Getting your “ducks in a row” before going to the hospital can make your return home that much smoother.
Here’s a checklist of the things you’ll want to have in order before you go:
- Take your before pictures and measurements. In the months to come you’re going to have a hard time guaging your progress. For example, my family had pictures made for a church directory about 3 months after my surgery. I was in tears when I saw the photo and couldn’t see any difference. But when I compared that photo to my “before” pic, I could really see it and felt much better.Also, the measurements are for those times that the scale stops moving. And it will. But often during those times you continue to lose inches. Knowing this can save a whole lot of sanity.
- Get the house really really clean. Cuz you’re not going to be able to work on it when you get back, so the cleaner you start the longer it will take to get to “disaster” stage. Get all the laundry done in advance because you won’t be lifting for at least a couple of weeks.
- Get help lined up. You really won’t want to be alone the first several days after surgery. And if you have children, you absolutely MUST have someone else to watch them. The first week you’ll be sleeping a lot, interrupted only by bouts of walking slowly around the couch and constantly sipping water. Your hormones will be haywire and you’ll be very emotional. You will be in no condition to supervise children. See the page on Hell Week, and plan accordingly.
- Stock up on post-op supplies. Get samples of protein powders and drinks, as your tastes will change post-op and what you like now may go to waste. Have lots of sugar-free popsicles, broth or bouillion cubes, pureed soups with no chunks, Crystal Light or other sugar-free drink mixes, etc. You’ll also want a blender to mix protein drinks.
- Pack your hospital bag. You’ll want to take things like chapstick and slippers, but don’t bother with pretty nightgowns or robes. Women (especially if you’re “well endowed”) may want to bring a bra that closes in the front and is easy to get on. Just ask for an extra gown to drape over your back so no one sees your backside while you’re walking. Do bring: walkman/ iPod, loose clothing to wear home, and maybe your own pillow. Don’t bother to bring: books, work, etc. You really won’t have time to read.
- Start a journal. It will help with the brain surgery you have to perform on your self after the doc finishes with your insides. It will help you put the wild range of emotions you’re going to feel in perspective. And recording your journey will help you see later just how far you’ve come.
- Record some goals, both short and long term. Make them something besides “I want to lose a pound a day for the next 5 months” as that may not be realistic. But do decide where you’d like to be at the end of this journey. What weight, what level of activity, what type of life. Be sure these goals are realistic and are things that weight loss will actually impact. For example, losing weight may make you more confident, but it won’t by itself make you stop whining and complaining about life. If you have goals that weight loss alone won’t achieve, now is the time to also plan how you’ll attack them. What will you do to make them happen in your life? You’re going to be focused on improving yourself for the next year anyway, why not go all out?
- Savor your last moments of sanity. OK, that may be a bit strong, but the point is you’re about to embark on a very wild ride. Life as you know it is about to change. This is the time for the deep breath before the plunge.
There is no such thing as being over-prepared. It’s much better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it.
Let us know as your surgery date approaches and we’ll all be sure to say a prayer for your speedy recovery!