Author Topic: Seeking advice on helping during hospital phase  (Read 7405 times)

Speechpathkate

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Seeking advice on helping during hospital phase
« on: June 12, 2014, 11:54:33 pm »
Hello... I will be advocate and comforter for my dear friend when her hospital stay begins next week.  I am out of state and will only be able to provide face to face support for six days... So I'm seeking advice on what does or doesn't help...and any suggestions...   Her surgery is 6/18 at the univ of Michigan med center... If anyone has helpful insights to pass on, I would greatly appreciate it!  Thank you in advance  :)

lorigasper

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Re: Seeking advice on helping during hospital phase
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2014, 12:59:51 pm »
Greetings!
Thank you so much for the support you're offering your friend.  As you know, each experience is different.  I'll share my story and maybe it can help guide you in your planning.
My surgery took all day and I was taken immediately to ICU.  I was there 4 days.  In there, I had round-the-clock checks.  For the first day or two, I was pretty sleepy and not much of a party animal!  I did appreciate visits from family and friends, but some came by and I just slept.  I'm wondering if local friends could help with this part and you could save your days for helping her transition to home.
I spent 1 day in a regular room to make sure I could manage myself, which went fine.  I really appreciated visits that weren't as restricted as in ICU, and I was much more "with it."
I was REALLY thankful for help transitioning to home.  I arranged things so I could have everything I needed on one level.  I appreciated extra eyes to make sure I was taking meds on schedule, eating (I slept quite a bit) and getting to follow-up appointments on time.  I'm thinking this is where you might be most helpful?  Ask your friend, though...
Maybe this will give you some ideas.  Thanks again for the help you're offering.  It's priceless!
Lori
4cm AN diagnosed 4/13
retrosigmoid 6/13
tarsorraphy 6/13, SSD, rt side facial paralysis
tarsorraphy reversed 7/14
gold weight and scleral lens 7/14
CROS
12/7 nerve graft 12/14

cpchri1

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Re: Seeking advice on helping during hospital phase
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2014, 05:09:15 pm »
Hello Kate or ‘Speechpathkate’ –

Wow you are wonderful for your friend.  I think it could be boring for you but your presence is going to be important to your friend.  You could be a personal advocate during their ICU and hospital visit.  So depending on the surgery will depend on your involvement.  Make sure that if they don’t have family present, there is an arrangement with the hospital that they can be visited by you following the surgery, such as in ICU.  For me I had a six hour surgery; I was in ICU two days, and transferred into the hospital for two days, and then released and had to stay into the area for follow-up.  My wife was with me in the prep area prior to be taken to the surgery suite.  She awaited and after the surgery the doctors told her how I did.  Once I was transferred into the ICU she because my advocate and continued helper.  Although I was drugged up (waiting for anesthesia to wear off and on narcotics) I was cognizant and had needs.  Needed ice chips, needed my glasses, need to hear her voice, needed a blanket, etc..  When the nurses get busy on incoming into the ICU and I was somewhat stable, I was not a priority.  Now depending on the place they may not let you stay long.  But I did have an incident my second night where I was very cold and I hit the nurse-call button over and over (my wife was only allowed to stay 10 minutes per say); I was actually shivering.  But the ICU had an incoming emergency so no nurse attended to me.  I felt abandoned and since I couldn’t walk there wasn’t much I could do.  It was a scary thing for me.  Following that episode I complained and from that time on my wife was allowed to stay all she wanted and I was very thankful.  After being transferred into the hospital they wanted me to walk with a PT and I did.  But I wanted to be doing more exercise to be released and I needed someone to help me.  Once the catheter was removed I needed help getting to the bath room, getting my slippers on and so forth.  And you can help your friend because usually surgery results in balance problems unless that has already happened.  ANers need assistance to hang onto so we don’t fall after surgery during our early stages of walking.  These things may seem little but I am SO very thankful for the help I got 24 hours/day that my wife (later daughter) took shift turns to help me.  Don’t know if you’ll be able to do exactly the same (but try and stay as long as you can; even though surgery results in sleep; when I woke I needed HELP!). What helps?  1) being there to talks to 2) Assistance with little thinks (can you hand me that item, help me with my slippers, hand me chap stick, etc., and 3) Help taking little walks in the hospital hallways so the patient can be released as soon as possible.  Finally, they may need someone to help in the release process to a safe and restful place.  Craig
.7 x .6 x .5 cm left middle fossa approach 2/26/14
50% hearing loss left side before 2/26/14
50% hearing loss left side after 2/26/14
No evidence of malignancy
Bell's Palsy left side 15 years before 2014

Speechpathkate

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Re: Seeking advice on helping during hospital phase
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2014, 07:35:17 pm »
Hi Lori,  Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts!  I couldn't agree more on the transition to home part and I am hoping to help her with that until others are able to provide support.  Thank you!  Kate

