The hospital survival guide you are about to read is based on my own experience of having a liver transplant and being one of those people that always leaves things to the last minute.
My hospital survival guide is a guide to help prepare anyone that is going to a hospital for a major operation and what may lie ahead.
1. Plan, plan, plan is what we are told but, how can we plan when we really do not know what to expect? When we are told about planning, I think they mean have a bag packed and be prepared for the day the call comes. Know who to call to let them know you are going in, know who will look after the dog or the cats, know how the children will get to and from school etc.
My experience of the planning stage is receiving a call just before 11 pm on a Monday and throwing everything I needed into a bag right there and then to be ready to leave any minute. It worked for me but, not recommended if you have a long journey to the hospital and cannot have someone bring things at a later date so easily.
2. What to put in your bag? For me, it was a case of the more the better. However, I think I packed too many clothes which, in the end, I did not need. I spent the two weeks in the hospital wearing a hospital gown.
The essentials for me included:
- Moisturising cream. I needed moisturising cream by the bucket load as the medication and shock to my body completely dried my skin out.
- Toothpaste, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, face cloth & mouthwash.
- If you are anything like me, a mini radio.
- A good book to read once you are on the road to recovery
- Towels. You can take your own but, my hospital provided them and they were always very clean
- Slippers because an important part of the recovery is getting up and about as quickly as possible
- Spare change as hospitals often have shop trolleys come onto the ward. You can buy most things from them ranging from newspapers, toiletries, drinks, snacks etc
What is needed and to be prepared for both before and after a transplant.
- Strength to take everything in your stride and be able to trust the professionals who have looked after many patients like us before.
- Have an open mind and be prepared for the lows as well as the highs. From my experience, it is very common to get infections after a transplant and to have minor complications. I had both infections and rejection that were sorted with the correct medication and tests.
- Try not to rush your body. Everybody is different and recovers at different rates.
- Ask lots of questions while in the hospital about your medication, foods you can and cannot eat, support networks, steps after you first go home, who to call in an emergency etc.
- Never be afraid to contact your coordinators if you do not feel well. After all, it is better for them to say you are OK than sit and worry.
- Make sure you have your first clinic date booked when you leave the hospital and if your hospital is like mine, they should arrange for transport to come and pick you up and drop you back home.
My hospital survival guide is not a definitive guide to being in a hospital. I am sure there are many things that can be added to the list depending on the circumstances of the individual. However, it should help to cover the basics.
Thanks for reading.
Peace, Love and Light x