There’s a lot to think about before your weight loss surgery. How could your life change after weight loss? How might your relationships change? How will your body and brain adapt to your new, smaller stomach? Will you be able to reduce or eliminate some medications? What exercises will you do once you’ve been cleared by your bariatric surgeon? Will your food preferences change after gastric sleeve surgery? But, what to put in your hospital bag shouldn’t be a question that leaves you guessing.
Most of Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve surgery patients arrive at Northwest Medical Center’s Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery for surgery, stay for one night, and are discharged to home the next day. Your total time in the hospital won’t likely be very long, so you don’t have to pack all that much. Bring what you think you need, and what will make you comfortable.
There are a few items that can make your stay a little more pleasant. Although everyone is different in their wants and needs, post-op patients are no different. Bring what works for you. But, over the years, we’ve heard many of Dr. Shillingford’s patients retrospectively say these items were key to making their hospital stay more pleasant:
- Comfy clothes- This is obviously subjective, but pack what’s comfy to you. Maybe that’s shorts, or sweat pants, loose fitting t-shirts, or a nightgown. The staff in the bariatric unit will likely encourage walking after your surgery, so consider what you might feel comfortable wearing to walk the halls.
- Slippers- Something grippier than socks can help give you stability when you walk (even if it’s to and from the bathroom).
- Robe- This is absolutely not a necessity, but a robe is easy to throw on over your hospital gown to offer a little more privacy and warmth.
- Reading material- While your time at Northwest Medical Center will be spent recovering, walking, sleeping, and sipping your drinks, there’s likely to be some down time that can be perfect for catching up on a book or magazine. Reading material can help pass the time.
- Headphones- It’s a hospital, so there will be beeping, a PA system overhead, footsteps in the hallway, and other general noise and chatter. Headphones may help block out some noise, help you relax, or even sleep. Downloading music, movies, or podcasts prior to your hospital stay can help you feel more comfortable and headphones can provide you with privacy and offer respect to others nearby.
- Long phone charging cable- There’s no telling if an outlet will be conveniently located by your bed. Extra long charging cables can solve your device charging problems.
- Lip Balm- Hospitals are not very humid places, and dry lips can happen. This can be especially true after bariatric surgery when your fluid intake may be less than usual. Lip balm can help soothe dry lips.
- Hair Ties- If your hair is long, you may want to be able to put it back or up with a hair tie, scrunchie, or clip. Having one (or a few) handy may help prevent tangles.
- Neck pillow- Let’s face it, hospital beds and pillows are not the most comfortable. Add IVs and incisions and sleeping in the hospital may not feel like sleeping in a hotel. A neck pillow can help you find some comfort in an otherwise not so comfortable position.
- Sleep mask- If you are a light sleeper or require total darkness to fall asleep, consider bringing a cloth sleep mask. Hospital staff work twenty-four hours a day at the hospital so there’s bound to be lights and noise. If you have a sleep mask and it works for you, bring it.
You don’t have to bring everything on this list, these are suggestions that could make your overnight hospital stay more pleasant. Hospitals, including Northwest Medical Center in South Florida, may adjust their visitation rules as per their own policies, so please check with the hospital for any recent changes, especially in light of COVID restrictions.
If you are awaiting your gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or lap band surgery with Dr. Shillingford and have questions about your surgery, don’t hesitate to call the office at (561) 483-8840 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Shillingford, MD, PA proudly serves as Medical Director of Northwest Medical Center’s Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery and provides follow up care to his bariatric surgery patients at his conveniently located Boca Raton office.