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What to take into hospital?

Coco
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Hi,

when I had my lumpectomy a few years ago, I bought some button-front nighties. A bit granny-ish but a lot easier for wound access, and also to get on and off in future weeks until I could move my arm better.

Now looking for more when I go in for mastectomy this time.

 

 

Caroluna
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

My ace BCN said bring in a hand held fan as I will be kept hot post recon, to keep the blood vessels dilated but can use a fan. I'm also going to take a water spray which is my constant companion since having had me HRT wrenched out of my mits. And think I'm going to have a short hair cut to keep cool.

Also... I think I'm going to make individual packs of clothes/undies for each day I expect to be in, so my dear chap doesn't have to ponder over what to bring...  

Then of course there's the chocolate, gin and whatever other illicit substances I can smuggle in.

This obsessing about my baggage is becoming a calming ritualistic thingy to distract me from the purpose of this hospital stay, you'd never believe the lists I've made,  well you probably would.

So that's all for now.

 

Anjimaybe
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Thanks for this idea Cate M - I took a drain dolly bag with me and it was very handy and much admired! It is so much easier moving around at home too. I have my painkillers in there as well now.
gatesy
Member

After surgery


@Anna_BCC wrote:

Hi everyone

 

I have read in different threads that there are items which have been particularly helpful to individuals when in hospital undergoing surger for breast cancer.  I thought it would be really helpful to all those who are going into hospital for surgery to read and note what people have and have not found helpful.

 

Please share your tips and suggestions on what you found most helpful so that others can benefit from those who have already been there.  Please do also include anything you found particularly unhelpful as well.

 

EG what sort of nightwear did you find most comfortable when connected to drips and drains?

 

Best wishes

Anna

Forum Coordinator



Hello,

 

First time using this site.

 

I have my 2nd operation on the 8th , was dreading it , but after reading all your blogs I feel not so much on my own , the advice I know is going to be helpful, already re - packed by bag ! Thank you.

 

Living on my own its nice to know I have online support in the middle of the night over the next 8 months should I need it.

 

Thanks

x

 

Hi Everyone ,

 

Hope you all well.

 

I'm back home now , surgery was last week , I was looked after in hospital for 4 days , just waiting for results in a couple of weeks grrrr dont you just love this waiting !!!!

 

Feeling tired but each day getting less tired , even mangaged a drink of red wine in the local last night , tasted amazing ....

 

Being a good girl doing my exercises , helping doing them outside in the fresh air to power music wearning earphones, even though its freezing 🙂

 

ooops forgotton to mention a friend recommended tanning before hospital , I came out looking far to good !

 

Drain came home with me for a few days , easy to use , was told it would be painful when removed , but I had no problem  , but did ache next day , but after a ibuprofen it subsided.

 

Staying positive , out with my buddy tomorrow afternoon for sale shopping , coffee and gossip.Soon be back to normal.

 

Bye for now ladies .

xxx

 

 

 

Kim555pink
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Wish I had logged onto this forum a couple of weeks ago - those bags for the drains (drain dolly website) look ideal!! I had 3 drains in hospital which I carried around in an NHS pillowcase then came home with one which I carry around in one of those foldable fabric shopping bags, which is fine. Hoping my drain will be removed on Thurs - Christmas Eve, needed it in 2further weeks at home. That will be a great Christmas present! 🙂
Charlie31
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

A travel neck pillow was the best thing I could have taken.

Also, wet wipes, audio book, tissues, dressing gown, slip on shoes (not slippers) and a hairbrush so you can feel just a touch normal xx
Cate M
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

I recommend these for those dredded drains http://www.draindollies.co.uk/collections/all

 

I used them and they came in handy after the drains were removed for storing my medication in. They are made by a young girl, aged 26, who went through a prophylatic bilateral mastectomy. A percentage of the money goes to a cancer charity. 

