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Post-op ride home

gumbyrun's picture
gumbyrun
Posts: 52
Joined: Dec 2009

I am scheduled for a daVinci on Friday, Feb 26th, at Allegheny Hospital in Pittsburgh. I live in State College, about a 2 1/2 hour drive home. Sorry if this seems like a silly question but will it be the longest ride of my life? Any suggestions? We have an older Suburban that floats down the road like a couch on wheels ... maybe that would be the better choice.
Thanks,
Mike

142
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

I spent 3 days extra in the hospital, but the 20-mile drive home was not the easiest I've had even after the extra rest.

Stuff to have in the vehicle-
Have an "underpad" (absorbent liner) for the car seat, just in case of spasm leaks, and one to put under the cath bag. You may get one from the hospital, otherwise get the Walgreens or CVS house brand (watch for a sale - they can be really cheap at the right time). They come in packs of 10 or 20 depending on size. You should have some for the house anyway.
Get one of the "doughnut" cushions - same ones we use for 'roids or rectal surgery. It may not seem comfortable, but you will need to keep pressure off the perineal area, which may not hurt until provoked. If it seems like you didn't really need it when you've gotten home, it worked.
Buy or borrow a cane - will help with stability getting in/out of the vehicle and walking.
Depending on your local weather, a small blanket / fleece cover may be called for. Shivers hurt.
A small plastic trash bag. Hate to say barf bag, but you might be nauseous (I was). Just in case.

txbarton's picture
txbarton
Posts: 85
Joined: Aug 2009

Mike,

I was released from the hospital about 24 hours after my surgery. I followed the doctor's recommendation and spent that night in a local hotel and made the 3 1/2 - 4 hour ride home the next day. I started twice a day walks while at the hotel to include one the morning we started home which I think made a difference.

I used a doughnut and it seemed to ease the discomfort. We stopped about every 45 minutes to walk around a little and drain the catheter leg bag.

You will want to reposition and move your legs around so won't want to drive, or at least not all the way.

It was important to me to stop and walk around a little. You won't have to worry about the cleanliness of the men's room on the trip!

The ride wasn't bad for me.

VB

jminnj's picture
jminnj
Posts: 129
Joined: Nov 2009

Mike, I also had a fairly short ride (20-25 minutes) and was discharged the morning after my surgery. I would conur with all the statements above and would only add that you should get in and out of the vehicle slowly. You cannot get in and out of the car like you would normally. If you do,you will feel a tug on the catheter. So just take it slow.

Good luck with your surgery
Joe

The Nev
Posts: 50
Joined: Sep 2009

I had a 2 1/2 hour ride home, I just kicked the seat back as far as it would go and relaxed. It wasn't as bad as I thought, we stopped about half way for 10 -15 min and I walked a little then loaded up and made it to the house. So all in all not to bad.

142
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

Someone mentioned on another thread - having driven home.
I presume someone else will be driving - I was banned from driving for three weeks.
Reasoning was, as they explained it:
- muscle stress of having to hit the brakes or make a sudden steering change may pop sutures.
- some of the pain killers are longer term effect, and in some (US) states, including mine, the residual in your bloodstream would qualify you for a "driving under the influence" charge if you were to be involved in an accident.

I could not have driven, so was glad I did not have to make that choice.

gumbyrun's picture
gumbyrun
Posts: 52
Joined: Dec 2009

Thanks to all for the comments. I'll definitely make a trip to the store for pads and a donut cushion... and I think I'll look cool with a cane! Its crazy the questions and concerns that pop up in my head but reassuring to know I can ask you guys.

142
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

May not seem like it is worth a comment, but I was being shuffled around leaving the hospital by some kids doing their volunteer day, and they didn't really have the hang of wheelchairs and car doors, so here goes.

Easiest way to get into the vehicle and not cause the gut to scream is to get the door full open, sit down very slowly, sideways, and then turn and slide the legs in. I couldn't reach the door handle then - another good use for the cane, door handle extension. Experience taught me not to climb in foot first. You'll only do it once, after you drop into the seat you'll understand. You will also have to plan a bit - even 16 weeks out I can't squeeze in - if there isn't enough room to open the door wide, it is not a parking space.

lewvino's picture
lewvino
Posts: 1007
Joined: May 2009

We had a 2 1/2 hour drive home. I was out of it for most of the ride with pain killers. Take a pillow with you and hold over your stomach for support when you get in and out of the car.
We stopped 1/2 way for about a 15 minute break.

Also we were very stressed with car problems but made it home fine. The day we arrived at the hospital the car overheated! I have an old thread out here somewhere if you want to seach and read it.

