Jun 29, 2015 03:09PM mdoc524 wrote:
Chi-Kat - totally agree with back scratcher - I have an adjustable one that I could never part with
Posted on: Feb 6, 2008 05:43PM - edited Jul 23, 2019 12:50PM by Moderators
OK, I admit it, I am a compulsive planner. I have had some great suggestions and tips not only regarding what to bring to the hospital, but also on how to prepare the house to make the recovery as easy as possible.
I am travelling for surgery so, for me, "packing" includes the first 10 days of post-op care.
I thought I would start a list (in no particular order) that might serve as a reference... PLEASE add your suggestions!!! Anything at all you either found helpful OR wish you'd considered before your surgery.
I am a bit of a MacGyver type and love creative uses for things like the lanyards and fanny packs for drains. I was wondering if a light/loose fly fishing vesy might be handy both for drains and for holding my phone, mp3 player, etc so I didn't have to reach so much... I am SUCH a geek.
Anyway, over-organizing seems to be keeping me occupied as my bi-latteral approaches. I know everything won't be a hit with everyone, but it gives us some things to think about.
******NOTE: MODS TOOK ORIGINAL LIST FROM Panchoandlefty AND COMBINED WITH OTHER MEMBER SUGGESTIONS UP THROUGH END OF MARCH 2015*********** We are happy to keep adding, and please let us know if we missed anything !
Combined list from what others have said in this topic !
Community member tips for Surgery
Tips for the hospital:
Hand sanitizer, antiviral Kleenex, Anti-bacterial adult wipes (in a pretty dispenser), adult "baby wipes" to give yourself sponge baths.
'skin prep wipes'. These help prep the skin for tape and other adhesives
Roll on or Spray Deodorant, NOT a solid stick.
Lozenges or hard candy of your choice.
A lip balm of choice
Face and hand moisturizer
A stool softener, dried prunes, bran cereal and "smooth move" tea, laxatives.
Clipboard, notebook and pen (for documenting when you had pain meds and drain amounts)
Zip up track suits or button up pajamas and shirts.
Slippers, cotton front snap bras
Silky bottoms/PJs to make getting in/out of bed easier
Zip up hoodies/ warm ups, soft flannel shirt is just right for after surgery.
Camisoles/tanks which can be stepped into (as opposed to pulling over-head)
Jog Bras (Natori is recommended) or whatever support is suggested by your surgeon
Pull on, easy pants or shorts, or shirt
iPod, Mp3 / Music player
Cell phone/ have friends' numbers handy!
Hair tie if your hair is long.
Lanyard (like for ID cards) for holding drains
Fanny pack for drains
Nurses can make a necklace from IV tubing to hold drains in shower
Luck trinkets or photos from friends and/or family.
A good eye mask and ear plugs in the hospital.
Take clothes to hospital that can be washed/sanitized at home
If you are going to sleep in bed and not a recliner at home, ask the nursing staff to show you the proper way to get in and out of bed with the least strain on your back and upper body.
If you feel you may not be up for visitors at the hospital, just let the nurses and staff know that you prefer no visitors except DH or immediate family. I knew that I was having a rough time emotionally as it was beforehand. I didn't want to put on a happy face for a friend, cousin or whomever wanted to stop by. I know the visitors mean well, but for me I just wanted peace & quiet.
Tips for the ride home:
Have a pillow and lap blanket for the car-ride home.
Fill scripts before coming home so you won't have to stop on the way
What to organize at home:
Consider getting something like the The Shower Shirt, a patented, post-surgical, water resistant garment designed to protect chest surgery patients, including mastectomy, while showering. Use code BCO for 20% off www.theshowershirt.com
Get a manicure and pedicure before your surgery, and a hair cut.
Before surgery, practice washing your hair, with or without help, with your elbows not moved away from your chest---either over the kitchen sink, using the spray or if your doc will allow, in the shower.
Or, arrange with your hair dresser to do your hair after you get home and cannot stand it any longer -- get someone to drive you.
Move commonly used items, kitchen tools, etc to low shelves before surgery
Find NON child-proof caps for meds.
Arrange all post surgery robes, pj's, button down shirts and hoodies on a rack in one easy to reach place so you can dress myself easily the first couple of weeks without rummaging through my closet.
Paper cups and light weight coffee cups for at home
Extra sheets to keep in rotation
Lots of pillows or a wedge or two!
