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Archive for January, 2013

Sometimes it seems like medical offices cannot call you back soon enough.  Something comes up, you give them a call, and then you sit there…staring at your phone and willing it to ring.  This tends to happen a lot for me when I’m going through chemotherapy.  With the long laundry list of side-effects there’s usually at least one thing once a week that I have to call in and ask about.  Hey, my kids brought home a chest-cold-plague and I’m hacking up green ooze, what should I do?  Hello again, it’s me, it’d seem my intestines have decided that the digestive process is not in their best interest.  Hi there, yeah that nausea medication? It’s not working.  Hey!  How’s it going? Yeah, see there’s this rash…apparently my skin dislikes the medication you’ve got me on.

It’s a bit of a constant back and forth.  I first call them, state my complaint, they prescribe something simple.  Wait a few days…and if that something simple doesn’t work?  Call again!  Try something else.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  Sometimes the first try will take care of it, other times all the calling finally just ends in a, “Why don’t you come in and see us,” because explaining it over the phone isn’t always enough.  Either way, you start to memorize a wide variety of hold music, random time-filling-adverts and little known facts about your hospital or clinic.  Didn’t know your clinic offered Hirudotherapy?  You do now.

Typically, for me, they tend to get back to me pretty quickly.  Though it never seems to be soon enough when something like a full body rash decides to invade and makes you itch worse than that three-week bout of chicken pox you had in the third grade.  Did I mention I had the chicken pox that badly?  Probably not, but I did.  I still have a few scars on my arms from it.  It seems pretty often when I point out scars to people it’s not the adventurous trip to the alpine slides scar on my elbow, nor the mastectomy scar, or the lobectomy scar, or the chest tube scars that grab attention.  It’s the chicken pox scars.  They’re not horribly visible, but for some reason it always seems to cause the knee-jerk reaction of, “You scratched?  My parents didn’t let me scratch.  When I was told not to scratch, I obeyed!”  Well, it’s easy to do if you’ve got a pretty minor case…but considering I only have three or four scars when my entire body was covered with an uncounted numbers of the things?  Including under my eyelids, down my throat, beneath my nails, under my feet, in my ears and nose…?  I’d say only four or five scars is pretty impressive to only walk away with as a third-grader.

So, once again, I’m sitting here, staring at my phone, twitching in my seat to keep my fingers from trying to scratch at the welting red that’s taking over the back of my neck and the base of my skull.  Yes, skin, you are complaining.  I’m not sure if you dislike cancer or the medication, but it’s OK, I don’t like it either.  Now if you would calm down and wait I’m sure there’s hydrocortisone cream in our future.

At least I hope so.

As soon as they call me back, that is.

Sorry, but this is the wrong Leech for Hirudotherapy. Just in case you were curious.

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I think I just made my husband’s day.  After dropping the kids off today at school I meandered over to the local store and got groceries and remembered to do just one thing…pick up pretzels.  Now this seems a bit of a mundane point to throw out there,  but I can say right now that those pretzels may be the one thing that lets my husband know throughout chemo that somewhere in this muddled pit of fog I call my brain right now there is a sliver of something holding on and listening.

See, chemotherapy has all sorts of fun documented side effects that just about any cancer survivor could tell you about.  Hair loss, immuno-suppression, nausea, etc, etc.  I’ll spare you the long list.  There is one side effect that I typically have the pleasure of forgetting each time chemo is over, only to be reminded of its existence once I start up again.  Imagine mixing the feeling of a constant need to snack with a dry-cotton mouth feel and the strange urge for sweets.  It’s bad enough that it simply has to be there, but the fact that no matter what I eat, no matter how much water I drink, the feeling in my mouth is always there.  Tends to lead to a rather unhealthy habit of snacking on sweets, chocolate, citrus fruits and juices.  While I encourage enjoying each of these things, moderation is probably a really good idea.  The only way I’ve been able to keep myself in check is to have a ready supply of gum and a thermos of water within arms reach.  It typically at least subsides me until meal time, which is probably a good thing.

This has, however, led to a severe lack of any savory sort of snacks in the house.  My husband doesn’t snack too much, but when he does he tends to avoid the sweet and reaches for a box of pretzels or some tortilla chips with salsa.  Chemo has made me a bit me-focused so I didn’t even take time to notice that while I was snacking from one end of the house to another, there was little to nothing that he found appetizing to snack on.  He’s not a complainer, but when he brings up something he’s not happy about, I know he’s probably been thinking about it for a while.    So I listen.  Somehow, even in my low-swing of chemo side-effects this weekend I managed to keep in my mind that he was looking for something to snack on and couldn’t find anything.   Even as I go on my upward swing of energy and am capable of taking on more tasks and being a normal person chugging down the aisle at Fred Meyer I managed to recall one thing.

