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Old 10th April 2013, 12:35 PM
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bluestone bluestone is offline
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

I would absolutely NOT let a nurse leave me for a shower again either-I dropped my clothes on the wet floor and panicked. Then when I went to pull the emergency cord I went faint and nobody came so I had to shout through the crack of the door, I almost passed out. I obviously wasnt ready.

I asked for anti sickness meds in the morning before my surgery-told a little white lie and said I had a phobia of bing sick. I must have been topped up the whole time because I never felt sick once. A few on my ward were being sick though.
Thoracic 72 degrees, lumber 30 degrees-fused aged 44, T2-L4, posterior fusion with costoplasty (8 ribs were chopped) on 3/11/10 under the care of Mr Ahmed at North Staffs Hospital. Now nice and straight
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Old 18th May 2013, 09:14 PM
Angeceilien Angeceilien is offline
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

I havve a very irrational fear regarding the surgery....ivr never had an op b4..... I for some reason am terrifief of waiting the 11 hours till my surgery is done the wait in mri is torture....logicallyit mudt be instant wake up also terrified of beingtold they had to stop the procedure and not finish....silly right?

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Old 1st August 2013, 09:15 PM
ashley005 ashley005 is offline
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Location: Southern California
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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, 10:19 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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Old 6th August 2013, 06:48 PM
Angeceilien Angeceilien is offline
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

I also have been on both sides. Ive had some lovely nurses and some that u could see were bitter. Defiently not an option here for cellphones. The nurses in the icu were great with me. In general ward they were scared to touch me cz of my spine...once I had to literally I slide out of bed (nobstrength to log roll to go pee) 5days post op! No nurse wanted to come help lift me. And when I said my pain was 5or 6 they would make me wait a few hours for the trolly.

Some would help me some flat out admitted b theybwere scare of spine patients and my cuts were abnormally large
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Old 7th August 2013, 09:25 PM
KMaxwell KMaxwell is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Washington State
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

Thanks for the tips from the nursing perspective, Ashley. While I know alot of folks in the group are from the UK or Australia, I'm in Washington state so I'm guessing the practices at my hospital will be similar to those in Southern CA.

Good luck with your surgery! Mine will be in October as well - posterior fusion for Scheuermann's.

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Old 22nd January 2014, 09:42 PM
koda koda is offline
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

Hi there new to site and finding it Very Helpful!
Just found out last month that my 10 year old Daughter has Scoliosis and at some stage will need surgery (very scared WORST FEELING in the world) as her curves are already 42 and 46
Just wondering if they give anything to help the parent sleep?
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Old 28th January 2014, 09:49 PM
Saila Saila is offline
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

Welcome Koda! I'm sorry to hear about your daughter needing surgery. What type of scoliosis does she have? I had AOS (Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis). Surgery is very very scary but it definitely is worth it to have a better future. I don't regret it. My curve was 64 degrees when I had my surgery done last year. They say, the younger you are when you have it done, the sooner you recover. Lastly, not sure about putting parents to sleep, as mine weren't allowed to stay over due to me being over 18. Good luck and best wishes for whatever decision she takes! xxx
Name: Saila. Age: 23. I had a right (sided) thoracic curve of 64 degrees. Anterior release and posterior fusion done with costoplasty at RNOH Stanmore by Mr. Sean Molloy on the 5th of June 2013. Fusion: T3-T12.
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Old 11th February 2014, 11:56 PM
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Mr Pleasant Mr Pleasant is offline
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

Hi, new to this site but I've been in the operating theatre about 6 times now (from what I immediately remember) though not for scoliosis-related reasons (2 ops on my left leg, 2 on my left thigh and 2 bone biopsies). So I guess you can atributte my 'advice' under the general column rather than something scoliosis-specific.
Also this is just from my own experiance, I'm hardly an expert so just take all this with a grain of salt.

Normally the standard procedure is that you cannot eat or drink anything that isn't water from the night before your op. So make sure you eat as much as you can beforehand, probably the only time I'd subscribe to the idea of gluttony. You'll regret it if the last thing you got to eat was a slice of toast.

When the time for the op comes around you'll probably go under via anesthetic administered by needle that will made the general area it was inserted very cold and that'll spread through the body till you go to sleep or through a facemask that pumps gas that 'tastes' something similar to nail polish remover. Regardless on how much you may hate needles, go for the needle. In my experiance the gas has only led to throwing up any food I've tried to eat later.

However, if you do go for the gas and you still 'taste' the gas in some way after the op then don't eat because you'll more likley than not throw it up again. Funnily enough I got rid of it via burping it out through cola. Little gross but it seemed to work.

