Friday, 13 February 2015

Lists revisited

Now that I am a few weeks home and well into my after-care, I felt it may be worth looking a little closer at the lists of post-op supplies they suggest you need and how much you actually use. I have just started driving again and am now at the point where I can pick up more supplies should I need them. I will suggest minimum amounts needed for a 4 week period on returning from hospital.
  • Kitchen towel - This is the one supply that you are told to have plenty of. The list suggest 8 rolls to start with, but everyone I spoke to said get much, much more. I wont say exactly how many because it was a fairly crazy amount but for 4 weeks I will have used about 10 rolls (55 sheets per roll of 3 ply). If you have thinner 2 ply, you will need more. I also save several sheets per day because instead of using kitchen towel to wipe my hands, I use flannels instead and then wash them.
  • Baby wipes - You need these to wipe on every toileting, 1's and 2's, to prevent nappy rash with any potential spraying. You will need to drink plenty of fluids so toileting should be much more frequent. I have found an 80 sheet packet lasts about 4 days so a 4 week period needs 6-7 such packets.
  • Toilet paper - This is not on the list but does need to be considered. You will have had many years of not needing this for urination, now it's all changed! It's even worse with 2 ladies in the house and we are using 3 times as much as we did before. A 6 roll pack with 400 sheets per roll is lasting about 9 days, so 3 packs are needed for 4 weeks.
  • Sanitary towels - The amount of these I used seriously surprised me. I felt when I bought 200 of them (seriously!), I was going very overkill. I have less than half of them left and it was not uncommon to use 8 or more in a day to start with. Everybody discharges different amounts and you could use even more. I was advised to buy the cheapest available so long as they were maxi. Sainsbury's do a pack of 10 for 30p.
  • Hand sanitiser - Hygiene is so important initially, and this is an important part of your it. I have used 2 x 200 ml bottles so far.
  • Antibacterial Hand wash - Again, important but I am still on my first 500 ml bottle.
  • Hibiscrub - I was sent home with a full bottle and another that had been started in hospital and is primarily for washing you dilators but I also wash my douche with it now I have stopped using Videne. This was enough for the first 4 week period but I also bought some more in readiness from Amazon. It is seriously expensive from the chemist and much cheaper online. You can use antibacterial hand wash but I think HiBiScrub is a good way to go for the first few months, it's far more robust than hand wash
  • Aqueous cream - You need this to wash your vagina for the first few months because It's a lot gentler than soap. A 500gram tub has lasted 3 weeks, so 2 are needed to start with.
  • KY Jelly - You need lots of this and the expectation is that you will use an 82gram tube every single day. This has not been the case for me and I was able to reduce from the day I came home but many report needing this much for as much as two months. Simply put, you need at least 30 for the first four weeks - 28 for dilation and a couple for lubing the douche.
  • Paracetamol - I am not in a massive amount of pain and never was but I still need to take four doses of this a day. Take time to stock up on this, we have a bizarre anti-suicide situation in this country where you are limited to buying a maximum of 32 tablets in one transaction so it needs multiple purchases to get this together. I will have used over 200 tablets in this first four weeks.
  • Laxatives - These are quite important because you will be resting a great deal and this promotes constipation. You may also be using codeine which exacerbates this and your food intake may not be as healthy as normal. Fybogel is a very good natural laxative and is available over the counter. I was given Laxido by my GP but this is very aggressive on the body and I have left them alone. Senna is also worth a try and I have been using it alongside the Fybogel (as recommended by Brighton).
  • Food - Unless you have someone to cook for you, fill your freezers up with meals that you can put in the microwave. Get in plenty of tins, even when you are able to get more food, you wont be able to lift much so get heavy stuff now. Buy anything that keeps, if you don't use it initially, you can always use it later.
That covers the after-care needs and hopefully this gives a good idea of how much you will need. Remember that everyone's recovery is different and less, more or much more of everything may be needed.

My GRS time-line :

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