The Hospital?!: What to Expect and How to Cope

October 24, 2012  |  

Sheer terror! That’s the expression that was on my face when I found out that I needed a major operation. Honestly, half of my fear was generated by the thought of surgery. But the other half was simply not knowing what to expect for a long hospital stay.

Most women only experience the hospital when visiting a sick loved one, watching Grey’s Anatomy, or giving birth (which is usually a quick trip with a cute bundle of joy at the end). However, at some point in our lives many of us will have to stay in the hospital for several days. Knowing what to expect and what’s normal for a hospital stay can help alleviate our fears and help us focus on getting better.

There are several aspects of a hospital stay that I wish someone had told me about including:

Anesthesia Brain – Don’t worry about the slightly surreal feeling you’ll have for a while after surgery — it’s totally normal. It’s also normal not to clearly remember parts of your day following a surgery. Thankfully, the feeling doesn’t last long and when the anesthesia wears off you’ll be back to your lucid self.

Tubes, Tubes and More Tubes – Imagine waking up from surgery to see a half dozen tubes attached to you. If you’re not expecting it, you’ll think you’re on death’s door. But this is standard procedure. You can expect to be connected to tubes and monitors that sense your heart beat, breathing and many other vital signs for the duration of your stay.

Sleep? I don’t think so! – When you stay in the hospital, the medical staff will be checking your vital signs round the clock. Sometimes this means hourly. Remember, it’s a hospital and not a hotel room, so sleep may be an elusive dream.

Has anyone seen my underwear? –There’s definitely something unnerving about sitting around strangers while wearing a thin gown and no underwear. Get use to it, because it’s the norm in the hospital. The nursing staff will likely ask you not to wear your underwear to make it easier as they do different procedures.

Special Diets. – Low sodium, heart-healthy (and often tasteless) meals will likely be on your menu. The hospital’s goal is to provide a diet that promotes healing and not a scrumptious buffet.

No, I don’t need your help! – Nurses will be around 24/7 to help you with EVERYTHING. And I do mean everything including going to the bathroom, showering and putting on your clothes. Don’t be embarrassed, it’s standard. And if you’re recovering from surgery or an illness, you’ll secretly be happy for the help.

Now that you know what to expect, you can focus on what’s important during your hospital stay – recovering and getting back to your healthy self.

MommyNoire Friends – What surprised you during your hospital stay?

Words By: Yolanda Darville
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