Any tips as surgery looms?

Hi guys,

As my surgery looms i wondered if anyone has any tips?
Multi vits, certain pillow for post op??
What to take into hosp??

What to expect??

I am terrified!!!

Al x

Hi! I am 9 weeks post-op. I took pillow and Ipad. For the first two days I don't remember too much but that third was difficult. That was when they changed my pain meds. The pain wasn't too bad after that. I barely used my Ipad. The one thing that NO ONE suggested to me was stool softeners! That first time after surgery can be VERY difficult. I was terrified to but decided to take the risk. Also when you feel better and feel like getting out and about. Take it slow. 1 hour of activity can knock you back 2 days. Good luck and keep us updated.

I didn't bring a lot to the hospital. My toiletries, cell phone, my kindle, comfortable clothes that go easily over the head, and slip on shoes with a closed back. I made sure I had a travel pillow for the ride home!

Best of luck on your upcoming surgery! :)

I took a soft pillow and blanket. Arnicare cream. Soft reusable ice packs. I found some at Walgreens that are filled with therapearl pearls. I had a small cooler to rotate them. I still love them, they are the most comfortable packs I have used. They can also be heated in the microwave when you need warmth.

Good luck.

the biggest advice I would give to you is to sleep with your head and upper body at an angle above your lower body for as many weeks as you can tolerate. like many, I had two surgeries due to a dura patch leak and I seriously blame it on sleeping flat and having all that pressure on my head. the patch leak happens to many unfortunately and doing whatever you can to prevent any unnecessary pressure will do you good. I was mortified before my surgery just bawling in the hospital but when all is said and done i woke up with good cognition and didnt feel too shabby. you’ll have some nausea. what I found that really helped me with my nausea was a mini fan blowing on my face,
I brought it in the hospital with me and don’t imagine how I would have faired without it. the whole experience itself was a complete nightmare for me (patch leak, 5 day repetitive migraine from the leak causing head to swell, meningitis, and lumbar drain), but the actual surgery itself went smoothly which I know is often the MAJOR fear everyone has. just take it easy for as long as you can after the surgery. Good luck.

I would recommend before surgery you get a prescriptions for a stool softener and pain meds so you can start them as soon as you get home.

I took:


sleep pants

button up shirt or comfortable wide neck shirt



hard candy /mints to keep mouth moist

sun glasses/ear plugs -some people are sensory sensitive post surgery

If it's hard to swallow pills ask for pudding to put them in. They go down much easier.

When you are in ICU you may have a very dry mouth and aren't allowed fluids ask for a wet mouth swab. It helps tremendously. Everything is swollen and the oxygen , even if it is hydrated still dries you out.

They also recommended I didn't watch the news or have it on the TV. To much negativity can make you anxious. Plus hurricane Katrina hit while I was having surgery & in the hospital. News is 24/7 now. That is not good for someone recovering from a serious surgery.

Have help when you go home. Protein drinks, easy healthy snacks, stay hydrated , walk as much as you feel like, but get plenty of rest.

I hope you do great !!! Please let us know how you are doing,

Tracy Z.

As Tracy’ said stool softeners a must as many meds constipating & u must not strain at all! Also anti emetics as u need to try and prevent sickness for the same reasons. I am I’m my third week in hospital after a leak and chemical meningitis … It’s not easy and a horrible procedure, but I hope u have an easier time than I have!

I am almost a year post op. I took comfortable pjs with large open necks, flip flops for the shower, cell phone charger, full make-up (found that i would feel better after a shower and looking alive), swisps (the little disposable tooth brushes that already have tooth paste on them) they were wonderful, because you don’t have to get up to use them, and lotion. The rest is just common sense stuff (underwear, deoderant, etc…) These are just a few of the things that made it easier for me.
This was my very first surgery of my life! I was scared to death! I went as far as showing my husband how to pay bills, where important papers were, writing down all passwords to accounts, etc… You will feel much better after your surgery. Good luck! REST!

We didn’t take a great deal to the hospital for Dustin’s surgery, other posters covered that for you, but there were a few things we learned afterward.

  1. If you can, get your head shaved before going in. Some pre-op shaves are good, others not so much. Dustin’s was the latter.
  2. Dry shampoo. You won’t be able to wash your hair for a while, and then you will have to be very careful of the surgery site. Dry shampoo will make washing much easier.
  3. Claim whatever is the most comfortable chair or recliner in the house for your recovery. Dustin slept in our recliner during his recovery period to keep his head properly elevated.
    Once you are able to lie down, a memory foam pillow will give your neck and head good firm support.

I took a couple pillows from home, my own light blanket, some button front pjs and my iPad. I didn’t use anything else I brought… The hospital literally provided everything. One BIG tip, that others have said, stool softeners!! I was lucky and they were provided 3x daily at the hospital and went home with a script. Make sure you ask your surgeon if they are provided, if not, bring em along!

