One of the most common questions I get asked on the website and at support group meetings is ‘What should I take into hospital with me when I’m having bariatric surgery?’ Here’s the first of a new series of features from us focussing on pre-op questions. Hoping the advice is useful…
Whilst your hospital and bariatric team will give you a checklist of items to bring (or not to bring) into your room or ward whilst admitted for bariatric surgery, there are a few items that some patients (who have undergone the experience) would recommend.
Here are some suggestions that they have made, that you might want to consider adding to your bag, and purchasing prior to admission:
* The most important are medical documents and medications. The latter with clear instructions for quantity and dosage attached.
* some money (if allowed) but only for essentials – don’t take items of special value since they could get lost or damaged.
* some baby or wet wipes and/or facial cleansers for keeping yourself fresh and clean.
* lip salve/balm is a must to prevent your lips from cracking.
* an antiseptic mouth wash or mouth freshener isn’t essential but often welcome.
* an eye mask can be a Godsend if you can’t sleep in light conditions.
* ear plugs are recommended since wards can be constantly noisy places.
* bottled sugar-free, flavoured water and no-added sugar squash to ring the changes from the usual jug of bed-side lukewarm plain water offerings.
* a book or magazine for some light reading … this probably is not the best time to start ‘War and Peace’ though!
* a water spray or atomiser for spritzing the face and moistening the mouth and lips in the very early post-op hours when it’s difficult to drink.
* a phone charger for your mobile so that you can make those all-important calls home to family and friends who need an update on how things are going.
* headphones if you intend listening to music – hospital-provided ones (for their bed unit) can be most uncomfortable.
* a small padlock for your case to secure any valuables, although it is better not to take any into hospital with you.
* an extra-large towel for sleeping on, a flimsy cotton sheet over a plastic protector isn’t the height of comfort so make yours much more snug with this improvisation of a mattress topper.
* super-comfortable clothes to go home in, which means something loose, non-belted, slip-on and easy to put on yourself. Ladies opt for a non-wired bra since the wiring can prove to be too close to your incision wounds for comfort.
* a small pillow or cushion for placing between your body and seatbelt if travelling home by car.
* some patients do suffer post-op with wind pain…infacol helps with this so you may want to add this to your bag.
* loose-fitting nightwear – pj’s or nightie – your choice.
* your usual toiletries – some are usually provided but they won’t necessarily be as nice as your own.
* dressing gown and slippers – for when you back on your feet and on the move again,
* your cpap machine if you use one.
* not essential but sometimes back scratcher and a small hand-held fan will make a big difference!
* just in case you haven’t thought about it – a couple of basic bariatric cookery books and bariatric portion plate – with advice and recipes for all the stages you will encounter after surgery and the months ahead.