While most HLHS Families would be old pros by the time they are admitted for the Fontan, this is my first rodeo. Gabe moved into our house as a foster baby six weeks after his second heart surgery. This has lead to a lot of, "could you repeat that, I have no idea what you're talking about," moments with his surgical team.
It's also lead to a minor freak out over what exactly I need to pack for our hospital stay.
I've been told that, if all goes exactly as planned, we should plan to be at Egleston for 5-14 day. That's a big window. While Andrew will be going back to work a few days after surgery, I'm not planning to leave the hospital until Gabe can come with me.
I had a lot of questions and was honestly starting to panic over what to bring.
I'm going to credit that to misplaced anxiety and not to being overly concerned with pampering myself.
Once I calmed myself down a little, I did what any intelligent person would do: asked my Facebook Friends for help.
Within an hour I had answers from 40 different friends who had been through an extended hospital stay. They all answered with pretty similar answers, so I'm passing that info along to any of you that may be curious.
I'm approaching this the way I approach packing for a vacation.
Not a vacation to a spa where I will be relaxing and being refreshed, but a vacation where I will be camping in the wilderness. Y'all, I hate camping. Which is very close to how I feel about having to stay at the hospital. I know that I will be uncomfortable, won't sleep, and will cry a lot. Pretty much how I spend my time camping.
So here's a quick run down of what we are bringing for our stay at Chateau Egelston.
I was told it would be pretty chilly in ICU and dry throughout the hospital, thus the socks and lotion. The Aleve is to avoid $8 charges for the headaches that I'm sure will come and face wipes to keep me from breaking out like a 13 year old. I have 3 times as many antibacterial wipes, but figured 3 was enough. If you come visit, just be prepared for me to wipe you down. No infections allowed.
Everyone echoed the need to bring my own towel and any necessary toiletries. These were the ones I wanted to be sure to not forget. That tiny bottle of body wash is in hopes that we aren't there long enough to run out. Still a little leary of how showering will work while I'm there so I may be a total grease ball by the time we come home.
Gabe's chest will be totally opened during surgery, breast plate cracked and all. The one thing the nurses said I had to bring was open front PJs. Which were much harder to find then I thought. I found these at Walmart. They are insanely soft and will make it easy for him to be comfy (well, as comfy as possible) with his chest tubes and wires.
Activities that Gabe can do while confined to the bed. I'm not sure when he will be able to get up out of the bed, but my son is active so anything more then a couple days will be torture for him. I tried to find things I thought he would like. Art, lacing cards, 8 billion stickers with blank paper to stick them on.
Those were the main things recommended.
I'm also bringing my own pillow, a small fan, and all our oodles of electronics. Books, magazines, iPad, laptop, Leapster. Chargers for everything.
Everyone recommended comfy clothes. Lucky for me, I live in leggings, tank tops, and cardigans. So I packed 5 days worth of those. Andrew will be coming to visit so he can restock me if I need more.
I feel a bit better now that we have these things ready to go.
Of course, I still have to pack for Josie to spend 3 nights at a friends's house and 7 more in fridgid Minnesota.
Those of you who have gone through the Fontan or any other extended hospital stay, I'd love to hear what you recommend we bring! Hurry, while I still have time to hit up Target!