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Old 11th February 2009, 12:00 PM
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GloomCookie GloomCookie is offline
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Default Your First Experience of Hospital

Ok, as discussed with Lynn in Lisa's thread, it occurred to me that a lot of people who come on this site (like me, when I first joined!) have never had any major surgery and go into the whole experience without knowing some of the things that can prove most helpful.
The "what to take to hospital" list is amazingly useful, but I thought if we could back it up with some of our knowledge it might help some people?

I'm thinking about things (both important and tiny little tricks) that I didn't know when I went in, like -

1) you can ask to see the pain specialist/team if you're really struggling with either pain or the effects of the meds they have you on, and you'll then be under the care of pain nurses as well which can really help.

2) if you are in the night before your surgery you can ask for a sleeping tablet to help you sleep if you're nervous, and

3) you can ask for a "premed" for before you go down to surgery if you're really scared and think you'll panic!

4) if the morphine etc is making you feel sick all the time you can ask for antinausea meds so you can keep some food down which will make you feel better.

5) if you're claustrophobic or just feel a bit ick with the oxygen mask over your face you have the clip that goes into your nose instead and doesn't dry out your face and mouth.

6) something which you all told Michael when I was in hospital that worked brilliantly - make a fuss if something's not right, don't just accept it!

Um, that's all I can think of for now, but I'm sure everyone has some ideas of things that helped them when they were in?
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Old 11th February 2009, 12:08 PM
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

Great idea for a thread Els I wish I could help, but going into hospital is completely normal for me! I do feel so sorry for people who have never been in before though, it must be very daunting.
37 years old, diagnosed with infantile idiopathic scoliosis at 6 months old with curves of 62(T) and 40(L) degrees. Casting and Milwaukee braces until surgery at 10 - ant release/pos fusion T1-T12, halo traction. Post op cast and then TLSO. Further surgery at 18 (ant release/pos fusion extended to L3 to include lumbar curve, costoplasty) and 25 (another costoplasty). Fusion extended to L4 at 33 (XLIF with 4 pedicle screws and two short rods). Pre-op curves: 76(T) and 70(L). Post-op curves: 45(T) and 35(L). Diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome aged 34; scoliosis almost certainly due to this rather than being idiopathic.
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Old 11th February 2009, 12:14 PM
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

Originally Posted by tonibunny View Post
Great idea for a thread Els I wish I could help, but going into hospital is completely normal for me! I do feel so sorry for people who have never been in before though, it must be very daunting.
Cheers honey I didn't want anyone thinking I was creating a "how to be a total pain in the rear" but there was so much I didn't know when I went in I thought it would be nice if people were a bit more prepared, if it's their first time!

Actually, another suggestion, if you're on a ward with people who can get up and about before you - make friends with them so they can do things for you
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Old 11th February 2009, 06:39 PM
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

This is a great idea GC I'll have to try and think back ...
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Old 11th February 2009, 06:52 PM
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

i don't know if i was lucky or i just got slightly different care (being in the marbled private patients area!) but all of those things were done for me!

i saw the pharmacist on the day i was admitted (along with a million other specialists) and whilst i was still lucid i demanded to be given anti nausea meds on tap. i duly was, through my cannula and was able to take as many pain meds as it took to keep me happy. i still didn't eat anything, mind. my mum had to whisk my food away because just the smell made me feel sick.

when i was in the HDU, very soon after my surgery, they noticed that the mask was annoying me and switched me to the tube which i was very grateful for. although you know when you don't need it anymore: when it feels like there's an uncomfortable breeze up your nose!

i got given a pre med (i didn't want one), i think because of my age. i didn't think it'd have any effect on me but i can honestly say that it did and the feeling it is most similar to is being slightly drunk (i couldn't stand on one leg to put my stockings on!)
Diagnosed in March 2001 by family GP after my mum noticed an asymmetry in my spine. Referred to a consultant at the RNOH, Stanmore and started attending consultations for x-rays twice a year. Prescribed a TLSO brace to be worn 16 hours per day. Began with double major curves at approx 48 degrees. Offered surgery in 2003 aged 16 and declined to continue with school. Requested surgery in 2005 instead. Had T11-L3 fused on 16th July 2005 and haven't looked back! Released for all activities in March 2006, having been driving and riding horses with consultant's permission since 7 weeks post op.
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Old 11th February 2009, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

id like to add that i would ask for pain releif and it could take up to 45 mins for them to get it,so me and hubs started writing down the times that the pain was worse (mine was 5pm and 11 in the moring) so we would ask for it 45 mins earlier so that i wasnt laying there in agony for up to 45 mins.
i would also like to ask does anyone know anthing about being moved,i was told i was only allowed to be rolled or made comfortable every 2 to four hours.
i had quite a good registrar and im afraid i told him everything!
i sound like one of those patients whos always shouting NURSE! and ringing the bell.really i wasnt half the time i couldnt reach it lol!
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Old 24th February 2010, 07:03 PM
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

Don't be afraid to use a bedpan! It's embarassing, but it's better than wetting yourself, or worse, hurting yourself trying to get to the bathroom (not to mention sitting down, cleaning up and then standing up)! Plus the nurses do that all the time.