I am personally now 8 weeks post op and better than ever. You won’t think or remember much of the first day or so after surgery. Your days will be completely filled with nurses checking on you every few minutes-literally. I don’t remember having even the time to read for the first day or so. Walk around as much as you can. My surgeon had me up walking around the day after surgery. It really helps.

Don’t worry you will be fine!

All the things I would have added have already been covered. I am 2 months post op, and the I don’t have much memory of the days after the surgery and my recall of the two weeks after is a bit spotty. The only thing I can add is if you are a temperpedic pillow user (like me) you will not be able to use it for a while after, so you will need a back up feather pillow for at least a month to 6 weeks. Double check with your pharmacy that they allow someone other then the patient to pick up narcotic pain meds. (Some pharmacies do not allow this) And the biggest thing I can provide in the way of advice, is be prepared for emotions you cannot control (and you shouldn’t try to, trust me I tried it was exhausting and made this a lot worse) cry when you need to, it’s frustrating, talk when you need to and be silent when that is what you need. Try to prepare your caretakers and family for this possibility, I did and they took it better then had they not known. I was not the me they were used to for a little while, it just takes a little while to reset and at the time being the one inside of it, you cannot see it clearly. You will do great! I want to say this, it’s not that bad, sounds stupid I know but I built it up before hand, the thought of them cracking open my skull and poking around scared the sh*t out of me. But looking back as a post op, I think now it wasn’t THAT bad all things considered. I am doing better then ever now, hair is growing back so the stares at the bald lady with a zipperhead have all but stopped. Take the advice of the poster above, shave ur own head. My dr said he appreciated the clean canvas!! Good luck!!!

I'm 3 weeks post op and I'm telling you that ice is going to become one of your best friends in the next week or so, putting ice on your incision will help with alot of the swelling and a fair amount of pain as well, also while I know it may be hard but I don't recommend trying to lay flat for a couple of days, if you can when you go home sleep in a recliner if you've got one, this not only is more comfortable to sleep in but it's also easier to get up and down and move from. If you can shave more of the area around the incision sight before you go to the hospital, unfotunately they didn't do that with me and the tape and things got stuck in my hair and caused a slight infection, if you have access to a walker you might want to use that for a couple of days, also ask for a soft neck brace, this helps you to keep you head up and allows the muscle that you've just had cut a chance to relax without the strain of holding your head up for a couple of days. If you can arrange for someone to pick up your pain meds before hand than that's a good thing as well. And since I don't know you personally I will tell you something about myself, I have a very addicted personality and found myself getting addicted to the pain pills, as soon as you can I would recommend weaning yourself off those, while I know they make you feel better, the sooner you are off them the better, and you may go through some with drawls from the pain meds. I wish you all the best for a successful surgery and all I can say is that I was in your shoes with the same fears you are having right now, and I can tell you that the surgery is worth it, if you have such a great recovery as I did, than this will all be worth it.

Al its normal to be terrified. I was and at 41 years old it was still scary. You will need a supportive pillow, plenty of pain medications, and someone to help you for about two weeks. I only wish I had all the good information on this page before my surgery. Follow all instructions from your doctor, get plenty of rest, and remember it will take time. But you will get better.

I am going in on weds too I am 41 with 2 small kids and pretty nervous too my biggest fear is not feeling any better

Thank you all for your help and kind caring words.

I am off to buy a wedge pillow and button up pyjamas 2moro!!

Rachel where do you live? Hope all goes well for you also next week!

Al x

Rachel i am 33 and have 3 kids 8,7 & 4. My 7yr old is severly disabled i think thi is why i am so scared!!

Quiltaholic hope wed goes well for you too, i am also so grateful for this group and the replys i have received have helped calm me slightly!!

Take care Al x

I would suggest shaving at least three inches wide, and all the way from the hairline on the nape of the neck to the crown of your head. Dustin’s pre-op shave was a slightly smaller area than that, and there was hair caught in the tape after his surgery.

Honestly I'm not too sure about the shaving your own head thing. I'd ask your doctor what he plans to shave and if he'll be using any tape. My doctor used no tape and he only shaved the very, very smallest strip of hair. Maybe it's just me being a women but I appreciated how easy it was to cover up!

Quiltaholic said:

Me too, on Wednesday. I want to thank all you "veterans" for all the tips and great advice. As soon as I add my 2 cents, I am going to reread all your posts and make my shopping and packing lists. Only one question. When you say you shaved your own head, how far up the skull and how wide? I see the NS on Monday for a pre-op consult, perhaps I should just ask him? I am 64, retired and have been dealing with the symptoms from this for 26 years now. I am ready but also apprehensive. I am so thankful I found all of you! Reading about your recoveries makes it so much easier to face this surgery. After all, we are all in the same leaky boat, bailing as fast as we can!

Hey Al x, my surgery is July 16th so I know how you feel. I have been asking questions myself. So I definitely will be following this discussion as well. I am scared myself.