TibetOne
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Hi thank you all your suggestions were so helpful when I went into hospital xx
Things I found useful in hospital and at home were:
Arnica really reduced the swelling and bruising
Loads of face flannels
Plastic cup / glass as nice and light to lift
Straws
Plus found it useful that I'd done loads of leg strengthening exercises in the lead up to the op,
As I couldn't weight bear on my arms I needed to hoist myself up with my legs only!
Xx
lavendersblue
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Had mine out yesterday as well Marli , so hurrah here too. Feel a bit battered and bruised today around the drain site , and like you my scar site is tight and pulling , with the odd stabbing pain !!! Am just doing the simple exercises from the leaflet they gave me in January .... don't want to overdo it at this stage .

Hope you feel better soon ,
Hugs,
Jill xxx

marli
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Hurray - drain out after 7 days. Hope it stays away. Can feel discomfort around surgery scar now I don't have to worry about drain ! lol  x

lavendersblue
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Yes me too , am hoping it will be taken out on Wednesday , certainly less fluid in it each day . Feeling a bit tight and sore too , hope you are feeling more comfortable .

Hugs,
Jill xx

marli
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Did take earplugs too but did not need them. There were only two of us on the short stay ward.

Still have drain in unfortunately - will feel better when it is out. x

lavendersblue
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Hope you are recovering well from your mastectomy marli , and glad the sleep mask helped . When I was in for my first mastectomy I could have done with ear plugs too , due to the ward TV being soooo loud . Having cancer is bad enough , but you shouldn't have Jeremy Kyle inflicted on you too !!! LOL .
Hugs,
Jill xxx

marli
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Had mastectomy Monday and stayed on short stay ward overnight. Sooo .. pleased I took in an eye mask as advised on here somewhere. Didn't get a lot of sleep but would have had none without it.

Would really recommend it. x

lavendersblue
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

So sorry to hear you are having more surgery Jillybee , that is a bummer !! Is it to help with the encapsulated seroma again ???

I am home again now , with another drain !! This time I am really hoping it is draining my haematoma ..... which certainly has disappeared since the drain was inserted ...just hope it does the job permanently . The surgeon ended up taking a bigger patch than he originally planned pre-op , said it was just for peace of mind and clear margins , not sure I believe him !! Will find out when path report comes in .

Hope everyone else keeping OK .
Hugs,
Jill xx

jillybee
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Hugs Lavendersblue......I am too,facing more surgery...gentle hugs...x
shirley182
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Hi lavenderblue sorry to hear your having surgery again i hope it goes well and sending you all my luv xx
lavendersblue
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Hi Shirley , I'm so sorry to hear that you are having to face this . I had my first mastectomy in January , and have to be honest would rather have had a bi lateral mastectomy . I had a radical mastectomy , taking my chest muscle , and found the neat flat scar was amazing . It didn't worry me to look at it , and it wasn't ugly etc.
However my remaining boob was quite large ( couldn't have recon by the way ) and I didn't like wearing my prosthesis very much . So when I was diagnosed with metatastic disease in my remaining boob in May , I opted for a second mastectomy ....and have to say have not regretted it . I like having no boobs , and being flat , after having big boobs since I was 11 years old , is great . I haven't had to wear a bra since my op on the 4th June ..which is a bonus too.
Unfortunately have to go in to hospital again on Wednesday as I have recurrence in my scar , so need a further WLX ....bummer .
All the best to everyone facing surgery again , or for the first time .
Hugs,
Jill xx

shirley182
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

I have been reading all your comments and advice on what to take to hospital can i please say a big thankyou to you all ..i felt very alone but reading your comments have really made me feel positive and that im not the only one feeling and going through this others are too ..im not alone and there is an end and it is positive . Thank you all so much
joyce11
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Hi Shirley

I had a single mastectomy on 22nd April and like you was dreading what it would look like as i am quite well endowed. It took me a little time but you soon get used to it - A reconstruction at the same time wasn't an option for me but the fact that the cancer has been taken away is some consolation and am now moving on to chemo followed by radiotherapy. Staying positive is difficult but important and one step at a time.

