Here are my tips for preparing to leave hospital and getting home after your PAO
After your surgery, the physio will visit you in hospital to show you how to move safely out of bed, in to the chair, on to crutches. You will need to have a practise going up and down the hospital ‘pretend’ version of stairs on crutches and to demonstrate you can manage them safely before you go home.
Occupational Therapy will visit you in hospital to check your progress and circumstances at home, to make sure you have equipment you need for your home set up.
They brought me a ‘leg-up’ which is amazing for helping you lift your operated leg safely, as it may be heavy/ numb afterwards. It can be sore it it’s lifted unsupported so this becomes a vital piece of kit. They also brought things to help out on socks and a grabber. A grabber is great as you never drop so many things until you can’t pick them up off the floor!!
Make sure you have any constipation issues under control before you leave hospital.
You may need daily injections for a few weeks. Work out who will do your injections when you get out of hospital. A district nurse may do this but think about it before and organise this as it has to happen daily and at roughly the same time. (I am not squeamish and thought I could do this myself but I was glad to have a family member to do this - in fact I think they were queuing up)!
Before discharge you will have a discharge letter which is a copy of the letter to your GP and a list of your medication. They provided some of this for me to take but the paracetamol and ibuprofen I was asked to get myself. I need a lot of this - so worth getting a family member to get a supply of these for you at home before you leave hospital.
Ask who to call if you need help with pain relief or advice after your discharged. Take the phone number of the ward and your consultant. You don’t want to get home and then feel in no man's land, as the GP’s don’t always have all the answers as it’s very specialist surgery.
Find out where you will get your wound re-dressed after discharge. (If necessary - some wounds are sealed with glue and don't need to be re-dressed.) I called my GP and arranged an appointment at the local walk-in centre. (I called twice and the second time I explained what I had done in detail and managed to get a booked appointment).
Getting home after surgery
Ask for a wheelchair to get you out to the entrance and ask someone to carry all your things. (I took a big box of sweets for the ward staff to say thank you and they loved it! They deserved it - they work very hard)!
I had a high-up car (a galaxy) and found that fine to step in to gingerly -and no issues getting in very slowly. We put a plastic bag on the seat and I swivelled around on it. I had the top part of the seat tilted back and my legs out long. Holding on to the seat so I didn’t move. I didn’t need pillows in the car but some people have mentioned that as being useful. My husband has never driven so slow before but he managed it!