Top 10 Tips For Planning a Laparoscopy
Research: If you're anything like me, you'll blank and completely forget everything the surgeon tells you about the surgery. It’s a good idea to have some understanding of the general gist of what is going to happen in the operating theatre, unless you’d rather not then that’s totally okay. Keep in mind that the internet is not always the most reliable source, it is sometimes best to call your doctor and ask them to go through it with you over the phone.
Find your recovery person: After a general anaesthetic, you should have someone responsible to take you home and stay for at least the first twenty four hours. It is important to find someone that you trust, can drive, and ideally someone you aren't going to be embarrassed if they help you with showering and going to the toilet.
Meal prep: You are going to want snack food, not big meals, so it's a good idea to make sure you’ve done a grocery shop and prepared some meals to freeze and take out when you're hungry. Other ideas would be to get meals delivered from companies like Soulara, Hello Fresh, or Marley Spoon.
Bleeding: The first few days after surgery if you have a hysteroscopy or curette of the vagina, you are going to have some bleeding or spotting. It is a good idea to have some sanitary items or fresh period underwear ready in the bathroom. The giant pads that they give you after surgery are super uncomfortable and gross which is the last thing you need after being in hospital.
Clean the house: Make sure you clean the house before surgery because you absolutely will not be up for cleaning duties anytime soon. It’s good idea to ask family or a friend to come change your sheets/towels after a couple of days to keep a clean environment which helps the healing progress. It seems like a lot to ask but its not nice sitting in a dusty house or sheets that smell like the hospital from all your dressings.
Set up the couch: Set up your couch with sheets, pillows and a few blankets because you’ll want to go between the couch and bed. Trust me when I say to put a sheet down because one of my dressings opened whilst I was laying down and the bubble of blood went all over my pyjamas and the blanket. I spent most days on the couch watching television and kept the bed for sleeping overnight.
Loose and comfortable clothes: Make sure you have several comfy outfits ready. They should be loose, the last thing you want is tight clothing rubbing on your wounds. This goes for underwear, low cut to avoid rubbing and not your nice ones because they will likely get blood or other bodily muck on them.
Netflix and recover: If you don’t have netflix prior to surgery, I suggest getting an account and making a list of 20-30 movies you have already seen and enjoy. Don’t bother with new ones because you will be drifting in and out of sleep most of the day. Why not dvds? Simple. You are not going to want to change dvds every 2 hours are you? Having the list already created makes it so much simpler. Also make sure the remote is charged or has fresh batteries!
Shower chair: This is a bit of a weird one but I’m telling you this was a huge help for round 2. Find a cheap chair that can get wet without damaging it (ask your friends/family if the have one you can borrow). Place it in the shower before you leave for hospital. When you get home you are likely to want a shower and wash off the hospital and surgery smells but you will be too exhausted to stand for too long. So sit down and enjoy a shower without the fear of falling asleep, slipping, or hurting yourself. This was a massive help as I was able to sit down and get washed, no slips, trips, or worries. Sitting under the hot water also helps with the gas pain in the shoulder you will experience.
Side note: this is also helpful for those of you who would prefer not to be seen naked for personal or cultural reasons, or even if you don't have anyone to stay with you. This is a safer way to maintain your hygiene without being scared of falls.
Ask for help: Organise friends or family to come see you every few days. It can be very lonely and isolating during the recovery period. You start to feel very overwhelmed and emotional not being able to carry out daily tasks or leave the house for too long. I had a friend come to watch movies with me for a day, took me to coffee for my first outing post op, and walk around the local park with me. It's so important to keep your mental clarity in check while your body is healing.
What to expect after a laparoscopy blog post coming soon!
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