A travel neck pillow - 'C' shaped - for keeping neck from getting a crick after sleeping in a recliner.
Tiny travel buckwheat pillows, or other small pillows.
Put an egg crate mattress on top of mattress and use a long body pillow.
Medical gloves (latex free or powder free)
Small kitchen garbage bags for dressing disposals
A little plastic waste can for at home
Find NON child-proof caps for meds
Lanyard (like for ID cards) for holding drains, Fanny pack for drains, or a camisole, or nurses can make a necklace from IV tubing to hold drains in shower. An old neck tie to use as a lanyard to hang my drains on while I shower. Works like a charm
A shower chair and a hand held shower nozzle. 3M Nexcare tagaderm transparent bandage over the port where it exited my skin when I showered. Also, have a lanyard to use for your drains in the shower. I just clip the safety pins on the lanyard clip for while I shower. It seems a little heavy on my neck while I shower, but I take it off right after I shower.
Get a humidifier for home if your air is dry.
Grabbers! These are about 23 inches long, have a handle that you sqeeze, and the end clamps on stuff on the floor. GREAT for pulling up your pants when you can't bend over, or picking up stuff that you drop, (like the toilet paper, etc!) I needed two of these, as I dropped the grabber! Great for pulling the wash basket along, too!
Make sure to get safety pins, makes it easier to pin your drain tube to your pjs.
Size 1 baby diapers, sanitary napkins or nursing pads for open breast incisions.
A small step stool has been a great tool to help me get in and out of bed
Make sure there's food premade that you don't need to fuss with (sandwiches/salads in individual servings), and also keep those drinks handy.
Cook some of my favorite foods and even ordered a couple takeouts from my fav restaurants to be on hand when I got hungry.
Purchase smaller sizes of soda/juice/milk.
Stock up on heavy items (laundry soap, dry dog food, bottled water, sodas) for 2-3 months! Remember to fill up smaller containers that are easier to pick up.
Put your shampoo, conditioner, and body soap in trial size bottles so they are easier to manage and lighter.
Stock up on stuff near bed - tissues, water, magazines, lots of pillows of all sizes, medicine, remote control.
Recliner or hospital bed- can be ordered from medical supply companies.
Drain solving problem: Zip-up hoodies or robes with pockets, I cut a slit on the inside material and popped the drains in from the inside. No one even knows they are there. It looks a little bulky, but much better than the drains hanging on my neck from a lanyard.
If you have someone a the house helping you out, when you need them call from your cell phone to the house phone or vice versa. It was so much easier than trying to yell from upstairs.
Get Netflix or rent movies.
Have an insulated cup for drinking and book and lamp by the bed.
Have someone pour milk, juice, etc from big gallon jugs into smaller containers and leave on an easy-to-reach shelf.
If a can of something needed opening, have someone do it before they leave.
This thread started me thinking about what my husband/partner will need. So I am starting a basket of "surprises" for him. A friend is bringing it to the hospital to give to him after I am in surgery.
iTunes gift card - so he can dowload a book on tape, music, movie, whatever
roll of quarters - for the pop machine
deck of cards - surgery is supposed to be 8 - 10 hours. He can play cards with whoever shows up
remote control car -pure silliness but he will think it is fun!
box of Special K meal bars - at least he will have something semi-healthy to snack on
chapstick - hospital environments can be very drying
bottle of special single malt scotch - something he would never buy for himself, but will appreciate very much when he gets home
travel blanket - hospital can get cold
framed picture of the two of us
Posts 901 - 930 (1,112 total)
Jun 29, 2015 03:09PM mdoc524 wrote:
Chi-Kat - totally agree with back scratcher - I have an adjustable one that I could never part with
Jul 11, 2015 12:41AM mommacat4 wrote:
a back scratcher is a very good idea.
Jul 26, 2015 08:46PM Moderators wrote:
PrettyA, Welcome here. Geez, sorry you are going through this at your age (or any age for that matter!) Please know you aren't alone, and also please keep us posted on how your surgery goes. It is normal to be apprehensive, to say the least!!