 

joyce

 

Helenbythesea
Member

Re: mastectomy help

Dear Shirley,

What you are going thrugh is perfectly normal.  I had a single mastectomy November 2013 - and first of all the shock of the diagnosis was enormous - as it does not mean anything but worse case scenario!  Then you get told you have to have this op - and it is a big op - and then you have to allow for the healing time. 

 

Everyone, including yourself wants everything better asap.

 

I was lucky enough to have a reconstruction at the same time, and from the outside, sort of look the same.  But it still feels different.  I am still learning! 

 

So give yourself time - and remember what the Maggies Nurse said to me - the boob is only a small part of your body - start to consider the other bits!  It does work.

 

Helenbythesea

shirley182
Member

mastectomy help

i have just been told i will be having a single mastectomy next week...can anyone help i am so scared as i feel it will be worse having one breast than none ..is this normal ? the thought of seeing one bust what i had to me fills me with dread

lavendersblue
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Just out of hospital after my second mastectomy , and so confirming what was useful . PJs were a godsend as I could lie on the bed with no covers , it was really warm in the hospital , and legs etc all nicely covered , whilst wound could be looked at easily with button through jacket . No need of ear plugs this time as TV never on , thank goodness . Personally think they should only be allowed in the day rooms and not the wards !! Things I really needed this time were , tissues , wet wipes , pen ( filling in menus and evaluation forms ) phone , charger and my kindle plus usual tnings like dressing gown , slippers, washbag etc.
Hope everyone has as good an experience as I had , can't praise everyone on the ward enough .
Hugs,
Jill xxx

lavendersblue
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Good luck for your op on Wednesday , hope it all goes well .Sadly I am having to have a second mastectomy on either the 4th or the 11th June !! Bummer !! So have just been re-reading this thread to remind myself what to pack .
Hugs,
Jill xx

morrisbird
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Good luck for Wednesday!
mael
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Wow, Morrisbird, thank you so much for having taken the time to write all this 🙂 As I said in the other thread, I am due to be operated in Charing Cross next Wednesday, and seeing that it wasn't too awful it's hugely reassuring. Pleased you're recovering well! I will definitely bring some snacks since anyway I am a fussy eater, and as you say you were in a gown all the time, I will pass on the pajamas. Thank you again!! xxxx

 

mael

morrisbird
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Hi Mael

 

Sorry for delay and hope this is still in time to be useful!  Overall, my experience of Charing Cross was good - some admin problems, but quality of care was good.  I haven't had many problems, especially compared with others who have posted on this forum. 

 

There was a delay on the day of admission so I didn't get into theatre until midday (after arriving at 7.30am!) and then because my surgery was unusually long at 11 hours, I didn't get onto the ward until nearly midnight that night.  But that is all a bit of a blur because of the effects of the anaesthetic!  I was a bit surprised at having to walk up to the operating theatre or rather the anaesthetists room (I have no recollection of going into theatre!!) from the Riverside wing, through various corridors, and up in the lift.

 

Anyway, there were 4 people who had the DIEP the same week as I did, so they have lots of experience in doing this procedure.  They do make you get up quickly - in my case on day 2 although the surgeon wanted me up on day 1, mainly because of the DVT potential.  We were all on ward 10 which has the most spectacular view in London - I could see all the main landmarks from my bed or rather the chair next to the bed.  Just as well as I couldn't concentrate on anything for the first few days.  So didn't read anything on Kindle or even managed to play games.  I was relieved that people brought me Hello magazine and also the Evening Standard as that was all I felt up to.

 

At Charing Cross they leave you in your gown throughout, so I didn't need the pyjamas or even the dressing gown I took in.  They give you non-slip socks to wear so you don't need slippers either.  And I only put the bra and Bridgets on to go home.  I had taken dry shampoo but on day 4 one of the health workers washed my hair for me, so I didn't need that either.

