movies on your tablet or laptop before surgery (The hospital charged $10 a day for tv in recovery, which I thought was absurd, so I just watched movies and tv shows on my tablet.)
-Something loose and comfortable for your discharge from the hospital (I did not anticipate the amount of swelling in my back, and the jeans I had brought along to wear home were incredibly tight. They rubbed against my incision, too. I ended up wearing pajama pants to go home.)
-Lotion and facial moisturizer (Hospital
air is very dry!)
-Toiletries (Makeup, hair brush deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, dry shampoo in case you aren’t able to shower, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc. One of the nurses gave me what was essentially a long plastic handle with a sponge on the end for bathing. It made it so much easier to wash my legs and shoulders. You might want to bring your own.)
-Cane or walker, if you already have one (The hospital staff can adjust the height and teach you how to use them properly.)
-Headphones or earbuds (There was another patient in the room next to me who would moan for HOURS; rather than crank up the volume on my tablet to drown her out, I just used my earbuds.)

After Care At Home

-Toilet Riser (That toilet seat is a lot lower than you think. A riser will lift the seat up 4-5 inches so you won’t have as far to lower yourself to sit.)
-Shower chair (You will not be able to comfortably stand long enough to shower.)
-Hand held shower head (This is especially helpful if you are using the shower seat so you can direct the spray. You will also want to prevent spraying your incision directly, so a hand held shower head will allow you to spray water on your shoulders so it just flows down your back over the incision.)
-Go-pher or other hand held grabby thingy (Basically an arm with a pincher claw on the end. You will want this to pick up stuff you will inevitably drop since you aren’t supposed to bend.)
-Walker or cane (This is a MUST! I used
the walker for the first few weeks. I found that it gave me much more stability when getting around.)
-Orthopedic seat cushion (You will want to reduce pressure on your spine when sitting. I found a great one at Bed Bath and Beyond for about $15 and it has REALLY helped.)
-Memory foam pillow (You’ll want something between your knees when sleeping on your side. You won’t be allowed to sleep on your stomach, and back sleeping is miserable.)
– Hospital bed (You can rent these fairly reasonably. If your bed is already quite comfortable, make sure it is accessible. Mine was too high at first and I couldn’t get into it until we removed the box spring, which lowered the mattress. My bed frame has slats at the base of the frame, so it doesn’t need a box spring. If yours is not designed like this, have
a piece of plywood cut to fit the length and width of the frame to support the mattress and lower it.)
-Recliner (If you don’t have one, try to borrow one from a friend or family member.)
-A well stocked pantry (Hit the grocery store before your hospital stay and stock up on healthy snacks and easy to prepare meals.)
-Prep and freeze crock pot meals (I did this the day before surgery. Just google “crock pot freezer meals” and you will find plenty of recipes. It took me about 2-3 hours to prepare 14 family meals. I then put the meals in gallon size ziplock
bags and froze them. After surgery, it took almost no effort to pull out a bag, run it under warm water for a few minutes to thaw it a bit, then dump the whole thing into the crock pot. Eight hours later I had a healthy, homemade meal ready to eat.
-Bottled water (Avoid sugary sodas, which will cause bloating and weight gain. Water will help flush all of the toxins from your body and keep you hydrated, very important when taking opioid pain killers.)
-Fill your prescriptions (Either before
surgery or upon discharge from the
hospital.)
-Vitamin E oil (This is to massage your incision once the staples or stitches have been removed, to break up the lumpy scar tissue.)
-Ice packs (I could not have lived without my ice packs. I found some wonderful clay packs that can be either frozen or heated, and they conform to your body. They also came with a cover that had elastic straps and Velcro closures so I could strap the ice pack around my waist and keep it in place whenever I was moving around. Make sure you have multiples so that you can always have one on and one in the freezer, ready to go.)
-Neosporin (Slather this on your incision and drain puncture to promote healing and prevent infection.)
-Hard candy (Suck on Lifesavers or Jolly Ranchers to prevent constant snacking and keep your mouth moist. Look for sugar free options.)

This list has just a few things, some suggestions to get you started on your own list. You might want all of these things or none, but I just wanted to share some stuff that I found personally useful during my recovery.

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