Aug 9, 2015 02:01PM glennie19 wrote:
Bumping for soscaredhubby
Aug 23, 2015 08:13PM Xjerseygrl wrote:
Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions...now I know what I have to do in the next 3 weeks is go shopping & get things organized at home so I'm ready for my BMX scheduled for 9/14. Already have 6 pillows on my bed but will be checking out the noodle pillow and slippery pj's or sheets. Got my hair cut shorter and go back for a trim right before surgery trying to make it easier to care for.
Aug 26, 2015 07:39AM Simplicity wrote:
I go in for surgery on 9/4 Xjerseygirl. Nervous. Not sure if I am having a single or double yet. Trying to weigh my options. Ugh. Thanks for reviving this thread. I needed to look at it again.
Sep 4, 2015 10:05AM Gabby56b wrote:
I want to thank everyone for this list. I have had a lumpectomy and re excision surgery over the past 3 weeks. Now facing mastectomy and reconstruction. I want to make my recovery as simple as possible for my hubby....he is the best. Things detailed here are items I never would have thought of. thank you all..
Sep 13, 2015 05:22AM mommacat4 wrote:
Good luck to all you ladies who are about to have surgery and to you all who are recovering from surgery.
I just had a total hysterectomy (robotically) and I am recovering from that. I had 5 incisions across my abdomen, all but one has closed up and is healing. The one is still open and I now have to clean it out every day with a q-tip and pack it with a medicated strip and bandage it back up. It can hurt if I am not careful but I think the worst part for me is seeing that deep into my own body. This hole is very deep and I can see all the way into my own abdomen. It's weird.
4 days after I completed radiation therapy for my breast cancer I was told I have endometrial cancer. Thus the reason for the hysterectomy.
Ladies, take care of yourselves and dh. He needs you too. : )
Sep 13, 2015 07:40AM Gardnergirls wrote:
oh gosh mommacat14 so sorry you're having to deal with this. Things like this is what is making me super nervous. My first surgery is scheduled for 9/17. I'm worried after talking with genetics about the link with ovarian cancer. Will be talking with BS after I'm Finished upwith the mastectomies.
Sep 13, 2015 02:34PM mommacat4 wrote:
gardengirls, I think my mastectomy was easier on my body than the hysterectomy however to be honest my body went through a lot before the hysterectomy. I had the BMX then port placement, then 5 months of chemo, then 5.5 weeks of radiation, and not even a month later I had the hysterectomy so my body was pretty warn out from everything. It still is to be honest.
As far as ovarian cancer is concerned, find the best GYN that you can and get checked out. Keep an eye on things. It doesn't always mean you will get ovarian cancer just because they may be linked. A lot of woman (depending on their age) just have an oopherectomy to be safe. It is a personal choice that you should really think about and weigh ALL your options before making that decision.
Mods, thank you for your well wishes.
Sep 19, 2015 05:17AM - edited Sep 19, 2015 05:20AM by KittyL
What a great list! Although I'm having Outpatient lumpectomy on 9/28, this helps a Lot! Buying prunes, I'm already on moderate pain meds for OA right hip.
I'm an obsessive organizer, but never in this situation before, so this was super-great! (If I didn't have something "real" to organize, I'd make up something. Think it makes me feel in control of something uncontrollable. Thank you!
Sep 25, 2015 09:16AM rainnyc wrote:
This thread is wonderful--so helpful. Though there were things I went out and bought that the hospital supplied, like alcohol swabs for stripping drains. A few days past my surgery, here are a couple of things I haven't seen mentioned:
Instead of pants, I've been wearing skirts in a very soft, knitted jersey fabric. Very comfortable--there's no actual waistband. I think they were easier to deal with than pants those first couple of days. They were really inexpensive, so I didn't feel bad about buying a couple.
Noise canceling headphones for the hospital to go with iPod or iPad. Sleep mask: I couldn't figure out how to turn out the lights in the hospital at first. Chapstick and hand cream; my skin dried out in the hospital.
I ate a ton of fresh and dried fruit in the couple of days before surgery and as soon as I came home and managed to avoid needing a stool softener. I had it on hand but just waited things out and the system (for lack of a better word) started working again.
For drains in the shower, the hospital actually supplied an old-fashioned sanitary napkin belt (anyone old enough to remember those?). Great idea--I was planning on using an old pair of pantyhose, but this was a lot less messy.
Oh yeah: one of the meds they gave for surgery did a number on my tastebuds for a day. Just in case it happens to you....