 

What I found really useful were the eye mask and ear plugs.  For the first night it was me keeping everyone awake with my hourly flap checks, but after that it was someone else.  Also the wards are mixed healthwise (female only) so there were people with all sorts of ailments and some of them were up and about at night.  Eye mask also helps if you want to doze during the day, assuming nurses have let you go back to bed!

 

Food was dire!!  The menu looks good but the reality is different.  It was the main reason I wanted to go home.  So, have people bring you some snacks that you like - in my case cherries and grapes, as well as nuts.  They also seem to have overlooked the laxatives in the first few days, so I ended up pretty uncomfortable as the pain killers give you constipation!  A friend brought me prune juice which helped and then they started on the laxatives.

 

A physio will visit you with the BCC exercises and I was also told to do deep breaths to help with the tummy.  For the first couple of weeks, the tummy was really tight like a drum and you have to be careful getting in and out of bed.  One the nurses rolled up a towel for me and secured it with micro tape and that was really helpful.  The breast was just a lump on my chest at the beginning, though once the pain killers wear off, I agree with someone else on this forum that it feels like a bowling ball strapped to your chest!

 

The nurses, as with anything in the NHS, were really mixed.  The was very experienced in mastectomy care - she gave me lots of tips and also did the towel thing for me.  First couple of days I had Nimco (?) who was also good.  But there were agency nurses at different stages and some of them had no experience of looking after the flap so that was a bit worrying.

 

I had a friend stay for the first week, then have been fending for myself since then.  Friends have helped with shopping and also taking me out.  Recovery has been pretty good - all the consultants seem very pleased with the healing.  I take vitamin C and zinc anyway, but that has been attributed with helping the healing process.  Have also done the exercises religiously and have been massaging the scars with bio-oil.  Physically, it is going well.  Though I was a bit disconcerted to find that I have a 2 inch bald patch on the back of my head - I cannot see it, but others can!  Turns out it is the result of lying in one position for 11 hours of surgery and I am assured the hair will grow back eventually!  I have also had problems with my ankles, again because of the length of surgery.  And last week the tummy scar bled a tiny bit.  I was advised to stop massaging it for a while and to cover it with gauze so that the scab isn't rubbed off repeatedly by my underwear.

 

Speaking of which I am still wearing the bridgets and bras 24/7!

 

Main problem has been fatigue.  For the first few weeks I took naps every afternoon and have spent quite a few mornings in bed, but then found it disrupting my night sleep.  So am trying to stay up through the day.  I still get up around 9am and potter.  Seems ot vary a lot - I was quite exhausted last week, but have been more energetic this week (perhaps the sunshine helps!).  However, I went into town yesterday on the tube for the first time, and did get rather light-headed later in the day.  So am trying to be more realistic about what I can do.

 

Sorry, have a rambled on a bit, but I hope this was helpful.  Overall I rate Charing Cross highly.  

Do send me any other questions you might have and I will try to answer.  Good luck!  xx

mael
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

morrisbird, I am due to be operated in Charing Cross as well. How was your experience of the place? How are you doing now? How's your recovering going? Take care, xxxx 

mael

morrisbird
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Julia

 

I had immediate reconstruction by DIEP, though I fell into the one percent who have to have a vein taken out of the arm to supplement what is available in the tummy, so my surgery was longer (11 hours) and this may have affected how long I stayed in.  I was in for 5 nights and as soon as they took the drains out (what a relief!) they let me go home.  All the time I was in hospital they kept me doped up on pain killers.  I had the button morphine but only used it once. As others have found, the tummy was worse than the breast to begin with, though it is now the other way round.  At home I took paracetomol for a week, mainly at night.  But I didn't find the pain particularly bad, more discomfort.  Now, 5 weeks on, as it is healing, it sometimes feels a bit sore or itchy, but again nothing that needs any medication.  I see it more as the body healing itself.  All in all, it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be - just need to stay positive and trust the hospital staff.  Good luck x

GiulianaB
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

did you have the reconstruction after the mastectomy or at a later stage?