Speechpathkate

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Re: Seeking advice on helping during hospital phase
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2014, 08:03:42 pm »
Hi Craig, thank you for your thoughtful reply and for sharing your experiences!  Minutes before reading your post I was folding a baby blanket that my mom used during more than one of her hospital stays many years ago... And I was debating whether or not to bring it (or something like it) with me for my friend to use in the hospital.  So thank you for giving me one less thing to consider!!  While I'm sure she'll be sleeping a lot... I want her to, as you say, hear my voice and know that she  not alone.  I appreciate the comments about walking and  I can certainly help there.  I wish I was able to be there beyond six days, but life and my own surgery makes it impossible... So I will do what I can.  Your stats look like you have recovered well, I certainly hope that is the case!  I'm happy to know that I can come here with questions  :).  ....Kate

cpchri1

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Re: Seeking advice on helping during hospital phase
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2014, 12:09:58 am »
Kate - That's great!  However long you can stay I'm sure will be a blessing to your dear friend.  Thanks for your help to the acoustic neuroma cause!  -   :) Craig. Anyone else have thoughts for Kate?
.7 x .6 x .5 cm left middle fossa approach 2/26/14
50% hearing loss left side before 2/26/14
50% hearing loss left side after 2/26/14
No evidence of malignancy
Bell's Palsy left side 15 years before 2014

Jill Marie

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Re: Seeking advice on helping during hospital phase
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2014, 11:35:11 pm »
Hi Kate,

You have received a lot of good advice already so there's not much more I can add.  It's been 22 years since my surgery and one of the things that really helped me was having something to hold when there wasn't anyone to hug when I needed a hug.  My sister suggested a stuffed animal or two so I told my husband I wanted a stuffed animal in my arms when I woke up, I got 3!  It was really nice to have them to hold onto during the night when I woke up alone.  I still sleep with them!  There were lots of family there while I was in surgery but they all left the next day as they all had jobs to get back to, my husband was the only one that stayed.  Sure wish they could have been there longer.  When I got home only one friend came to visit, no one called.  Either they were unsure how to approach me about the surgery or they figured they had already done there part as I broke my leg a month earlier and they all sent cards, visited and phoned then.  What I'm trying to say is, your coming from out of state for 6 days is monumental, that alone will help your friend in so many ways.   She is one lucky lady to have you as a friend!  Please let us know how she is doing after surgery.  Jill :)
Facial Nerve Neuroma removed 6/15/92 by Dr. Charles Mangham, Seattle Ear Clinic. Deaf/left ear, left eye doesn't water.

Speechpathkate

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Re: Seeking advice on helping during hospital phase
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2014, 01:46:11 pm »
Hi all,  just wanted to give an update.... Surgery for 1.8cm tumor was successfully and completely removed yesterday!!!  She appears to have no facial weakness and is not in significant pain.  She is, however, horribly nauseous to the point of vomiting.  She was given compazine in recovery and zorfran this afternoon.   I remember reading somewhere long ago that sucking on an apple slice helps (something for seasickness, if I recall) ... But the thought of an apple...or any food isn't appealing at this time.   Does anyone have any suggestions for helping with this?   Does anyone recall how long feelings of nausea were present?   Thank you in advance!!!   Kate

P.s. Craig,  SO glad I brought the blanket from home!!

lorigasper

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Re: Seeking advice on helping during hospital phase
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2014, 07:02:50 pm »
Hi Kate -

So glad to hear good news!  I'm hoping that the nausea is just from the meds.  Zorfran was what I took and I was much better in just a day or two.  They'll keep her on an IV of fluids and the sooner the meds flush out, the better. 

It could be that her balance nerve was annoyed during the surgery.  If that is the case, your friend may need a little more time to feel better.  If she's dizzy, that could be it.  I'm just hoping it's the surgery sleep medications.  That's simpler....

Praying that all continues to go well. 
Lori
4cm AN diagnosed 4/13
retrosigmoid 6/13
tarsorraphy 6/13, SSD, rt side facial paralysis
tarsorraphy reversed 7/14
gold weight and scleral lens 7/14
CROS
12/7 nerve graft 12/14

cpchri1

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Re: Seeking advice on helping during hospital phase
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2014, 09:48:00 am »
Hi Kate -  So thanks for the good news.  I had bad nausea too.  It was from the narcotics.  When they were injected into my IV was the worst.  A nurse taught me to breath in through my nose and out through my mouth during the injection for about 30 seconds while the major nausea passed.  This helped me.  Then I got off the narcotics ASAP once I was allowed to and switched as quickly as possible over to regular Tylenol (they would not allow any ibuprofen or aspirin products in case of CSF leakage that would require going back into the ORP as a precaution).  Once off the narcotics I wasn't nauseated.  Thanks again for supporting your friend!  Craig
.7 x .6 x .5 cm left middle fossa approach 2/26/14
50% hearing loss left side before 2/26/14
50% hearing loss left side after 2/26/14
No evidence of malignancy
Bell's Palsy left side 15 years before 2014

seandimom

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Re: Seeking advice on helping during hospital phase
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2014, 10:14:41 am »
Hi all, I am the friend who had the amazing Kate to care for me during hospitalization and to arrange for me to stay with a neighbor to transition between hospital and home with my special needs teen son.  I can only partly describe--can't do justice--to the amazing caregiving Katy gave me.  I get emotional just starting to write about it.  She did everything perfectly.  Ginger chews for nausea, special chicken broth/soup when nothing else tasted good, putting up with my vomiting and other joys, gently getting me up and walking, a blanket from her home to comfort me, a cute stuffed white kitten that reminded me of my childhood cat, checking on meds and alerting the nurse/doc when one made me hallucinate, talking with my husband about the need for me to get actual rest after the hospital..being patient, making me laugh, and so much more.  To have a friend like Katy is one of the greatest gifts in life.  I can never repay her.   I can only love her and try to be as a good a friend to her as she is to me.