The stuff you don’t really want to know.
Here are things I wanted to know before surgery, but couldn’t find much info on.
Clothing – Bottoms: I purchased a few maternity skirts and pajama pants that were loose with a drawstring and a little bit big. This definitely was nice during my post surgery time. Yes, you are filled with the gas for a while, but also the incisions will be swollen and sensitive. In addition, underwear that does not have seams were nice, and those on the bigger side were great. I wasn’t sure where my large incision would be so I brought multiple pair (probably 20 for 12 days) and some that usually are my favorite pairs were not a favorite during these post surgery weeks.
Clothing – Tops: I also brought a few camisoles with the shelf bra – being that I was donating my right kidney, I had an extra hole right under my boobs in which a bra wasn’t going to feel good. My camisoles saved me and my tatas!! For curious minds, I think I finally wore a bra, loosely, on day 6 or 7 post surgery.
Slip on Shoes: I brought a pair of flips and a pair of slip on/off shoes. You really can’t bend over much so unless you have someone to tie your shoes, I’d go for a slip on pair. Socks are a bit hard to put on as well – so have some one around who is willing to help you.
Catheter: This was one of the things I was most worried about pre-surgery and ended up being a non-issue as everyone said it would be. They put it in when you are asleep and when they pull it out 2 days later, you just breathe and it gets pulled out. The downside is that every night they have to clean it with these wipes, and clean you off too. It’s just a bit uncomfortable, like there is a tube in your bladder. So looking back, I was a bit hyped up about it before surgery; it was actually really nice to I could just lay in bed and “pee” and not have to get up. Once I was off the IV, I could tell if I was drinking enough as I tried to get at least 500 mls each time before they drained it. J
Bathroom: I wasn’t required to poop before being discharged, which was nice to not have that pressure (no pun intended!). Once I stopped talking the norco, a few hours later I pooped; and then was regular (while not taking anymore norco). BTW – make sure you can be comfortable using the bathroom with other people around. You may need help getting up/down while you’re pants are down. And if you go out in public or a hotel, take the handicap stall – those hand grips work wonders when your abs don’t.
Pain Meds: I was on a morphine pump straight out of surgery. The button allows you to receive meds every 10 minutes with the push of a button! That guy was my bff! Every 10 minutes it would light up letting me know I could have more. The down side was that I had to have an oxygen monitoring thing in my nose, and covered my mouth, as long as I had the PCA (push button). Morning of Day #2 I was taken off of morphine and was given norco. I took 2 just to keep the pain at bay and continued to take 1 every 6 hours (unless sleeping) until Day #6. From there I took Tylenol every 6 hours and then weaned off of that as well. As of Day #9, I did not had pain medicine at all. I will say keep the norco around because when you get home, things may be different. I ended up taking one norco on Friday night to help me get settled and sleep.
Water: After getting off the IV fluids (they will leave the IV in your arm until you are discharged incase they need it), I was told to drink at least 2.5 liters a day. I was sucking down water like there was no drought! Every day my goal has been to have at least 100 ounces of water (2.5 liters = 85 ounces; 3 liters = 101 ounces). I have surpassed it; even rounding down when out to eat.
Chair not bed: When you get to up walk, don’t go straight back to the bed. Sit in the chair in your room; it will help put you more upright and a different position then in the bed. Speaking of the bed, the one I had always was moving – inflating and deflating so not the most comfortable at all times and definitely something to get used to while sleeping.
Stool Softener/Laxative before surgery: Make sure to take these at the earliest time they tell you too. I waited to the latest time and was up late in the bathroom. They will provide stool softeners to you post surgery so that when you do poop, it won’t be so bad.
Ladies: They like for you to be off birth control for 30 days pre-donation. That worked out fine on my “schedule” but then would leave me to have my period the weekend after surgery according to my regular functions. With the trauma that surgery causes to your body, I got it a few days early. My sister, the ER nurse, said this is very common for women who go through traumatic experiences. She said when women come in to the ER, sometimes it triggers them to have their period. Pretty sure my surgery is what caused the early arrival.