Pretzels.  I deftly swung my cart down the aisle I typically avoid and snagged a large bag.  Just for him.

When he called me this afternoon to let me know he was on his way home from work I cheerfully pointed out, “Oh, hey, I have some pretzels for you!”  His voice had been a somewhat tired but in a good mood and he stopped mid-thought, lowered it a little and said, “…wait….really?”

“All for you, sweety.”

“…Have I ever told you how much I love you?” he said, his voice bordering on what I call ‘romance novel seductive’.  Something we typically do in jest.

“Yes, and they’ll be waiting for you.”

I suppose it just goes to show that even through all the crap of chemo a bag of pretzels can make anybody’s day.  I know he gets the brunt of all the chores and kid-caring the weekend after chemo, so instead of having those days off he’s doing not only his stuff but my stuff as well.  Typically exhausted by the end of the day and ready to call it quits at nine after the last child is tucked away in bed.

So I figure pretzels are the least I can do.

Now if I could just stay away from the chocolate.

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When I originally started this blog up I figured it would be a place where I, as a cancer survivor, could hopefully bring some help and humor to those facing or those knowing people facing the ugly disease.  It was a nice dream to sit back and think that all my medical stories were in the past and I could fondly reminisce in good humor.  Some day I’m sure I’ll stop finding new stories to tell, the same way that some day I’ll stop running into low hanging chandeliers and doorways built for people who aren’t over six feet tall.  Far fetched dream?  Likely.

Today was going to be another Chemo 101 post, likely written while in a half dopey state from the most recent chemotherapy.  Chemo was supposed to happen on Wednesday, but because for some reason my body likes to be difficult, chemo has been postponed.  Why?  Well, remember when I said I have veins of steel?  After settling down in my chemo chair, draping my new quilt over my lap, and pulling out a book to read for the next six hours it was decided that my veins did not wish to cooperate.  Here’s my situation:

  1. My veins, due to heredity, have always been rather pitiful in size.  They also like to hide.  My mother and her mother before her have this very same problem.
  2. I have been going through cancer treatments on and off for the last fourteen years.  Chemotherapy not only makes the veins shrink, but certain types of chemo can harden the vein walls over the course of treatment.  This does eventually heal, but it takes several years.
  3. My right arm is a no-no.  Due to not only the mastectomy on that side, but also due to the fact that they removed the lymph nodes. Removal of nodes means a higher chance of infection, therefore no blood pressure, blood draws, or IVs are allowed in that arm.  This is the bane of all nurses, however, because the veins in my right arm are downright beautiful.  Even I can find them, and I’ve no experience at all drawing blood.
  4. I have scar tissue on the crook of my left elbow.  This makes it even more difficult to find the larger vein in that arm.  The odds in that particular spot are downright horrid.  I’ve had exactly one nurse in fourteen years manage to draw blood from that spot.  Yet, even when I tell this to nurses, some feel obliged to try anyway.  This always leaves me walking away with a rather purple arm and multiple pokes.
  5. I have relatively low blood pressure, this adds to the “Where the heck are your veins!” aforementioned.

So after two different nurses and four different pokes it was decided, ultimately, that I would be going in for a PICC line.  A PICC line, if you want the literal description, is a peripherally inserted central catheter.

This is a PICC. Slightly different from a tunneled line, much different than a port, but still more permanent than an IV.

I had a lot of reservations about this and while I threw a little bit of a fit about it (I do have my own hissy fits, which usually result in me whining at the doctor’s nurse in hopes they’ll change their mind.  I try my best not to be rude or mean to them, since 9 times out of 10 they’re doing what they’ve been told and are quite awesome about making sure my needs are met.) it was eventually decided that they would schedule me the following day to get it put in.  My reservations, if you’re wondering, were not only about my veins.  If there was no way to find the vein, I thought, how on earth were they going to find one that would hold a PICC?  After only ten minutes of having paper tape over a bandage my skin will start to rash up and break out, a PICC is essentially taped to your arm as well, how would my skin take being taped for up to seven weeks?  With that in mind, a PICC has to be flushed weekly, as it is I’m having to drive 45 minutes to 1 hour to get blood draws and chemo appointments…would I have to start making that drive weekly just to get the tube flushed?  I have a three-year-old and a six-year-old, both every now and then want to be picked up–would I be able to pick them up with it in my arm?  What if the three-year-old accidentally pulled on it?  What if it got infected?  How will I change the dressing?   Needless to say I had a lot on my mind.    It didn’t help that I absolutely loved the port I had during breast cancer, so I was a bit bias about having something that would stick out of my arm as opposed to something that remains under the skin.

