Monday, May 18, 2009

The List (in progress)

This is a companion post to "things I wish I'd done differently" which of course I haven't written yet.

I have been cleaning house for the last few hours (okay, 2, but who is counting?) and putting stuff away, and thinking about some of the things that have been really really useful the last 8 weeks... so here is the beginning of a list which I think is helpful for future tx patients, or really, for anyone who is having major surgery. If you read this and have additions, let me know!

1. A lightweight flannel blanket/heavy flannel sheet. The more it's been washed the better. This can be your security blanket, plus it's the right weight to tote around on car trips to the doctor, and it's good to roll up and use for propping body parts when sitting or when in bed. I stole mine from my sister Kathy... but I think it may have originated with my grandma. It's still in my bed in a big long noodle shape.

2. Undergarments (I'll try to be delicate - yuk yuk yuk - with this). If you have any endowment in the upper body, it's good to have an unstructured bra or two. This can be really ugly and really cheap - in fact, it shouldn't have too much elastic or any clasps or anything. These can be surprisingly hard to find (check the Jr's section). The idea is not to support so much as to lift the girls up from sitting on top of your incision, plus it's easier to sleep. For later on, make sure you have at least one bra that doesn't have a thick band along the bottom. It may interfere with an incision, too.

3. Undergarments (the other end). At least two pairs of them, about two sizes larger than normal size. Preferably with little or no elastic on the legs, and low cut if you can find them. Boy shorts or boxer shorts... it's either that or go commando for awhile. (Ick.)

4. Cottonelle wipes. Leave your eco-conscience at the door and put your plumber on speed dial. These are really nice to have around when your mobility is limited and your intestines are freaked out by drugs.

5. A supply of gauze pads and tape for the various and sundry holes you will have. The nurse will tell you what/how to cover. My nurses suggested kotex or mini pads, which are, indeed, fabulous (and cheap), as long as you put them the right side down. (Men may need instruction with this!) Can be a little bulky so gauze pads are still nice for going out or having visitors.

6. Non-scented everything. Switch over. At least for me, any minor smell made me gag when I came home. Weird stuff, too, like toast.

7. Bring out your inner Hef and get satin jammies. Not only will you look totally stylish but they are much easier to roll over in, slide into chairs, go out dancing...

8. A hand held shower. It will make you so happy.

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