Tips for Hospital

Hoe_8 Busselton WAMember Posts: 3
Hi everyone. I am heading to Perth (live regionally) in a week for double mastectomy and stage one of reconstruction (lat dorsi and tissue expanders inserted). I won't have the luxury of anyone 'popping home' to grab anything I need so am trying to cover all bases in the packing. I am a Private patient and have been told I will be in hospital 6-7 days.  Any handy tips on what I should take would be greatly appreciated. I am nervous, scared but also keen to get the first step to recovery underway. I am a single mum (one Year 12 still at home, one at University in Perth) heavily reliant on my paycheck and nervous about the future as far as work is concerned but one step at a time....


  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 5,246
  • arpie
    arpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,482
    edited June 2022
    So sorry to see you join our exclusive group @Hoe_8 ..... but you've found the right place for support & tips on getting thru it all xx. Just whack up any question that you may have - there are none 'too small'!

    If you add your 'region' in your profile, others will know where you are 'generally' - as we have a few Regional WA members .... both north & south of Perth.  How are you getting to Perth?  Flying or driving?  I live in regional NSW & had a lumpectomy and found that a soft cushion helped preventing jarring from bumpy roads .... a 4hr drive to get home.

    Here is one link on 'tips on what to take to hospital' .... and the link below that has other info on the blog that may help you find your way around the blog more easily xx

    We even have some 'funny posts' to get you laughing again xx

    It's a good idea to cook up lots of frozen dinners if you can before heading to Perth, so it is easier on you when you return home. Will you have family support with you in Perth, other than your son at Uni?  Are you aware of the PATS scheme in WA?  You can claim petrol mileage & may be given flights to Perth for your trips - and access to a rebate scheme for your accommodation as well.  Have you been assigned a Breast Care Nurse yet?  They should be able to fill you in on the details - or just google it. xx

    If you have financial stress, the Cancer Council and some other philanthropic groups may arrange some assistance there, by way of paying for Rates bills, or giving Vouchers for petrol and/or groceries - don't be afraid to speak to the hospital Social Worker whilst you are there, as you are the single bread winner. xx

    take care and all the best xx
  • Hoe_8
    Hoe_8 Busselton WAMember Posts: 3
    Thank you so much! My daughter will drive me to Perth and plans to stay in Perth for the week and do remote learning, that will enable her to pop in during visiting hours (which are restricted but I think that is the same in every state atm). I have the phone number for my surgeons breast care nurse so will call and see if I can be connected with someone in my area. Thanks for the information about PATS - I had forgotten about that so will see if I qualify. 
  • arpie
    arpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,482
    edited June 2022
    Usually if you are more than 100-150k away from your hospital/treatment/medical team - you should be elligible.  Sometimes it depends on the number of Kms covered within a week .....

    You'll need your GP to fill in the initial form - and the surgeon/office to fill in the 2nd form ..... print off a heap of both - and throw them on the desk each time you see them ;). keep copies of each signed one before you send them off, too ;)  They can be notorious for 'losing them'! (in NSW anyway!)

    good luck - if you don't ask, you don't get xx
  • Abbydog
    Abbydog Adelaide, South AustraliaMember Posts: 365
    Dear Hoe_8,
    Your profile doesn't tell us much about your Cancer and treatment.
    Have you had radiotherapy? Is that why you are having a Lat Dorsi?
    4 weeks ago I had a prophylactic L Mastectomy and a R Lat Dorsi( following Mastectomy with Axillary clearance, Chemo and Radiotherapy) So not the same but some similarity.  On both sides I had tissue expanders. I was in hospital for 8 nights
    On the Lat Dorsi side, I had 4 wound drains. ( plus 2 drains on other side)
    My discharge from hospital was based on the drains slowing to finishing drainage. Last one out on the 8th day.
    I was told to expect a seroma, on the LD side. I have had it drained twice since discharge, possibly more to come.
    Have you been told something similar? Will you be returning to Perth for weekly Post op appts?
    I haven't found it very painful.The difficulty in hospital mostly related to getting in and out of bed with my 6 drainage containers. Some hospitals have special bags, for carrying them. If not pillowcases will do. I used a strong shopping bag with handles that were easy to grab on one side, pillow case on the other side. When walking around I put one bag into the other. I don't know if this makes sense. My friend said she used a dressing gown with large pockets, but she may have had less drains. 
    I took a warm dressing gown and a light weight one. I get lots of hot flushes and never know what I want.
    In hospital I always put near me what I wanted most. ie Battery operated fan, Kindle, Phone, lip balm, Paper and pen.
    I took my own pillow. I also took some snacks, including homemade Anzacs.  
    My surgeon wanted me to wear a supportive crop top or post op bra in hospital. You may need to buy something like this for hospital or after discharge. 
    Do you have any more Cancer treatment to have?  If so do you have any income protection insurance?
    Possibly in your Superannuation. 
    All the best. I truly hope your surgery and stay in hospital all goes smoothly.

  • Hoe_8
    Hoe_8 Busselton WAMember Posts: 3
    Thanks for all the tips. Mastectomy is first step - radiation and chemo to follow (apparently). My beast surgeon and plastic surgeon suggested to do recon at the same time. Not looking forward to managing the drains   :D Income protection is something I'll look into - thanks for the advice. 

  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 SydneyMember Posts: 696
     Wry small tip someone gave me - wash your hair the night before or morning of surgery .
    All the best🌺
  • Zoffiel
    Zoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 3,362
    Take a thermo cup and tea or coffee bags of your choice--shitty beverages in styrofoam are no way acceptable in stressful times.

    When you are admitted you will probably see a sheet of patient identifier stickers which are supposed to be stuck to your files. Use them shamelessly for your own purposes. Stick them on your phone, charger, baggage, glasses...anything you may become separated from in the seemingly relentless rotation to through wards. If you use them all, they will print more.