Even with all my doubts I was still told to go in for a PICC line.  So, on Thursday, I went in to have the procedure done.  As per usual, there were student nurses there to observe and another nurse who was learning how to put the PICC line in–this was additional to the nurse who would be doing the ‘dirty’ work, a woman who had been putting in PICCs for at least five years.  All four women were extremely kind and tried to put me at ease, letting me know everything I’d typically need to know…though it didn’t do much to calm my nerves, unfortunately.  They tugged out the ultrasound machine and lathered my arm up with the ‘goo’ and then proceeded to look for the best vein.  For some reason I still can’t quite figure out what technicians are looking for on an ultrasound screen.  I’ve seen echocardiograms,  ultrasounds on my two kids, and now veins…and for the life of me I still can’t make heads from tails on those things.  The nurses hemmed and hawed and finally found a vein they felt might work.  Then it was time for the pre-PICC-ritual procedure.  While it sounds ominous  it really just includes taking about twenty minutes of prepping supplies.  Everything has to be sterile, which means being extremely careful when you’re pulling out all the stuff that you’ll need.

Once everything was prepped and I was draped with sterile cloth over my chest, my shoulder, and my lower arm (why are all those things blue anyway?  The hair nets, the body covers, the drop cloths…everything!), that’s when the fun stuff began.  When they found the spot they wanted they pulled out the lidocaine.  Lidocaine is a lovely drug they use to numb up a small area.  Dentists use it to numb your gums and nurses use it to numb an area they’re going to be putting tubes in your arms.  Unfortunately it’s given via a shot, so the irony is that they have to give you a shot…to numb the area where they’ll be poking you again.  I couldn’t see much, as I was laying flat on my back with my left arm pushed out to the side, wrist-up, but I could feel all three shots of lidocaine as they numbed the area.  They were doing something, which I can assume was putting the tube in, and eventually I could feel the tube being threaded through my arm.  It wasn’t painful, as much as it sounds disturbing, but it felt weird and as it snaked up to my shoulder it then began to feel tight.  That odd feeling you get when your shoulders or any joints feel tight like they need to pop or loosen up, that’s how my shoulder felt.  While I wasn’t feeling any pain, it didn’t quite feel right, either.  I suppose I know my body well enough to know when something is off, because as soon as I began to feel this the nurse began to tug the tube back out.  (Fun fact 1: your veins narrow as they reach the shoulder, making this quite possibly the most difficult part of putting a PICC in on a normal person.  Add this to my vein problems and you get a whole slew of new problems.)

At this point one of the nursing students apparently began to look a bit pale and had to be escorted out of the room.  I suppose if you’re going to find out that this sort of work is not what you’re cut out to do, then the best way to find out is while you’re still schooling for it.  While this also made me really curious to see what was going on, I was rather thankful that I actually couldn’t see.

After a break they found a new spot, gave me three more shots of lidocaine, and tried once more further up my arm.  (Fun fact 2: once you’ve had your vein punctured on a certain point in your arm for an IV or PICC, you’re not supposed to give a try further down (towards the hand).  Because the blood in the veins goes up towards the shoulder, if you try in the forearm, fail, and then try in the hand, anything that gets injected into the hand could spill out at that new hole in the forearm.)  This time it hurt.  Not at the entry point, but somewhere in the underarm between the shoulder and where they were poking me.  Like hitting a nerve beneath the surface it caused me to flinch and actually feel a bit nauseated.  I didn’t want to go into a full nerve reaction, so I spoke up.  My mother, sitting next to me, pointed out that I have that brilliant high-pain-tolerance so listening might be a good idea.  They pulled the tube out, exchanged confused expressions, and uttered the ironic phrase, “I’ve never seen that happen before.”  I must be a rather large oddity, then, because I hear that phrase more often than I’d like!