Larry

CellWall
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2010

If your surgery goes as well as mine did-All Hail DaVinci-you could be out of the hospital the following day with no post-op discomfort. The ride should not pose a problem, but remember you will be catheterized and that will take some time to become accustomed to. I believe I was prescribed Vicodin for any pain but stopped using it after a few days because there was no pain. Also, all of those analgesics constipate us, and for me that condition was very uncomfortable. Pittsburgh eh? I had mine done in Phoenixville. Good luck guy.

bdhilton
Posts: 759
Joined: Jan 2010

I will be flying back from Chicago (2.5 hours) to Atlanta in theory on March 7th and then a 40 minute ride in a car to get home. What I have been told so far:

Wait 2 day after being released from hospital to fly back
Properly administer pain medication (get stoned)
Have wheelchair pick up at Chicago and Atlanta airports (especially Atlanta)
Have a donut to sit on the plane and car rides
Wear leg catheter for trip
Pack all medical stuff with carry on (no not check in with luggage)
Did I say properly administer pain medication (get stoned)?

March 15…9AM scheduled for catheter removal (can have removed after 10 days but doctor prefers a few days longer) and have pathology report given to me….I trust this to be a good day…

Any other pointers from fellow plane travelers after surgery?

Many thanks and best to all

142
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

I have not had to fly yet, but some thoughts from research (when I thought I would have to) adds some items:

- Be sure you get a proper extension tube for the leg bag, so that you can wear it on the lower leg. Otherwise, depending on the seat configuration, the bag could be higher than Willie, which is a very, very bad thing for drainage. It also would make it harder to empty. We've talked a lot over on the HW board about the fact that the hospital may not give you that extra tube unless you ask specifically for it.
- You might want/need to get a "clear to fly" letter from your doctor or the hospital. You never know when a gate agent might decide they need one. I've traveled a lot, and have seen people turned away.
- Remember that the in-flight rules are changing daily, so check with the flight attendants when you get on as to when you will be allowed to visit the head. Don't want to have a bag full (or even half-full for that matter, its a leg bag, doesn't hold a lot) if they announce that everyone must stay in their seats for the remaining hour of the flight.

bdhilton
Posts: 759
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks for the tip on the extra tubing! I gave literally spent a good part of my life flying around the world but you are right about this sit in your sit stuff (especially after 9/11)

However, I have always ignored this rule it if I have had to go I have to go (put me in jail now do not say that but… )…Plus I am flying first class back I and I do not think they would like me asking the person next to me to hold my bag while I empty some of it in a cup…Reminds me of a story when my father was with me and I had to pull over for him to pee (he had PC twice-died at 81 of something else) but a State Trooper stopped behind us and asked what the @&%&# are you doing to my dad and my dad just told him he had PC and the State Trooper said have a nice day and told him he now had a license to pull over and pee anytime…

Anyway , I have been getting different stories as to no issues to major issues with flying…I do think the medicate yourself prior to flying is a good tip just to be o the safe side but I do have to walk at least once on the plane during this flight

txbarton's picture
txbarton
Posts: 85
Joined: Aug 2009

You couldn't pick 2 worse airports to fly through than Chicago and Atlanta! Nothing is close to anything! A wheel chair should make it bearable.

You will be fine 2 days after daVinci.

VB

bdhilton
Posts: 759
Joined: Jan 2010

Yes, Atlanta is for sure one of the most congested, spread out and busiest in the world… I moved to Atlanta from LA in 1993 just for the Airport for my frequent need for direct flights overseas... I am having open surgery not DV up at Northwestern by Dr Catalona…in theory, three days at the hospital and 2 days at the hotel across the street before coming home…

txbarton's picture
txbarton
Posts: 85
Joined: Aug 2009

I forgot you're having open surgery.

Wheel chair rides and first class seats shouldn't be much worse than sitting around anywhere. That's my hope for you. At least you won't have to get up to pee during the flight. (start with an empty bag and it may make the trip without the need to empty it).

Good luck!

VB

bdhilton
Posts: 759
Joined: Jan 2010

no kidding I will not have to get up and pee... thanks for you well wishes-B

randy_in_indy's picture
randy_in_indy
Posts: 493
Joined: Oct 2009

I would recomend buying some baggy legged jeans and just using the big bag and never putting on the leg bag...I never used it ever even when I went out. I wore a pair of swim trunks over of course my breifs...tight breifs help keep the cat in position once you figure out the right way to stick the tube holder on the right spot on your leg. Ok, back to the swim trunks...the ones I wore had a zippered pocket and I would just hook the big cath bag on the pocket then pull over the baggy jeans and was set to go. Occassionally the bag would come unhooked and drop to the floor but you would usually realize it...except for the time I was in a theatre and all of sudden I saw the white back on the floor a ways from my foot...I laughed out loud... Anyway I never used the leg bag..heck the big bag holds about 2,200 cc's you can go for ever without emptying it...that way you don't risk the possible infection occuring changing out the bags back and forth.

My 2 cents.

bdhilton
Posts: 759
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks Randy and the others for your tips...making a list

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