Oct 20, 2015 01:34PM - edited Oct 20, 2015 01:39PM by edithcypora
Im supose to go to hospital in 2 days they tols me nothing to bring especially no valubles. I have no family to go with me so I am scaared they told me not to bring any thing not even mu phone but I have to bring it so I can call a friend to take me home. What do I do I am getting really scared. Having a left masdectomy and reconstrction same day at MSK.
Oct 20, 2015 03:25PM Moderators wrote:
Dear edith, Welcome to the community. We are sorry that your cancer brought you here and that you are understandably scared but we are so glad that you reached out to us. We wish you all the best with your upcoming surgery and we hope that you will stay connected here. You might also want to look at and/or post in the October 2015 Surgery thread. Stay connected her and keep us posted. The MOds
Oct 21, 2015 09:15PM Janett2014 wrote:
Yes, take your phone and charger. Also you might want to go back and read earlier posts in this thread to see what else you should take with you. I know you're scared; it's a scary thing to go through! The chances are excellent that you will do fine. Good luck tomorrow, and post again when you feel up to it. Do you have someone to help you at home for the first few days or so?
Oct 22, 2015 06:42AM Simplicity wrote:
Thinking of you today Edith! Hope you got Janets advice in time. Yes, take your phone and charger. I wish I could be there for you, sincerely. Were there, in your pocket, as some of the veterans of BCO would say :)
Oct 22, 2015 07:54AM rainnyc wrote:
Hope you get this in time, Edith. I had my bmx at MSK last month and it was fine. The nurses held my glasses for me and gave them to me as soon as I wanted them. So they will hold your phone if you need it and keep it safe. Good luck!
Oct 22, 2015 08:27PM Simplicity wrote:
Hoping you are well Edith! Thinking of you!
Oct 22, 2015 09:20PM Cubbie2015 wrote:
I have another item to add - if you are pre-menopausal, panty liners. I had some spotting post-mastectomy (talked to the surgeon and it could have been stress or hormones) and when you ask for a liner in the hospital, you get a foot long maxi pad imported straight from the 1960s. I was surprised these things didn't have an old-fashioned belt. My sister said they probably got them from the labor and delivery ward. I just wanted a thin liner, this was way more than I needed, and not that comfortable.
Oct 27, 2015 12:10AM Frill wrote:
Thanks so much for this. I've been going through making little separate lists - ride home, before surgery, at the hospital, need to buy. I still don't even know what surgery I'm having, just that it's the 19th. I have an MRI tomorrow so maybe I'll find out then?
Trying not to complain and hoping to make it through.
Oct 27, 2015 01:43AM ChiSandy wrote:
I only had a lumpectomy, but here are three things that helped when I was mobility-impaired after my knee-replacement surgeries:
“Sock aid” with long pull straps, which allows you to scrunch your socks on to it and then insert foot into sock and slip the sock aid out. Sort of like the sartorial equivalent of the bread-bagging tray at the self-serve slicing machine in the supermarket’s bakery dept.
Long-handled shoehorn, with the business end mounted on a spring for flexibility.
Shoes you can easily step into, without need for socks.
And of course, the aforementioned reacher. Pretty good idea for preserving spinal health anyway, surgery or not.
When I attended my pre-op “teaching session,” my surgeon’s nurse gave me a pillow called “Protective Pillow Purse” (aka P3) to keep arm away from operated breast, used for going home the day of my LX, resting and sleeping (and acting as a barrier between breasts and enthusiastically affectionate kitties); and later, long-distance driving (the main pillow cushioning my elbow from the center console, the smaller “joey” pillow usually in the “kangaroo slot” between shoulder belt and operated breast. (Caveat--the angle changes where your shoulder belt first contacts you--in my case, my neck on the other side, which produced a convincing imitation of a hickey. Had some ‘splainin’ to do, not always successfully).
Oct 29, 2015 11:25PM new__me wrote:
Hi everyone! I am having BMX with TEs on Nov 20 and expect to be home on the 22nd. Thanksgiving is 4 days later. I have been asked if we will be attending the extended family Thanksgiving dinner. I have no idea what i will feel like on day 7 post op. Will i be able to go? (Local)
Oct 30, 2015 05:51AM Janett2014 wrote:
I predict that you will feel like going to Thanksgiving dinner seven days post op. Since it's local, you can stay for awhile and leave when you get tired.