 

Was it painful?

 

How long did stay in hospital?

 

Thanks

 

Julia

morrisbird
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Back at home after DIEP exactly a week ago. Took practically everything that was recommended on this thread, however didn't need much of it!! I guess hospitals vary. I was at Charing Cross where they kept us in gowns the whole time, so didn't need PJs or dressing gowns, or change of clothes. What I did value were the mobile phone, chewing gum (couldn't clean my teeth for a few days), portable fan, eye mask and ear plugs (first couple of nights it was me disturbing everyone else with hourly checks, then it was the next lady!), small newspapers and magazines (couldn't concentrate on the kindle at all), prune juice (to help with the constipation). That's what I can think of for now, but if anything else occurs to me, will post again! Off for another lie down!
morrisbird
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Like JillyBee I have been following this thread and found it very useful preparation.  I go in on Monday and have my bag just about completed, so thank you to all the ladies who have posted here!

jillybee
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Am going in next week,and have used ths thread to compile my list.Another thing I have thought of is a plastic bag,to pop washing in
lavendersblue
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

I was in hospital in Jan for a radical mastectomy and found front opening , cotton PJs were ideal , but wore a pair that were a size larger than normal . They allowed for my two drain bags to be carried about comfortably and meant most of me was discretely covered when my wound/dressing was being looked at etc. We could use our phone chargers , which was great as I was in for three days .
Other things I found useful were hand wipes, tissues, and hand cream . I didn't have earplugs but could have done with them as the ward TV was so loud , and my bed was closest to it !!! I took a book to read , but hardly looked at it .
Good luck to all those about to go in for their ops .
Hugs, Jill xx

drdspg
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Also be prepared for tissue swelling! I presume I have had more because it was bilateral , but a loose style nightshirt 2 sizes up from what I normally wear is the only one I can get into. Pjs get in the way of the tummy stitches. To be honest, I wore hospital gowns for the first three days. They were so much easier, I really didn't care how I looked!

drdspg
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

I took in a pair of knitted ballet shoe type slippers that I had been given for Christmas. They have a " sticky/ grippy" sole and are so light weight they are perfect for initial excursions out of bed ! So glad I have them with me!

Neet53
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Thank you all for the info on what to take into hospital! I'm now feeling more prepared, although not quite in the "I'm going on holiday" mode!
keepmumsane
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Ive just got home and this list was great.

I felt much more in control just packing these bits and pieces.

The lip balm was my vital item. And ear plugs.

And a kiwi fruit drink for post op functioning bowels. Those drugs really jam you up.

The only thing I needed was tea bags.  At my hospital they lock up the tea so the visitors dont drink it all and I was positively gasping on mealtime rations. 

Its a comforting thing a nice hot cup of tea.

The cancer society provided a lovely heart shaped pillow, bliss and a wee shoulder bag to carry my drain in. So thoughtful.

Tucked a pillow in between me and the seat belt and car ride home was fine too.

Thanks to those who shared, really was so helpful

Xx

 

jillybee
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Slippy PJs will make you slip down the bed as well!!! I had cotton ones.It is difficult no matter what to get into and out of bed!!
drdspg
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

M&S have some silky looking pjs in with a button front. Quite respectable ones, I wish I had had slippy PJs to help move myself up the bed when I had the mastectomies- will buy some for the DIEP.

June_BCC
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Hello Trouble32

 

Welcome to the forums.

As well as the forums we also have a support helpline where the staff can offer emotional support as well as practical information. The free phone number is 0808 800 6000 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 10.00 to 2.00.

