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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Facebook by the Hospital Bed

I'm not a fan of Facebook. It seems an overwhelming blob of fodder constantly raining down on me. The first few days in the hospital were much the same. I have always had the ability to come out of anesthesia well and seem alert. This is good for me, because I like to be aware of what is going on around me. The down side of that is that it makes me look good. I don't mean pretty. I mean it makes me look as if nothing has been wrong and I feel the top of the world. When that is added to my effort to appear happy and upbeat, I seem to be much better than I actually am.

I love all the people who came to visit me. I would not have changed anything about how much time and effort they all went through to come all the way to Murfreesboro and visit. That is a two hour commute from my hometown. I appreciate so much that so many people care so much about me. It made me feel good to know that, and helped me to recover faster.

My advice to anyone who is going to have a hospital stay after recovery.
  • Before going into the hospital, appoint someone as your assistant (bouncer, guard, minion, secretary).
  • Let everyone know that visitation will be a scheduled event.
  • Leave time between visits for mental re-energizing.
  • Cut off all visits at a certain time in the evening.
  • Take a calendar or notepad.
  • Be aware that the TV in your room may not pick up all the baseball channels.
  • Don't forget the 'no touch' rule.
Really, most of the people who came to visit all did it on my 2nd and 3rd nights. I understand that it was the only time many of those people could do that, because it was Friday and Saturday. To make that trip to see me required weekend time out of their schedules. The down side of that is that it exhausted me. I want to participate in the visits, but was at the end of my rope by 7pm each night. For two days I had visitors non-stop for the entire day. I needed a few short intervals of alone time during those days and was unable to get it. It also left me with long days without visitors during the week. There were times I wanted people to visit, but there was no one to do so (work, travel, etc.)

So, if possible, get your assistant to contact people who they know will visit. Call those with more time and ask them to visit during the work hours of the week, when most other people cannot. Have them make sure you get a half hour or so without visitors during busy days, between visits. It's a delicate situation to maneuver  but will help in the long run if you can spread those visitors out over your entire hospital stay, so that you have a consistent set of visitors but are not bombarded.

The notepad. I learned this the hard way. I know I became irritable with the note thing, but as time passed I realized what I should have done. The number one plan would have been to take the Franklin Planner and have the assistant mark everything down. That would be easiest. For example if someone came to visit on Thursday at 11am, just put their names down at that time. If something went wrong or an extra medication was asked for, or whatever, could simply be marked down at the proper time and day. Otherwise, number two plan would be to just take a notebook. Train your people beforehand  Make sure they understand what you want. For that matter, know for yourself what you want. I was ready to come home before I realized what I wanted. I wanted a journal of everything that happened. But in the least, get your assistant trained on how you want notes taken.

Realize that your assistant may be a group of people. I was fortunate that someone was with me every day and night. My family and friends took turns being my assistant. It was a great help, made me feel better and helped to keep track of what was going on. In the end I came home with a notebook of information about things the doctor said that were important, names of people who visited (because it's easy to forget while medicated) and any issues I wanted to pursue later.

Plan ahead with the hospital social life. It will make your stay much better.

NOTE: I was just reminded by a great friend of mine about the 'no touch' rule. Your assistant will be vital in reminding visitors to wash their hands, use the hand sanitizer (by the room door, on the wall). Then inform people not to touch you. It's just a best safe practice to keep sterile after surgery.

Monday, October 1, 2012


As of October 1st all restrictions have been lifted!

The past 7 weeks since returning home have seemed like a year or two. For the first couple of weeks I was mobile around the house, but not steady on my feet.

Getting back to normal-
This week I have burned my right hand twice and cut my left hand. Getting back to normal is not easy.

Here are some things that really helped during my recovery at home:

  • hiking stick (for getting around the house and yard)
  • grabber (bending over was just not possible for a few weeks)
  • step stool (for getting into bed, it's a high mattress)
  • chair (a good comfy recliner to lounge in)
  • bed with table (for all the things I needed to have handy at my bedside)
  • toilet seat (for a higher seat for not being able to bend over or to a low toilet)
  • shower seat (having to keep surgery area dry and not being steady on my feet)

good things about being served my food at home already porportioned (lots of work for my sister)

bad and good things about reaching milestones (too much too soon; false sense of being better)