1. No visitors. Yikes this can be the hardest thing for some people. Take hope though, you are so not alone in the icu. There are people up the ying yang taking your vitals, giving you meds, checking on you, and getting xrays. From beginning to end there are people all over.
2. You must be your own advocate! While the staff may be wonderful, no one cares about you like you! From ordering your meals to talking about how you feel to your pain level, you must communicate that with your nurse. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.
3. Bring something you enjoy if you don’t like to watch TV, like audio books. A book might be hard to hold after surgery. I did bring an adult coloring book and pens for after icu.
4. Bring the toiletries you like. The stuff they give you in the hospital is not the greatest. Don’t forget your deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and face wash, moisturizer, and a good hand cream, you dry if you are stuck in the bed. A table mirror would have been nice if you can’t get to the bathroom as often as you would like.
Think about what you would take if you are traveling. Think light, and small sizes. Don’t forget your glasses and a case.
5. A comfy outfit to wear to and from hospital, and enough undies for your stay. Things that are easy to get on an off. Moving, bending, and stretching are an issue so go slow.
6. Make sure you give all your friends phone numbers to the family member that will update everyone on your progress.
7. Pay all your bills before you go in if that is possible, or give all info like passwords and account numbers needed so someone else can get them paid.
8. You will have holes all over your body, don’t be shocked. I was. The chest tubes alone were shocking. They are to drain all the fluid they pumped you with. I had 15 extra pounds of fluid. My legs looked like elephant legs. Central lines, iv tubes, a pacer thing with wires going directly into your chest to monitor your vitals, and a catheter tube. At least that came out the next day. Oh let me not forget the intubation tube. That’s is own kind of torture when you wake up with it down your throat after surgery. I had glue so I can’t speak about stitches or staples, make sure you ask your surgeon.
9. Meds, there will be several depending on how you are doing and your vitals. Go with the flow if you need pain meds. You just had a major life altering medical surgery. You have the right to know what they are giving you and what it is for. Don’t be afraid to ask. I found most all the nurses didn’t mind repeating or explaining.
10. You HAVE to move! PT is a thing. Walking and getting up will help you. You didn’t have this surgery to fall apart. Don’t be a victim. When you are able, get up and follow the suggested exercises then cardiac rehab. Eat better. You only have one life to live and this one is yours.
God bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you. I pray your surgery is guided by God’s hand and your recovery is fast and smooth. In Jesus name.