Don't be afraid to hit that morphine button! My mom had to remind me about it all the time because I'd be groaning in pain and completely forget that I don't have to be! (Of course, some people will have an easier time with that than others...)

My mom used straight vitamin E on my scar and it's not even noticable in most photographs now (11 years later). Just get a bottle of Vitamin E gel caps, break them open, and have someone smear the stuff on your scar once it's begun healing.

And my last point... Try not to be self-conscious about your scar... I read about people going for years trying to cover it up, never wearing tank tops or anything low-backed, because they felt like it was "ugly"... Embrace your scar! Embrace your metal! Scars are beautiful, because they make us more human. Plus, you'll never lose in a battle-wound competition! I show off my scar as much as I show off my tattoos!
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Old 11th May 2010, 10:18 PM
ice_panda ice_panda is offline
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

I'll add one or two.

No matter how much pain you are in, don't ever ask to lie on your front for the post-op Xray, that was even more painful.

Don't let other patients get you down and tell you their woes if you are feeling fragile.

It is possible to turn yourself if you are a girlie and wearing a nighty just by pulling it out from underneath you.

Don't assume you will be able to stand on your own two feet at first, you won't!

Get some "dry shampoo" as showers will be out for a while.
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Old 14th August 2010, 08:47 AM
shanny2890 shanny2890 is offline
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Unhappy Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

something useful for me was to watch what you eat coming out of post op. I was given home fries (potatoes) and that made me severly constipated to the point where i could not stop throwing up blood
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Old 9th February 2011, 06:17 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

This was my sons first experience of hospital, and mine apart from childbirth of course lol

We were met by the whole team on surgery day, it seemed to take forever but within less than an hour they took him away for his pre med.

Post surgery : he was in icu for a couple of days and then in a side room (opposite nurses station) for 5 days and onto 2 days in a main ward. I think he was the only patient in the ward under 50.

Anyways, the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh is first class. I was allowed to be around for most of the day (i travelled a round trip of 4+ hours every day) and was made so welcome.

Everything that he needed, post op meds, anti sick, hygiene care, ice packs, were all automatically given and when he needed anything, he only had to press the all important orange button for nurse assist. He took a bad reaction to morphine and ketamine and they eventually found a drug that worked efficiently. He was quite poorly for a wee while with catheter, oxy, drainage bag, saline and antibiotic drips. It took a few days before he could get physically moved but when he got clear of his tubes and bags, they got him to roll side to side and then the physios got him up sitting and walking gently and confidently in the next days. They all seemed to be in good humour which helped distract him. He was in a lot of pain after making movements but that settled down too.

He was really happy to see Mr Garrido on his daily visits, telling him how he was feeling and Mr G always told him what was going to happen next. Mr G, anaesthetist and pain management nurse included me in these discussions. I asked and wrote down a lot of questions which they were happy to answer prior to discharge day.

I dont think anyone would have received better care if they had gone private… our NHS service is outstanding, god bless all the wonderful people who work there
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Old 8th April 2012, 03:20 AM
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

Only been in the hospital once (broken leg led to a blood clot and was in for 4 days/nights). I would highly recomend eye shades (not dark enough in a hospital to sleep well), a reading light (great when you can't sleep), and earplugs (too noisy for sleep, also). And if someone can bring real food once in a while, that's great. My hospital served highly processed garbage. No wonder people die in hospitals!
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Old 6th November 2012, 09:30 PM
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

This has all been very useful! Have been in hospital quite a number of times 16 to be exact for something else but have never had to stay in. But thanks for all the useful stuff mentioned will keep it in mind when i eventually get something done with mine.