This time they brought in a nurse with twenty years of PICC experience.  Now, while I can appreciate a nurse with experience under her belt, they tend to be a bit more brutal.  Not in a ‘I know better than you, just let me do it my way’ sort of way, but in a ‘I won’t flinch or back down if the patient is hurting because it’s probably just a quick bump and I can handle it’ sort of way.  Unfortunately for her the spot she picked seemed to be a bit worse than the other two and only a few inches in caused a severe stab of pain up my arm and through the nerve system.  It’s a terrible feeling, being in severe pain, but knowing that if you move you could make things much, much worse.  So while she tried to thread the tube I lay there, being a bit more vocal than normal, shaking, jaw clenched, and letting my eyes leak instead of following through with the urge to yank my arm away and run off to some corner to lick my wounds.

In summary the nurses all agreed that I should get a port and they conveyed that to my doctor’s nurse over the phone.  It took a little bit of convincing, but I’m glad I won’t have a PICC line sticking out of my arm for so long.  Come Monday I will be getting my port put in and chemo will resume on Tuesday once more.

My webcam isn’t phenomenal, and the bright sunlight outside whites things out a bit. Needless to say this qualifies as a PICC fail.

 

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A few days ago as I sat here in my comfortable computer chair my daughter came over to me with her little toy dolls.  You’ve likely seen these things in the checkout lane at the store, tiny little Disney princesses that have rubbery-plastic clothing that you can pull on and off.  My daughter loves these with a passion I’ve never seen in any other three-year-old.  Every time we leave the house these little dolls are the perfect size for her to cram in her tiny pockets to keep her company on a car drive or a shopping trip.

On this particular day she was trying to inform me (to show me that she knew, I’m guessing) that Cinnerella (Cinderella) has two eyes, a nose, a mouth, two ears, her ‘hairs’ and two broccolis.  I wasn’t completely listening at first, doing the typical parent and only vaguely paying attention while multi-tasking at the computer, but for some reason this caught my attention.

“Broccolis…?”  I echoed, turning to look at her.  She beamed proudly at me, holding up the Cinderella doll that she’d managed to somehow dress herself.

“Yes, she has two eyes, a nose, lips, and her hairs, and two broccolis.”

This time she pointed out each part of Cinderella as she named it.  When she got to ‘broccolis’ I about spit out the coffee I was trying to swallow.  Apparently Cinderella’s breasts are broccolis.  It was also very important to note that she had two, as well.

There are times as a parent where you feel the need to correct your child so that they know the true name of a body part, but you simply can’t bring yourself to do it because the word they’re using is downright hilarious.  This would be one of those times.  I’m not entirely certain where she got the word ‘broccolis’ unless it was when I was trying to teach her what bras and prosthetics are, but somehow she’s quite set on calling them that.  Needless to say that it was entertaining trying to explain to my father what she meant by broccolis when she put him in the same situation with her Ariel doll.

Someday I’ll correct her, or she’ll figure it out on her own, but for now they’re broccolis.  This particular point brought my husband and I to a rather humorous conversation late last night as well.  Needless to say it ended up spurring the picture below.

Because broccolis are worth saving!

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Hair free

Well, it’s gone!  This morning after having to put up with my hair falling out in chunks I decided I’d had enough.  I was finding hair on my pillow, in my keyboard, on my towel, in the bathtub drain, and all over the back of my computer chair!  So in the quiet of our dining room my husband managed to get most of the hair shaved into the trash before our kids came bounding in.  I was a little tentative on what their reactions would be, since my son was only two the last time I had cancer and my daughter was only an infant.  They stood there, watching my husband buzz it away, and finally my three-year-old daughter broke the silence.

“Mommy!  Your hair!”

I smiled, trying not to nod as my husband continued to buzz, “Yep!  It’s all gone!”

She stood there with a perplexed look on her face for a while before she tilted her head, grabbed her hair in her tiny fist and said, “My turn next!”  I did what I could not to laugh, and in my silent almost choking laughter my son piped up with, “But not my turn. I don’t want to shave my hair. My hair is beautiful!”

At this point my shoulders were shaking from laughter and my husband pulled the clippers away because he couldn’t shave in a straight line without laughing as well.  Needless to say we convinced our daughter she didn’t need a buzz-cut, but her offer (and my son’s lack of an offer) certainly lightened the mood.

Nothin' but me and my beaubeau now!

Nothin’ but me and my beaubeau now!

On another note the lovely BcomingFree nominated me for a blog award. I highly recommend checking her blog out, as she works towards a career in the medical field and battles cancer at the same time.

I’m a bit new to blogger awards, but it seems that all I need do is nominate five others that I think would deserve this award.

