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The Complete RED Survival Guide

Post-Op Tips

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* When you first wake up, relax.  You may have a breathing tube in (I hate those, but the best way to work with it is to relax).  Parents: stay nearby.  Communication is limited to improvised sign language when a ventilator is involved.  I remember being really hot when I woke up.  Fortunately, my mom was sleeping within taping distance (I highly recomend that all parents do the same). 

* Parents: If your patient has a latex allergy (like most of us seem to get), make sure all the nurses know this.  Either make or get signs that clearly, in big letters, say LATEX ALLERGY for the room door and above the bed.

* When you feel up to it, eat something.  This will help you in recovery and also allow them to switch your medications (for me it was from the drowsying morphine to a strong perscription Tylonel).  If you are unable to eat, you may need a feeding tube.  I didn't have one, but I've heard they're not a problem once they're put in.

* Be as honest as you can about your pain.  I know a lot of us like to suck it up and automatically answer the question "how are you feeling?" with "fine."  If you're not fine, say so.  They have this new system where they'll show you cartoon faces that represent the different levels of pain.  Don't be afraid to point to the crying face.  What you tell them is the only thing they have to help them help you.

* When you feel a little more conscious, send your parents out to the playroom to see if any forms of entertainment in there.  Many hospitals have videos and books (although, you probably won't feel like reading). 

* Don't look in the mirror!  I don't want to scare anyone, but after a surgery like this, you will not look that hot.  In fact, you might be a different color altogether.  It'll all get better real fast though.  Just be patient and wait.  

* Don't undo your braids.  If they didn't cut off your hair, it will probably have some betadyne in it which makes your hair kind of crunchy like hair gel.  It's best if you keep your hair contained (even if you undo the braids or whatever you went in with), otherwise, the betadyne feels rather gross.  

* I remember just feeling gross and nasty.  There's really no way not to feel this way, so your best bet is to try to distract yourself with movies, jokes, any mail you get, and sleeping.  Remember that you will get out eventually.  Then think about what a great movie your life would make...after all, only a select few of us get to experience this stuff (how nice, right?)    

 

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