Plan to be in the hospital for three to seven days, depending on your surgery. When you leave the hospital, you will need some help from family or friends. It will be important to have help with meals and taking medicines. Make these plans before your surgery.
Before you come to the hospital, get your home ready by:
- Clean and put away laundry.
- Put clean sheets on the bed.
- Put the things you use often between waist and shoulder height so you do not have to bend down or stretch too much to reach them.
- Bring the things you are going to use often during the day downstairs. But remember, you will be able to go up steps after surgery.
- Buy the foods you like and other things you will need. Shopping may be hard when you first go home.
- Cut the grass, tend to the garden, and do all housework.
- Have someone get your mail and take care of pets and loved-ones, if needed.
- Stop taking any vitamins, supplements, and herbs two weeks before your surgery.
- Stop taking ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) one week before surgery.
- If you are taking any medicines for chronic pain, please keep taking those until your surgery.
Other helpful tips to get ready for your surgery are:
- Eat healthy; this helps you get better faster.
- Exercise to help you be as strong as possible. If you are able to walk, do so for 30 min a day in the month prior to elective surgery.
- Stop smoking. Stopping smoking one to two months before a surgery puts you at less risk of having breathing problems and infection, and it helps you heal faster.
- Follow the orders you were given about taking blood thinners and diabetes medicines.
- Stop drinking alcohol completely for a month before planned surgery.
- This is a new way to decrease your risk of infection (up to two-fold).
- This is a proven to work in multiple studies and works better than plain nutrition supplement.
- It requires drinking 3 cartons/day of Ensure Surgery shake for 5 days before surgery and 5 days after surgery.
- The shake is not available in the stores, but can be ordered on-line from Walmart, Amazon, or Ensure websites.
- The cost of the shake is about $60 per 5 day supply before surgery.
- You do not need to buy or bring post-operative 5 days' worth of the drink; it is available on your hospital menu. Its use after surgery will depend if your blood sugars are normal.
Your surgeon may not want you to take this is if you have newly or poorly controlled diabetes, as this will raise your blood sugars.
Bring to the hospital:
- A list of your current medicines
- Insurance card
- Ear plugs
- Phone charger
- A copy of your Advance Directive form, if you have one
- Two packs of chewing gum
- A book or something to do
- A change of comfortable clothes for when you leave the hospital
- Toiletries you may want
- Your CPAP or BiPAP, if you have one
- Medical devices and documents, such as insulin and insulin pumps
- Your cards for any medical devices, such as nerve/bladder stimulators or pacemakers
DO NOT bring to the hospital:
- A lot of money
- Your home medicines
- Valuables, such as jewelry or non-medical electronic equipment
Belongings you bring may need to go home with family or a friend.
For your safety, plan to:
- Have a care partner during your stay in the hospital.
- Have an adult with you to hear your discharge instructions and drive you home.
- If you plan to take public transportation, another adult should travel with you.