Alopecia Areata Hope – A local to me, with a lovely first name.  She’s a no-nonsense blogger sharing her story about losing her hair to Alopecia Areata.

High & tight in Brixham – Not quite so local, clear across the country and across the pond!  Love reading her recipes and her natural solutions she follows to keep her cancer at bay.

Take Back Teal – Really this gal does so much it’s hard to put a finger on just one thing!

wranglersrear – A fifty-year-old stage 4 brain cancer patient who isn’t taking his diagnosis sitting down.

Dollar per Month –  This blog was started for my cousin Jason’s charity that he and his cousin, Doug, started up.  Great causes, worth a read and definitely a charity to look into if you feel like giving.

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Yesterday I had the chance to guest blog over at 4women.com run by the lovely Susan Beausang.  The topic is hair loss, so if it interests you, go check it out!

Recently I did a bit of a chop to my hair in anticipation of it falling out due to chemotherapy.  I went in to my stylist and told her, “Have fun, but make it short.”  I was half expecting to come out with zebra stripes and a mohawk, but she kept it pretty safe.  There’s still a little temptation to go buy some blue dye and play a bit myself, though.

This is about as long as the hair got in two years since my last chemotherapy. The curls are something that came with it as well, as my hair never used to be quite this wavy.

This is about as long as the hair got in two years since my last chemotherapy. The curls are something that came with it as well, as my hair never used to be quite this wavy.

I ended up coming out of the salon with a rather short and still curly bob that I wasn’t sure I could pull off.  For me, short hair with curls always leaned a bit towards the overly fluffy and frizzy side.  It’s one of those things that happens in the Pacific Northwest with all of our rain.  Hair without frizz…well, needless to say it doesn’t really happen except for our driest months of the summer.

Not bad, I confess I was a bit surprised how well it turned out.

Not bad, I confess I was a bit surprised how well it turned out.

The next morning I played a little more with it.  I think I prefer it blow-dried.

Yes, that is indeed how big my coffee cup is. I live in the Northwest. Coffee flows through our veins.

Yes, that is indeed how big my coffee cup is. I live in the Northwest. Coffee flows through our veins.

Of course, the next morning my scarves, or ‘beaubeaus’ as they’re officially called, came in from 4women.com.   Back in 2010, about six to seven weeks after my mastectomy, I found myself out shopping for a mastectomy bra and orpemborp so I could balance out my new-found lopsidedness.  This entailed a lot of sitting in the dressing room waiting for the attendant (who I believe was also a RN) to run back and forth, grabbing different bras and orpemborps until we found the right fit.  I have to complement the ladies down at Saffron’s, they take a lot of care to making sure you walk out of there satisfied and not feeling completely awkward.  As I sat there waiting I began to thumb through the magazines, looking for something to occupy my time.  I came across a small article, about a half a page, about Susan Beausang and her story about why she created the beaubeau and started 4women.com.  I sat there staring at the beautiful scarf she was wearing with a hair touch of envy (see what I did there? Of course you did.), as I had already resigned myself to wearing wigs once more, even though I’m a bit disdainful of them.  The website seemed easy enough to remember, though, so I ordered one for myself when I got home.  Long story short, my relations also purchased scarves for me after I raved a bit on Facebook how wonderful they are.  I’ll never go back to a wig, that’s for certain.

They're even fun to wear with hair. This one is the "Bohemmian Vintage". A bit bluer than what's pictured here though, since I was playing with filters.

They’re even fun to wear with hair. This one is the “Bohemmian Vintage”. A bit bluer than what’s pictured here though, since I was playing with filters.

"Rhythm and Blues" has a bit of purple, green, and blue to it that I tend to favor.

“Rhythm and Blues” has a bit of purple, green, and blue to it that I tend to favor.

After a while my daughter decided to play along with me. So I took out the two remaining scarves and put one on each of our respective heads. She's wearing "Tangerine Tango" and I'm wearing one that I believe might no longer be in stock. The pose idea is completely her idea, the little ham.

After a while my daughter decided to play along with me. So I took out the two remaining scarves and put one on each of our respective heads. She’s wearing “Tangerine Tango” and I’m wearing one that I believe might no longer be in stock. The pose idea is completely her idea, the little ham.

I did, however, save the chopped hair for a viking funeral that…well it didn’t exactly turn out.  Let’s just say that next time (should there be one) I need to actually make a boat that floats with more than thirty minutes of thought put into it.  We got it to burn, but it didn’t exactly leave the shore.  But that’s a story for another time, naturally.