Even though i have never stayed in something that might be good to take is books (if you can read and bare the pain!) and an ipod type device
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Old 6th November 2012, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

Well I've had two fractures before but this is v.different. The night before was the worst I was told I wasn't allowed any sort of sleeping pill so didn't sleep a great deal but afterwards it was plain sailing. I actually loved being in hospital I was in for 5 days and honestly used nothing I used my phone and that was about it apart from my mum's iPad (she sent mine home cos I didn't use it) like three times to check facebook properly and we watched the TV in my bay a bit because that was the way I liked to face but I never paid attention and don't remember what was on it haha.

I found my v pillow useful in hospital and I liked to lie on my sides most and they made me have a pillow between my legs for pressure sores and the v pillow was just the right angle and length for my legs
I'm Tiff, I'm 17, my consultant's Mr Gibson at RNOH Stanmore and I was diagnosed in November 2011 and I had my spinal fusion October 3rd 2012 and am now fused T2-T11 with amazing correction (60T/40L to 30T/40L).
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Old 1st August 2013, 08:15 PM
ashley005 ashley005 is offline
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

I'm a registered nurse and work on a medical surgical floor. I also have my fusion scheduled for October. So, I know (or will soon) both ends of this thread.

First, I have to back up myself and my fellow nurses. If you knew the bull$*&# we had to put up with, you'd know why we aren't able to answer call lights right away. Nowadays, most nurses have a cell phone with an extension. I always encourage my alert patients to call me rather than use their call light. The call lights are answered by a secretary who is doing a thousand different things in addition to answering call lights for the entire floor (30+ patients). Ask your nurse if there is a better way of reaching her directly. Have her write her number/extension on the board in your room.

Don't wait until your pain is unbearable. Ask for pain meds when your pain is a 5/10. It's easier to treat 5/10 than to wait until it's 10/10 when no amount of medication can relieve it.

Clump your needs together. If you call your nurse for pain medication, think of what else you need before you send her away to get your meds. It's really difficult to help someone when they ask for one thing, then you bring it, then they ask for another thing, and you bring it, and then they call for something else... It sounds harsh, but the reality is that while nurses do want to help, we are extremely busy. Think of it like a waiter in a restaurant... they can do their job better if you tell them you need napkins, more water, a side of sauce, etc all at once rather than asking one at a time.

Buy pizza for the nurses and attach a note on top saying "Thanks for all the care, love the patient in room XX". Promise you'll get better care. Sometimes just knowing our care is appreciated goes along way. We deal with a lot of rude and ungrateful people, so the nice ones are a breath of fresh air. Saying please and thank you go a long way... common curtousy is priceless. You'd be surprised how frequently people forget their manners.

Know who does what. Usually nurses work with an aide. Don't bother your nurse if you need to go to the bathroom (I feel mean saying it over and over, but nurses are so busy). See if your nurse's aide has a number they can be reached at directly as well (they should have work cell phones too). Your nurse will appreciate not being bogged down with doing things that someone else can do and will allow your nurse to get your pain medication (and other patient's pain medication) in a more timely manner.

Arrange for people to come visit you and encourage your family to help you. It's so nice when patient's have family that aren't afraid to help out. If your family is weary about helping you out of bed, be sure to have the physical therapist educate them on how to help the right way. Get your family involved. There's nothing worse than when a family repeatedly asks me to do things that they can really do themselves (again, this sounds harsh, but we are SO busy).

Not sure what showering is like post-op, but there are special waterless shampoo caps the nurse can order for you to wash your hair. Not many patients know about these. They aren't the greatest, but it's a nice alternative to nothing at all.

Most hospitals have you fill out a menu each morning for the next day. But, you can always call the operator and have her connect you to the "diet office" and request things that aren't on that menu. If there's something you like that's not on the menu, chances are they can bring it to you anyway. Can't promise it'll be what you imagined it to be, but do know there are more options than what's on the menu.

If you like your nurse and you've gotten great care, ask if there is a special form you can fill out on her behalf. It's the little things like this that go a long way. Again, you'll get more smiles and better care if your nurse knows her efforts are appreciated.

Hope these help.
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Old 2nd August 2013, 09:19 AM
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GillyG GillyG is offline
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

I have to admit, I always try to be thoughtful when I'm on the ward since I too work in a hospital (although in the labs) and do understand how hectic it can be. Most of the nurses I've come into contact with have been lovely, but there have also been the odd few who don't seem to appreciate that they are being paid to care for patients and have been surly and unhelpful. Thankfully, they have definitely been the exception to the rule in my personal experience.

One thing though - many of the things you mention in your post Ashley are not the way things are done in other hospitals, (eg nurses carrying cell phones, menu sheets etc) so not all of your advice will be relevant to others I'm afraid.

Good luck when it comes to your turn to be 'on the other side'
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