 

Best wishes,

June moderator

Trouble32
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Thank you to everyone who has posted useful advice, it was so helpful to read as I prepared to go into hospital for mastectomy and reconstruction. Although out the next day I found the lip balm invaluable and also throat sweets, as mentioned before your throat can be sore. I was also provided with a handmade shoulder bag in which to carry the drain bottle-as posted earlier these were made by previous patients and were brilliant as it allowed me freedom of movement. A cushion to use under the seatbelt made car travel a lot more comfortable. I appreciate all the advice in this thread as it gave me something I could be in control of, if only packing my bag! Thank you.
emilysss
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

My hospital gave me an over the shoulder fabric bag to carry my drain in - I asked about them as it was so very helpful and beautifully made and was told they are made by former patients. I guess they have been through it and know how much they help.

 

The best piece of advice I got from this thread was when you are going home, get someone to bring a pillow in. If you hold it close against your chest during the drive home it really stops you feeling the bumps and knocks - I took mine everywhere for the first couple of weeks!

valdermossa
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

hi there.

i have found out before i go in for my masectomy, yo buy some kiddie socks and large safety pins

for the drains. use the socks to put each drain in and attach under clothing with a safety pin.

im told it makes them so much more comfy if thats possible

deborah x

LollyMum
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

I'm also just through my max and DIEP recon.  I had two hospital bags - one for going in initially and another ready for my husband to bring in. I never used the second bag.  

I didn't need

pants until I went home because of the drain site. This is upsetting so be prepared. 

Any clothes at all - they check the flap and the drains all the time so gowns are better

Deodrant - as someone has said

 

I did use - alot

Baby wipes

lip salve

Ear plugs on one night (Notting Hill Carnival the ward was really busy)

I phone with some tv and radio programmes downloaded onto it. (You do need someone to charge it for you as you can't initially get out of bed to do that). 

Toothbrush and toothpaste - day 2 I got into the bathroom by myself and this gave me such a feeling of freshness

Flannels - I felt I wanted a clean one every day.

Fruit - they kept blueberries in the fridge for me and they really helped me eat at breakfast time. 

 

Food can be an issue - they tell you to eat to recover but I found eating really difficult for a few days after the long op. If you fancy someone get a friend or partner to bring it in. 

 

bettypoppit
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Just come out and this info was very helpful. I would add that dry shampoo would be useful too.
jillybee
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Following my DIEP,was adviced on new bra......one cup size down,and bigger bra.EG.you were size 38 c ,get bra 40 b
anx56
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

As well as all the things mentioned and a cool mist spray and some throat sweets mine was sore after the op.

Mel66
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Here's one I never thought through before I came into hospital... Make sure you have separates for travelling home in. I very rarely wear trousers or jeans and live in dresses and skirts. I arrived at hospital in a dress and had packed another, very comfortable dress to wear for the homeward journey. Having just given myself a good, all over wash with baby wipes, done my hair with dry shampoo, brushed and plaited it, moisturised all over (excluding wound areas), shaved my good armpit (Phillips Ladyshave.....another great purchase made after SNB and well worth packing in your hospital bag), squirted with my favourite perfume, I then went to put my rather lovely, yet comfortable dress on....
.....I'd forgotten to factor in the possibility that I may be leaving with drains still in place! Not a pretty picture and certainly not a look which will be found on the catwalk at any time in the near future!

Feeling like a complete Wally, I've had to put my PJs back on and phone my partner to ask him to bring me a skirt and top. Fortunately, he hadn't already set off on the 40 mile trip to the hospital!
Helenbythesea
Member

Re: What to take into hospital?

Forgot to add. Comments
pyjamas or night shirt with buttoned front - allows for drain to hang out, wet wipes for hands face and privates, parfume to feel nice and normal. Dressing gownn and easy slippers. Easy clothes to get back into - buttoned top. I had long loose skirt to pull on and long boots with socks yo pull on! Not elegant. Could not learn how to brush hair with wrong hand. Could not wash hands under taps with 2 things hanging out of back of hands so used wet wipes.... Took in vitamin c dicsolvable to keep off infection.......