After Surgery – Discharge Day

After surgery and healing, there is freedom. My favorite hospital day is always discharge day. Typically I know it is coming ahead of time. They will usually tell me I can go home the following day provided certain criteria is met. When I had my hip replacements, I had to be able to get up the hall, up one flight of stairs and back to my room on my crutches. Once I could do that, they knew I could make it at home.

So the morning of my release, there were a few hoops I have jumped through. My surgeon has had to check everything and give it the nod. There is always a doctor assigned to the floor, and they have to check my chart and make sure I am safe to leave. One of the two of them usually has to write me some prescriptions before I go. Last time even the physiotherapist had to sign off.

Before I leave, I always get my instructions for next steps. Care for my dressing and incision, sometimes they will send me home with all the equipment I need for changing it. Also I make sure I know when I am next seeing my doctor and my surgeons for follow up. John makes sure he knows it as well; I may forget, considering the medication. Best to know the rules of what I may and may not do when I get home. No use undoing all of the hard work.

All of these reviews and approvals usually take up the morning. I think the earliest I have ever gotten out was 11 am. Usually it is early afternoon before I’m out of there.

I am usually so eager to leave that John has come to the hospital after breakfast to wait with me. John always makes sure that we’re ready to run the minute we get the word. I ask for my prescriptions early and he turns them in at the hospital pharmacy, so that we can have them when we leave. He packs my bags and takes them to the car to make sure we don’t forget anything. And most importantly, he secures a wheelchair to get me to the car.

I always time my pain medication carefully that day. For me, there is about 2 to 3 hours when my medication is most effective. If I can take it about 30 to 60 minutes before we leave the hospital, then I can be fairly comfortable the whole trip. That way by the time I get the release we are ready to run. Or roll as it were.

Ideally you have a little prep done beforehand. John always brings me stuff for the trip home.

  • Coat and boots or running shoes, whatever is right for the weather
  • Pillows or rolled up blankets to prop myself up and be comfortable in the car
  • Clothes that are easy to get on around whatever incisions are still tender
  • Crutches or brace or whatever I will need to walk when we get home

He usually checks the route on the way to get me. We learned a lesson coming home from one of my knee surgeries; we took a road full of potholes and I was almost in tears by the time we got home. Now we take a longer route if necessary, to make sure we have a smooth ride.

He also makes sure that the bed or couch is ready for me when I get home. When I come through that door, all I want to do is lay down and rest. I am so uncomfortable and so tired that I have nothing else in me. When I wake up, he usually runs out and brings home whatever I am in the mood for dinner and for breakfast in the am.


Check out my last post in this series:  After Surgery – Hospital Routine