My 10 tips for surviving a hospital stay....

Geoff the Gallbladder is coming out on Monday, I got the letter today confirming admission details. This prompted me to arrange my pre-op assessment. It's booked for Wednesday and it got me thinking, I need to start getting myself sorted out! 

Eeeek! I'm planning on staying with my parents for a few days afterwards so will have a hospital bag plus case for going to theirs to pack.

I'm by no means an expert, but going for my fourth operation in just over a year, and seeing MrC through six operations and over 40 emergency admissions means I've learnt a thing or two. 

The NHS website (which can been seen here and opens in a new window) details the basics, like nightwear, medications etc.

For me though, its the things you aren't told about which make a difference and the stay more bearable. No-one every rarely want to be there, are in pain and feeling ill, so these are a few things which keep me calm and positive, until I can come back home to my own bed!

1 - I take my favourite perfume, quick spritz not only makes me feel good, but can also cover any smells from elsewhere!

2 - Toiletries are the travel version, takes up less space and doesn't matter if they get lost. I take baby wipes too, good for quick clean ups and freshen, if you are too poorly for a proper wash. 

3 - Mouthwash helps take bad tastes away to and give me a bit of pick me up through the day.

4 - I take various things to keep me occupied, because I have the attention span of a goldfish for several weeks afterwards and flit from one thing to another. So books, magazines, crocheting are my go to things. Music is always great and I've also discovered the joy of audiobooks, so don't forget your headphones.

5 - On that note, ear plugs and eye mask can help get a good nights sleep on a busy or noisy ward. But please mention to the staff when you are going to pop them in. I can imagine a code blue being called if you don't rouse from a deep sleep! 

6 - I make sure my pyjama's look and make me feel good. Ok, I've had an operation and am feeling kinda shit, but you'll feel worse when you become more compus mentus and realise your comfortable go to sleepwear has got a hole under the arm and stains down the front. I also go for mix and match stuff so when you spill your tea down yourself you only have to change the one item.

7 - I also stagger visitors and ask them to keep their visits short. People coming in to see me do break up the day, but I'm in hospital for a reason and need to rest too. I also try space them out with time for a nap in between to get my strength back for the next one. Flowers and gifts are also better if they are saved for when I'm at home and can fully appreciate them. It can be a long walk to the car post op when released, imagine it with flowers, balloons and cards?

8 - Keeping myself hydrated (unless told otherwise. My friend went in for a heart condition and was on restricted fluids, so please check) Water is best for me, but if that doesn't float your boat, you can always have squash in between the tea trolley going around the wards. I tried fresh juices, but they soon go off in the heat.

9 - Another feel good tip, which @dorkymum reminded me of is take in a good moisturiser. Hospitals are very warm and you soon dry out! It was lovely to smother my legs before putting those ubiquitous surgical stockings back on. I have a handy bottle by the side of the bed for when I thought about it! 

10 - Mobile phone. I love to have my phone with me, lets me keep in touch with the outside world via Twitter and feel less isolated. However it can be a nuisance to other patients. So its kept on silent, calls are short and put onto airline mode at night! 

I asked for some tips on twitter earlier:-

I also had @mumonthebrink saying to have an escape plan and @kidschangenowt talked about taking your own booze! 

Have you got any-more top tips for a hospital stay? Let me know, so I can be as prepared as possible! 


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