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Finally, about a week after my first chemotherapy infusion, I can say that I’m feeling better.  The bronchitis that decided to tag along with the cold I started out with before chemotherapy is finally clearing up and the aches in my joints are lessening.  At the moment I’m only contending with a small headache and an occasional cough, not something I can really complain about.  Energy is starting to come back as well, which is always a perk.  Chemo tends to provide ups and downs  emotionally and physically and while some days I feel like I’m at the top of the world, other days I feel like I’m crushed somewhere between Atlas’ shoulder blade and Taiwan.  So while I’m up, I’ll take what I can and maybe post something helpful here as well.

Extended Hospital Stays

I think of these as stays that last longer than one overnight stay.  I’ve had a bit too many of these for my tastes lately, but I’ve found that preparing for them (if you get the chance, it’s not always the case) tends to make them go a little more smoothly.  First thing is knowing that no matter what you’re going in for … you may not end up staying as long as you thought, or as short as you thought.  When I went in for my lobectomy I was expected to be there for about six to seven days.  Ten days after my operation they finally let me leave, and they weren’t all too keen on doing it then!  Other times I’ve recovered remarkably quick and have been out a few days ahead of schedule.

As with any visit to a hospital, dress comfortably.  Whatever procedure they may be doing they’ll likely switch you into a hospital gown, but some comfy pants might be allowed.  While I am a big fan of the soft fuzzy socks, you may end up having troubles walking around (anesthesia or general weakness), so sticking to those socks that most hospitals provide with the tread on the bottom might be a good idea until you have a better hold on your footing.

What to bring that the hospital likely WILL NOT provide

  • Backpack…duffel bag, whatever
  • Book or whatever fits your fancy to occupy you for long hours of doing nothing
  • Laptop (or a notebook)…this is if you have one.  Most hospitals have WiFi
  • Projects that don’t take up much room.  If you’re a capable knitter you can probably get a lot done!
  • A few changes of clothes, dominantly underwear if you won’t be stuck on a catheter
  • Cell phone — but only for when you’re coherent.  Have a family member hold onto it while you’re doing your procedure or are unconscious if at all possible.

What to bring that the hospital likely WILL provide (In other words, it’ll likely be provided, but it won’t be as nice as the stuff you have at home.  For example, my gums are pretty sensitive so I use a special toothbrush and toothpaste.  The hospital provides a rather rough toothbrush and basic toothpaste that leaves my mouth feeling like somebody scraped it with a brill-o pad.  If you aren’t picky, these things likely won’t be necessary to pack.)

  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Razor & shaving cream
  • Wash cloth
  • Feminine products
  • Brushes/Combs
  • Deodorant

What to NOT bring

  • Your wallet.  No seriously, other than checking in you should NOT need your money, ID, etc.  Unless you plan on doing a plethora of online shopping while you’re there, leave it at home or with a trusted loved one.   Typically I end up bringing mine to check in and then give it to my husband to take home with him afterwards.
  • Anything worth a lot of money.  I know I said bring your laptop, but likely that’ll be set right in front of you the entire time you’re there and won’t go out of your sight.  But you will likely leave the room at times, and while most hospital staff is trustworthy, as with any place with lots of people, there’s always the possibility of somebody having sticky fingers.  Also, the more popular the item, the more enticing it is.  Sadly this means iPads and Tablets.
  • Perfume.  It’s a hospital, please don’t think you need to smell like flowers.  You may not have your own room, too, so try to be a good roomie.

Try to be patient.  Hospitals revolve around a lot of mixed schedules that more often than not clash than flow smoothly, so you might end up doing a lot of waiting.  Likely your CNA is waiting on the RN who put a call in to your Doctor who is also waiting to hear from your Surgeon, who’s holding judgement until he hears from the Radiologist who is staring at five pat

ients crowding the hall in hospital beds waiting on two CT scans a chest x-ray, and two MRIs.  This doesn’t mean lay silent while your pain meds wear off, make sure you can be comfortable, but know that others may have it a lot worse than you.  Being kind to your nurses, who tend to be the messenger 9 times out of 10, will make things a lot easier on you and them.  Nobody is asking you to go into the hospital with a happy face, few do, but making the best out of a crappy situation tends to work really well for me, even if I don’t want to be there.

While I encourage a good attitude, I know nobody who would realistically look this happy with a tray of hospital food in front of them.

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