Tuesday, December 2, 2008

the post-op care

So, why is it when you go to a surgeon and he says, "You need surgery for whatever", they don't also say, "You will need this and this and this when you get home, so go get them now." That would be so helpful! Even when I ask what I deem are all of the right questions, I still am unprepared for what they obviously know.

My husband had surgery on his knee-- reattaching his quadricept. Why do the doctors send you home from the hospital with prescriptions? Why not give those prescriptions in advance? Then I don't have to leave the moaning, groaning, groggy man in the car to go get the pain pills that he obviously needs. Once I went into the pharmacy to retrieve pain pills for my son who had been in surgery earlier that morning. I came out to the car and my son had moved into the driver's seat. In most states, he could be arrested for DUI, just for waiting for me to go into the pharmacy to get the medication that the surgeon knew he was going to need.

When I anticipated knee surgery, I didn't envision a brace that reaches from ankle to high thigh. I don't know what I thought it would look like, but I didn't think it would be so immobilized. Why didn't the surgeon tell me ahead of time that I would have to clean the wound? Am I supposed to have Betadine and flat, 4-inch gauze pads with no adhesive? Why didn't he tell me that I would need to find the screwdriver to assemble a shower chair that I had to drive around town to find? How about telling me how long until he can drive? How about a little heads up on the bathroom situation? I would have grabbed that $200 plastic urinal I paid for in the hospital room.

This isn't my first trip around the rodeo. When my husband had heart surgery, the nurses were loading my husband in the car-- three days after the heart surgery-- and told me that he was not allowed to lie down in bed for weeks. What a large assumption... do I have a chair other than the office chair he uses and the hard chair I sit on? How about the fact that I would need an endless supply of bed sheets to cover beautiful leather said chair. Good time to find out that I need a lounge chair with feet that raise up... 15 minutes before arriving home with the heart patient. And, the biggest missing piece of information.... that the heart patient cannot be left alone for three weeks. Don't you think there are more errands that I would have done? There are just a few more people who would have been assigned chores? Vital piece of missing information...

Everyone is blogging and self-publishing now. Why can't the surgeon take an afternoon and make a pamphlet that would save me 85 errands post-op? I can only prepare for what I know.