Actually being under is something like a dreamless sleep. You're in the operating theatre, you're under, you then more or less wake up, either long after the op's finished or as they're wheeling you back to your ward.

Depending on the severity of the op (I imagine in most cases here you'll probably be hospitalised for a day or more after the op, though don't quote me on that.) you'll probably be still there for several days after so bring something to do. Whether that be a book or a TV series on your laptop/tablet/phone or something else is your choice, whatever floats your boat.

Then as always there's calling the doctor/nurses if needed, take the painkillers given to you (in my case it's normally been a morphiene drip) when the pain is moderate but not severe, and get as much sleep and rest as possible.

Not sure how much would help since I think I've more or less said what has been said already here but I hope that there is at least something that wasn't said before.
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Old 23rd June 2014, 10:18 PM
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GloomCookie GloomCookie is offline
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

I'm so happy this thread is still going, thank you so much to all the contributors!

I often feel that "if I'd known then what I know now..." is somewhat redundant if scaled up beyond a personal level; just share the knowledge man

I've had a GA every year for 6 years now so feel like a pro but that first time there's no way I could have muddled through without you guys.
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Old 26th July 2014, 12:29 AM
Amphy Amphy is offline
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Default Re: Your First Experience of Hospital

Ach, I really really don't want to scare anyone...

It was awful, for me, I'd say I was actually pretty traumatised by it, especially considering how stressful I sometimes find it to visit hospitals now (dizziness/panic attacks at times). Well, it didn't help that it went badly, though, that was a big part of it. Nerve damage and being on ketamine and hallucinating all over the place wasn't much fun. Still get extremely vivid nightmares now, and I never did before.

Ask about scaring, and if anything can help healing. Mine is painful/uncomfortable, feels kind of tight, so it's not simply about the appearance of it. It wasn't something the hospital addressed at all. Also get someone to check for you they removed all the stitches properly! Some of mine (at the top at the back, where I couldn't see) were left in, and I ended up getting a really nasty infection that took a long time to heal, not what I needed on top of the rest of my recovery, especially as it made wearing the brace difficult.

Make sure they pay attention to how you normally are. They almost gave me a totally unnecessary blood transfusion, because they forgot to check my details - my blood pressure is naturally low anyway.

I found it hard to be on the children's ward, with very young children. They'd cry often, which I found upsetting (tried to climb out of bed and cheer them up, but there was only so much I could do really, wasn't in much of a state to help), and kind of disruptive at night, I'm afraid. The nights were the worst, because I could not sleep and they really dragged on. If you're a parent, make sure kids feel confident to ask for painkillers and anything they need - I had to pretty much demand stuff in the end, because honestly the nurses were not caring at all. I felt so bad for the younger kids, ended up calling them over myself to ask them to give one girl her painkillers (they were intentionally ignoring her, I heard them talking about her and referring to her as a nuisance, even though in reality she was genuinely in pain and scared). I also hated the lack of privacy (worse because it was a mixed sex ward), being poked and prodded, and having things done to me, by nurses and doctors, without any consideration shown for how I felt about it, my sense of boundaries, or even if it hurt (being turned over was indescribable agony due to my nerve damage - I know they had to do it, it was the lack of any empathy about it that upset me). Expectations about my physical capabilities were decided based on whatever suited them (assuming I couldn't do something without even asking if I could or letting me try, demanding I do something I couldn't and treating me like I was being awkward if I said so or expressed pain), rather than based on what I could actually do. It was just undignified and dehumanising.

For anyone going into hospital, I hope your nurses will be lovely, and considerate. It's just so you're aware, in case.

I took some books, but actually couldn't read them at first, the print looked blurry to me because of the drugs. So maybe take audio books/music? I also had some nice new nightwear my grandma sent me (appreciated the light dressing gown especially), as well as a big kitty-shaped cushion, which I loved. Not only was it reassuring and nice for getting comfier, but hugging it was helpful for breathing (which I struggled with at first, especially standing). Any big T-shirts etc. may be useful, once I started wearing the brace, it was easier for me to put a big T-shirt on over the top.

The food was actually not that bad, but I found it hard to eat much for a while. Was really grateful for my mum bringing stuff like fruit jellies, and ice cream, and also to have my own bottle of juice (which also restored some sense of being in control of the situation, as it meant I didn't need to ask, and wait).

Family members do need to be supportive. My (spoilt) younger sister was absolutely vile, couldn't stand that any attention was being paid to me. Not only was she a brat (and at 14, she should've known better), but she distracted my mum when I really needed her.
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