Laundry List

1. Relax and spoil yourself until day of surgery. Try warm baths, good books, long walks, spending time with friends and family and reading great jokes on this web site!! Go see a movie or two, and eat all your favorite meals.


2. Make sure to collect your favorite nightie or pj's, something that buttons or snaps up the front and loose fitting.  Some people have suggested earplugs for the hospital, since it is so noisy there sometimes.  That will depend on the swelling.


3. Have some bland food on hand (like clear broth, soft breads, fruit drinks (blender types - fruit of choice, ice and/or milk, and any other vitamins you can think of.) SlimFast or Ensure work for protein. If you can eat and chew, then start slow. Small pieces and soft, so the jaw doesn't have to work so hard. Ice cream, popsicles and Frosty's (Wendy's) work great!! Any milkshake is a great substitute!! There are some delicious fresh fruit drinks posted on the forum you can "search" for.


4. If your doctor recommends icing the area, get some ice gel packs, if you can. If you can't find them, you're going to want bags of frozen veggies. Corn and peas work best. You want to be able to ice the area, to reduce swelling and keep it numb (especially if you forget to take your meds). Bags of ice tend to leak, and the chunks of ice don't mold as well to the face. Some doctors don't want you to ice, so check with them first!!  Another suggestion was using an old sock filled with pinto beans.   Keep two of them in the freezer. They don't melt and drip, or turn into a block of refrozen veggies.   You can also heat them up for a hot pack, but that's not pertinent in this case.

 5. Watch out with those meds. Pesky little suckers. You want to make sure you eat something before you take one (or two). Otherwise they eat up your stomach. They work not just for the pain, but most meds are anti-inflammatory also - keeps that swelling down.

 6. Keep your head elevated the first few days. This means LOTS of pillows, and head at a 45 degree angle. This too helps tremendously with the swelling. It seems uncomfortable but it really makes a difference!!   Also try a Boppie Pillow (Toys R Us).  They have a whole in the middle that makes a great place for your ear.  These are especially good once you start laying down vertical again.


7. Also, after surgery, you may be a bit nauseous for a few days.  This is from the anesthesia, although it doesn't happen to everyone.  Anti-nauseous pills (or suppositories) work great, if things get out of hand.


8. And get some stool softeners. Either your doctor can prescribe these, or you can buy some great ones over-the-counter. I found a "natural" all vegetable one that worked great. Talk to your pharmacist.


9. Sometimes your doctor can give you all your prescriptions BEFORE surgery, so you'll have it all there for you when you get home. ASK!!


10. Get a clock with an alarm that you can re-set easily. You want to take your meds the first few days at regular intervals. Don't think sleep is more important, because when you wake up, it will be too late, and then you'll have to wait 30 - 40 minutes for the meds to kick in. (Hence the ice packs!!) Usually every three to four hours is the norm, the first few days.


11. Try to sleep as much as possible. It's really the best healer. Don't be discouraged though if you sleep in fits of one hour to three hours (before surgery, and after) Before surgery, you will have a lot on your mind. After, between the meds and the anesthesia, you're going to be off cycle for a while. It's perfectly normal!!


12. For that scar - I used Hydrogen Peroxide to clean away the "crusties" and keep the stitches clean (for when the doctor removes them) and antibiotic ointment until the stitches were out (approx. one week after surgery). Then I switched to Aloe Vera and Vitamin E. The caps work great, but if you can get the liquid, do. I get tired of poking those little things, squeezing out the oil, and then either trying to save what's left for next time, (and trying to remember which end I poked) or throwing them away 1/2 used.


13. Stay out of the sun. It will either make the scar turn dark, or whiter. Each person's skin is different, but the sun causes havoc!!


14. And remember, when in doubt, ASK YOUR DOCTOR. Ask about when you can take a shower? Can you get the stitches wet? How do I handle the drain (if you go home with one)? How long should I take off work (most took a week or so, but wished they had more - each person is different - and it seems the younger you are, the faster you bounce back!) Listen to your body. If you're tired or getting sore, chances are, you are doing too much! And time and patience are what you need. It's going to take DAYS to do certain things, WEEKS to do others, and MONTHS before you see good solid results!!

Lastly, keep us all posted!! We're here for ya all!