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Thu Aug 25, 2016, 11:24 AM

I need advice about staying in the hospital

I have my mastectomy tomorrow. I know I'll be staying at least overnight, so what should I bring? Is it okay or foolish to "sneak in" OTC meds like Neosporin ointment (I need it for my nose, believe it or not)? Will they let me wear my own clothes and slippers?
I've been using prescription meds for digestion (sorry diarrhea sorry), but I assume the drugs they'll be giving me will knock that out.
Any tips would be highly appreciated! And they'd better have Wi-fi!
I haven't gotten the call yet, and I'll ask most of my questions then...I'm just trying to keep busy today, and to be as prepared as I can be.

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Reply I need advice about staying in the hospital (Original post)
PennyK Aug 2016 OP
packman Aug 2016 #1
PennyK Aug 2016 #2
packman Aug 2016 #3
PennyK Aug 2016 #5
moonscape Aug 2016 #4
PennyK Aug 2016 #6
Ms. Toad Aug 2016 #7
PennyK Aug 2016 #8
slipslidingaway Aug 2016 #9
PennyK Aug 2016 #10

Response to PennyK (Original post)

Thu Aug 25, 2016, 11:44 AM

1. Just spent 3 days in the hospital

and somewhat of a veteran in that regard. Overnight is nothing - a cakewalk - BUT, probably won't get much sleep with a new bed, noise and nurses checking you every so often.

Bring a book or something to occupy your mind - word puzzles, crossword puzzle book, etc. They will probably have WI-FI - BUT some hospitals discourage you bringing your laptop or gadget in because they don't want to go thru the problems that might pop up if it "disappears" (you know what I mean?).

As for Meds - take them in a bag and ask the nurse. I don't see a problem with Neosporin but in all my stays they ABSOLUTELY do not allow you to use ANY of your prescription meds. They will give you their own so as to have control as to what goes in you and out of you.

Take it easy, be calm - the worst is the first few hours with the IV and this and that. Then it settles down into boredom and "When in the hell am I going to get out of here?"

And, yes, they will put you in that silly expose your ass gown , but probably allow you to have your slippers.

The worst part is the endless waits, the TV channel skipping, and the food.

You'll make it - treat it as an adventure - a piss poor one, but an adventure.

The nurses are your best friends -

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Response to packman (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 25, 2016, 12:02 PM

2. Thanks, packman

i guess I was nervous about one thing....I had been experiencing some shortness of breath, I went to an urgent-care facility, and in addition to a Z-pack for bronchitis, I got a prescription for an Albuterol inhaler. I still need it, and I was seriously considering just hiding it in my bag of stuff...but you're right. I'll just come clean.
And I won't leave my iPad out -- thanks for the warning.
I've spent some time in hospitals this year (I had a blood transfusion two months ago), and I know nurses are usually great (and my brother is an RN). I actually got "forgotten," though when my nurse left for the day and didn't tell anyone I still needed attention! I think I ended up spending two or three hours extra, hooked up at snail speed, because nobody reset my IV after a bathroom trip.

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Response to PennyK (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 25, 2016, 12:07 PM

3. HEY, DO NOT IGNORE THAT SHORTNESS OF BREATH

Get yourself to a cardiologist. Women get heart problems. That shortness may be an indicator of something else - yes, they may be shoving you out the door with a Z-pack and an inhaler, but for God's sake have them do at least some elementary stuff and tests on you for possible heart trouble. Do not want to scare you, but that's how mine started.

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Response to packman (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 25, 2016, 02:55 PM

5. Thanks!

I actually had a MUGA last month and all was well. During and prior to chemo, you get tested a LOT. No, this is definitely a respiratory thing. It began about six weeks ago, and my oncologist knew all about it.
When the hospital called, an hour ago, I told the nurse. She told me that inhalers are the only thing they let you bring in...and to be sure to use it before I come in! She did discourage me from bringing much stuff...I think I'll still bring a pair of PJ pants, a loose top, a long snuggly cardigan, and socks.
And I have to be there at 6 AM. I guess the earlier I get started, the better the chance I get to go home the same day...maybe? The nurse did say some do leave that day.

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Response to PennyK (Original post)

Thu Aug 25, 2016, 12:59 PM

4. There is no way I could sleep in

their gown. When I was admitted without notice, fortunately I was wearing a skirt and black slip underneath, so I spent the first night in my slip before friends brought my nightgown. The doc said I was the chicest there

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Response to moonscape (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 25, 2016, 02:58 PM

6. That DOES sound chic!

I sew, and during chemo, I became aware that I needed some new sleepwear! I got some very cool fabric -- waffle-knit cotton in an olive and black graffiti print. I made pants, shorts, and cami, AND a fantastic robe. Don't think I'll be bringing the robe, sadly, but the pants for sure.

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Response to PennyK (Original post)

Thu Aug 25, 2016, 07:41 PM

7. Good luck!

My strongest advice is to not go alone. Have a friend, family member, loved one with you anytime you are not physically or mentally competent to defend yourself against against the inevitable medical mistakes. (E.g. you are under anesthesia, on pain meds, or incapable of walking to the nurse's station.)

Hospitals, particularly the nursing staff, are chronically understaffed. They do their best - but there is not enough time for them to care for everyone as they deserve to be cared for.

I spent a month in the hospital a couple of decades ago - and have been a regular visitor myself - or with other members of my family. I could tell you horror stories that would curl the non-existent hair on your chest - but I won't. Nothing significant happened to our family, since there are virtually always at least two of us present. But particularly in that month I witnessed what happens when patients don't have an extra set of eyes, ears, and feet/hands to ensure that the patient doesn't fall through the cracks.

You'll be fine. My mother (two separate mastectomies) and I (partial mastectomy) took pain pills for the first 24 hours - probably didn't need them, but she and I share the philosophy that you stay ahead of the pain.

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Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #7)

Thu Aug 25, 2016, 07:49 PM

8. Thanks, Ms.Toad

My husband will be there with me as much as possible (assuming they do keep me overnight). And yes to pain pills! I had to use them last year, when I had shingles...it can really make a difference, and even help with your mental state. Over the past few months, I've experienced enough medical treatment to understand that you do have to speak up when it feels like something's wrong.

I'm hoping to be able to report back on how things went pretty soon. Tonight, I'm keeping busy with some Rachel TV and a sewing project -- a cool new tank top pattern.

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Response to PennyK (Original post)

Sat Aug 27, 2016, 01:00 AM

9. A little late, but hope all went well and you are healing comfortably at home, check in

when you are ready







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Response to PennyK (Original post)

Sat Aug 27, 2016, 08:39 AM

10. About to bust out of the Big House!

All went well!
My biggest complaint is that I had bad gas pains during the night. The nurse gave me Mylanta and I slept like a baby after that.
Seriously, not much pain at all. I'm amazed.

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