Thursday, June 28, 2012

Home Health Help

Being a great nurse to someone post-surgery isn't an easy job. Especially if you're usually the person requiring much of the attention/service. I categorize myself more high-maintenance than caretaker. But, this week, I've done everything possible to be a superlative servant. And, have learned a few tips along the way.

Priceless photo: TIm Nichols so happy pre-surgery. Heavily medicated, of course!

1. No matter what time you've allotted to be at the hospital, double it. Don't try to plan meetings/calls on the day of your loved one's operation. And forget getting lots of work done in a waiting room. Loud-talkers and fussy children will prevent that from happening. 

2. Stock up on everything the day before. And INSIST that the surgeon's office calls in your prescription in advance. Don't plan on doing this after you get your patient home and settled. There are usually too many requirements and needs. Plus, you will not want to leave him/her alone early on. When I say 'stock up', that includes goodies to make it more bearable for the one in pain and confined to the bed. 

Get the bedroom ready for your patient in advance!

A few more suggestions once you're home:
Wash and change sheets the day before the operation for fresh linens on the bed. It might be awhile before you have a chance to change them again.

Get a package of his favorite chocolate and mix in with almonds and cashews. Keep these by the bed for a snack, and to munch on when medicine requires 'taking with food'. The protein in the nuts will keep nausea at bay, and the sweet is a nice touch for someone not in the mood to eat.

Plan on having lots of fluids on-hand. If he's a Diet Coke lover, be prepared to say NO to the sodas (carbonation is not a good thing for recovery). Have something better to offer instead.

I put together a pitcher of naturally diuretic water that tastes fantastic, and helps with swelling

To make the water more interesting, place on a fab tray, cocktail style and put alongside his favorite magazine (my patient likes Esquire
One large cucumber, sliced (with peel)
One handful/bunch fresh mint
Two lemons, sliced in rounds
2-3 stems of basil leaves
One gallon filtered water

Steep overnight in the refrigerator and serve ice cold, bedside.

Fruits and vegetables are your friends. The vitamins are healing and their water content helps with hydration issues that occur with draining meds/antibiotics. Keep them available for a very random, strange eating schedule. Find a favorite like cherries (full of anti-oxidants) that you don't usually keep on hand. Food really is entertainment for the patient.

Ripe, locally grown cherries and peaches from The Produce Place
Don't worry about calories or treats during this time. If he loves Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia— buy it and serve it every night. I also found that a slice of the delicious (usually forbidden/avoided) coconut cake from The Picnic does wonders for keeping pain at bay.

We're still in 'recovery mode' at our house, so I'm curious to see if you have any suggestions on the topic?

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