Laura Chamberlain lists 15 things you need to take with you or have prepared for your first laparoscopy
You’re about to go to the hospital for a diagnostic laparoscopy and you suddenly panic. What do I need to take to the hospital? What do I need for when I get home?
Well, to help you with that I’ve made a list. This is aimed at people having a laparoscopy in Day surgery.
I will also be writing another list for those who are having more extensive endometriosis treatment by laparoscopy who are staying in hospital for a night or longer.
While this post isn’t about what to expect (writing about that is on my to-do-list) I do want to say, it’s not as scary a procedure as it seems and I hope it gives you some answers.
You also might find it useful to read my post on doubting your own illness if you are beginning to question yourself as the operation looms.
I’m going to say this in every post, but if you suspect endometriosis or are diagnosed with it during the laparoscopy (or suspect if despite a negative laparoscopy), please join this Facebook group: Nancy’s Nook.
There is a lot of misinformation out there (even from doctors and specialists) and this group breaks through all that to give you factual information.
You’ll be able to find information there on pursuing the best treatment based on the best science (which will give you the best results).
Here is my list of 15 things to take to or have ready for your laparoscopy:
1. Slippers, a dressing gown, something to read
You’ll be told to bring these things, but here’s why. You will be taken through to the day surgery room by a nurse, who will run through a few things with you, give you some lovely support stockings to put on and possibly take a urine sample to check you’re not pregnant.
You’ll then be asked to change into a hospital gown and it opens at the back, so you wear your dressing gown over the top, put your slippers on and go into a waiting room with other patients (or a bed if you’re somewhere a bit posher!).
The slippers and dressing gown will ensure you’re comfy and covered up. The book or magazines will keep you occupied, especially if you’re not lucky enough to be first on the list.
Remember if you have any questions to ask, your nurse should be able to answer them during your pre-op nurse before you go in for surgery (usually about a week before).
2. Comfy clothes
After the operation you’re going to be fairly bloated and sore, so find some loose fittting clothes.
I highly recommend a loose fitting Maxi dress but I actually wore yoga pants slightly rolled down so they sat lower on my hip and a baggy top to my diagnostic laparoscopy, and that worked too!
3. Slip on shoes
Bending down is going to be painful for a few days, and so I would highly recommend slip on shoes for the way home.
4. Another person
If you are going home the same day, your hospital will tell you you need someone to take you home as you’ll be slightly confused from the anaesthetic.
However, I also think it’s important to ask for that person to come in with you when the surgeon speaks to you. This may be in the recovery room after the laparoscopy.
Your nominated person should be able to get updates from the nurses on when you’re going through for your op so they don’t have to hang around in the hospital itself all day.
Basically, even if you’re quite with it when you come round, your memory won’t be up to scratch. So that other person will help you to recall what the surgeon told you when you realise you can’t remember some of the important details.
You will have an appointment scheduled for a follow up where you can go through everything again, but depending on the hospital, this may not be as soon as you would like.
Also, you’ll want someone around the day you come home as you won’t be very mobile.
It will also be helpful if you can also get them to be around as much as possible in the following few days, even if just to check in on you and make sure you can get everything you need.
If this isn’t possible, make sure you have food in a ready-to-eat form already prepared (more on this later) and there is a clear pathway to the loo and things.
5. Heavy duty sanitary pads
For both of my laparoscopies I’ve come out with a big sanitary pad shoved between my legs (no knickers on) and it was needed because I bled sporadically.
I’d recommend getting some of your own in stock for immediately after you’re home and for the journey home (although the hospital should hopefully provide you with a fresh one if you ask).
I personally didn’t bleed for long but you don’t want to be dealing with blood spills when you can’t move very well.
A nice fat long pad should do the job nicely.
6. Lip balm
One of the side-effects of the surgery is that you will come round with a dry throat, mouth and lips. This one isn’t essential but you will be glad you brought a lip balm with you.
For the same reason as above. The longer the surgery the more likely your throat will be scratchy and dry.
8. A pillow for the journey home
This is the best tip I picked up from fellow endometriosis sufferers. If you are traveling by car home, bring a pillow and put it over your belly and lap so the seatbelt doesn’t dig in.
You’ll be sore and bloated after your laparoscopy so this tip will make you a lot more comfortable on the journey home.
9. Heat packs, heat pads or microwaveable wheat bags
You may well have some or all of these in stock if you have the symptoms of endometriosis anyway. But this time it’s for something different.
During the operation they will fill your belly with air and a bit of this will remain in there afterwards.
Eventually it will work its way to your diaphragm and cause shoulder pain, or in my case, chest pain. Heat will be your friend here to soothe the pain.
10. A wedge pillow/ a pile of pillows for bed
Laying flat won’t be the most comfortable thing for a few days. I personally can’t sleep any other way because of other issues and can tell you that when you lay flat after laparoscopic surgery it feels like you’re stretching out muscles that don’t want to be stretched.
But, I have it on good authority that the following can help: a wedge pillow to sleep on so you’re not flat (or some extra pillows if you don’t have this), and/or pillows under your legs or bum.
Basically, get a lot of pillows in and get someone to help you experiment after the op to see what’s most comfortable for you.
11. Frozen meals
You are not going to be up to cooking for a while. For the first few days it’s pain that stops you, and you should refrain from lifting for longer than this (your hospital will advise you on this).
But there’s also an unexpected amount of fatigue. You might start something thinking you’re ok and then it will hit you suddenly.
So it’s a good idea to have meals prepared before your laparoscopy, which you can keep in the freezer and defrost as you need them. Also make sure you’ve got stuff in that’s super easy to put together for other meals (I’m talking spreading something on bread or a pre-prepared salad).
12. Bottled water or jugs of water
You don’t want to be stuck on the sofa in pain and tired and not get a drink simply because you feel so rough.
Some bottled water or a jug of water next to you will save unneeded trips. Set up the bottles before surgery or get someone to do it for you after surgery.
This is in caps for a reason. The operation itself will slow down your bowels for a while. You will also likely be put on painkillers that are constipating.
At the same time, you will be bloated because of the operation and don’t want to be squeezing your stomach muscles.
This all adds up to some very uncomfortable constipation. So get some stool softening laxatives in stock. You don’t want bulking laxatives as this will be uncomfortable to pass.
14. Medication for wind or trapped gas
This is one I haven’t personally used but know it is highly recommended by other women (I didn’t spot this tip until after my surgeries).
I’ve heard it’s very good for both digestive gas and the surgery gas pain but I have also been told that it actually only works on gas in the digestive tract.
But women swear by it helping with the surgery gas pain in the shoulder/chest. My guess? The slowed bowel transit and constipation creates a trapped gas situation in your digestive tract, which puts extra pressure on your already gassy abdomen, so relieving one helps the other.
That’s my guess, I may be way off the mark, but it’s definitely something you should get in stock.
15. Paracetamol/ whatever painkillers your doctors recommend
You may well be sent home with some opiate painkillers, which you may or may not need. You’ll certainly be pumped with a good dose of painkillers during the laparoscopic surgery.
But you’ll also need some painkillers for when you get home. Your surgeon/nurse may send you home with some if they feel you need it, but you’ll still need something a bit weaker for when you get past the initial pain.
Bonus tip: Tape your phone charger to side of bedside table/where you need it so don’t have to bend down
Before your op, tape your phone charger to your bedside table, or whatever piece of furniture you have near to it, so you don’t have to bend down to pick it up.
And there we go, that’s my list of things you need for your Laparoscopy. I hope you aren’t too nervous and the surgery gives you some much needed answers.
Lots of love from,
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