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Quick question about major surgeries?

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SarahLovesJS

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So FMIL had major surgery on Monday and we want to go visit her (they''re hoping she will be home by Saturday..I don''t know how likely that is, but she is doing really well so far). I think I am coming down with some kind of cold..and I am wondering if I should be around her? I don''t want to get her sick considering how weak she is right now..any advice? I mean should I not be concerned about this?
FI seems to think it''s no big deal..but I don''t know.
 

neatfreak

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I would say it depends on the type of surgery. But if you call the nurses station they could tell you what they think-which is probably the best route.
 

AmberGretchen

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Ditto on calling the nurse''s station. In general though, I''d say unless you''ve got something really virulent (i.e. high fever), and you''ve been symptomatic for at least a few days, you''re unlikely to be contagious anymore. The only situation in which I''d worry (other than those mentioned above), is if she had some kind of organ transplant and will be on immunosuppressive drugs, which would definitely make her more vulnerable to infections.
 

whitby_2773

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hi sarah :)

i would definitely stay away from your FMIL until you are well.

when you have a surgery of any seriousness, patients who remain in hospital are immediately placed on antibiotics the vast majority of the time - specifically to help them avoid infections - for 2 reasons; they''re much more susceptible to them than normal, and also because if they *were* to get an infection they would cope with it so much less well than normal. for instance, can you imagine getting a cold - with all that sneezing and coughing - if you''ve just had an abdominal incision? ouchie!! sneezing and coughing, just as an example, can bust sutures and so forth. it''s also much harder to recover from an infection when your resources are already down.

anyway, i''ve had a few major surgeries and have always been on i/v antibiotics for that very reason. if you feel you must visit her, stand at the edge of the room, try not to touch anything that might be passed to her later on where she could pick up your germs, and if you''re sneezing and/or coughing, try to step out into the hall when you do so. and ignore all the people who say "oh go oooon - give her a kiss! what harm can it do??"

and i hope you feel better soon too! :)
 

joflier

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Personally, I would wait. Her immune system is probably weakened, and she is a lot more susceptible to catching something. A cold for you is no biggie, but depending on her health and condition, a bacterial or viral infection can sometimes turn into pneumonia for post op patients.
If you do go, I would wear a mask, definitely make sure your hands are scrubbed clean, and don''t get too close. What type of surgery did she have? I hope she''s recovering well!
 

SarahLovesJS

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Good point, didn't think about that! She had a mastectomy..it's kind of been a rollercoaster week because while we've only gotten good news all week thank God (no additional areas of cancerous cells, she's doing well, etc.)..I don't think they fully explained to FI and I what exactly was being done before she went in if that makes sense. They made it sound a lot less invasive...a lot less major than it was. Don't get me wrong I know there is of course more invasive and more major surgeries, and they did try to include us..but I don't know I still felt a little shocked on Monday to find out exactly what was done and that she was in ICU (which I know now is normal). Because she was in such early stages I thought she was only having a lumpectomy done, but I don't blame her at all for having the mastectomy considering that it often comes back it seems and then she would have had to go in again. Maybe I was being naive, or maybe we just had some miscommunication..but anyway..I will give them a call tomorrow and see what they suggest as per me visiting or not.

ETA: Just saw the other opinions..hmm. I am wondering if I could just help FI pick out a gift and send him by himself? It's over a 2 hour drive and I don't want him to go by himself though and..I don't want her to think I didn't want to come see her or something. I mean I had blocked out all of Wednesday initially to come see her (but FFIL advised we should wait until she was out of ICU which was a good idea). Sigh..but he's a big boy I know he can handle it. Ah so confusing!
 

LostSapphire

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May I 'weigh in' on this one?

Major surgery? Please don't visit her. Wait until she is home. Shower her with flowers (from afar) for now, and phone calls, etc. etc. EVEN when she gets home, please don't visit until you are ONE HUNDRED PERCENT HEALTHY. She doesn't need the added responsibility of her immune system fighting off your germs.

I was in neurosurgial ICU in January. And cannot believe the people who came into the unit sniffling, snorting, coughing, etc. etc. I watched the guy in the next bed (who was in a coma for pete's sake) get visited by people who should have stayed home. And why were they there? Stay home people!!!?

What it did for me, was raise my anxiety levels. I was terrified of catching something. I was scared that someone was going to sneeze on me. One night, at 3 a.m., I woke up and saw and some dude who decided to 'drop in' after his shift to visit his buddy in the next bed.... I woke up with him standing at the end of my bed sounding like a commercial for Vicks Vapo-Rub.

Sorry if this sounds like a rant. But not that long ago, I was laying in bed with tubes stuck into my brain worried about some guy within 5 ft of my bed sneezing....
I am always amazed at the visiting habits in hospital of some relatives. (I'm not saying you, just speaking from my own personal experience)

You can be a far better 'visitor' by not sharing your possible infection, to her, or to other patients! Please don't call the nurses' station and ask permission to visit. If you are the least bit concerned, wait until she is home. And then wait some more.

ok sorry, rant over.

LS

p.s. and I don't mean just "major surgeries". I mean hospital visits in general. The patient you may want to visit "may" be healthy enough to ward off your infection, but maybe not the person in the next bed, in the corridor, in the visitors lounge, etc. etc.
 

FrekeChild

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Ditto LS. Ditto ditto ditto.
 

SarahLovesJS

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Thanks for weighing in LS, that''s exactly why I was concerned..looks like my concern was reasonable.
Going to report all of this to FI. He bought me some Zicam since I am not in full-fledged cold yet..so hopefully that will get me back to 100% by later in the weekend and we can stop by. Otherwise I will go visit her during the first weekend in May I think and help FI "shower her from afar" as you said!
 

LostSapphire

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Date: 4/16/2009 8:57:24 PM
Author: SarahLovesJS
Thanks for weighing in LS, that's exactly why I was concerned..looks like my concern was reasonable.
Going to report all of this to FI. He bought me some Zicam since I am not in full-fledged cold yet..so hopefully that will get me back to 100% by later in the weekend and we can stop by. Otherwise I will go visit her during the first weekend in May I think and help FI 'shower her from afar' as you said!
Hi Sarah

Sorry if I sounded like I was typing in ALL CAPS! Your question brought out a visceral reaction in me. I had totally blocked out the memory of that night I woke up with the guy at the end of my bed....either that, or maybe they drugged me after seeing my reaction!


It was so strange, as my DH had said no visitors for me. But then, being in an ICU, I got to 'enjoy' everyone else's visitors! YUCK.

Shower her from afar! She will love you for your consideration...as will the other people in the unit who may be susceptible to infection!

Hope she's doing ok. Probably has a rough road ahead for a little while. Best wishes and a smooth recovery to her.

LS

ETA: one other thing and I'll shut up: they discharge patients really fast these days. A lot of people don't realize that just because a patient is home, doesn't mean they are up to a houseful of visitors either....in fact, the first bit at home is harder because you've lost the nursing support.
 

AmberGretchen

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Date: 4/16/2009 8:47:53 PM
Author: LostSapphire
May I ''weigh in'' on this one?


Major surgery? Please don''t visit her. Wait until she is home. Shower her with flowers (from afar) for now, and phone calls, etc. etc. EVEN when she gets home, please don''t visit until you are ONE HUNDRED PERCENT HEALTHY. She doesn''t need the added responsibility of her immune system fighting off your germs.


I was in neurosurgial ICU in January. And cannot believe the people who came into the unit sniffling, snorting, coughing, etc. etc. I watched the guy in the next bed (who was in a coma for pete''s sake) get visited by people who should have stayed home. And why were they there? Stay home people!!!?


What it did for me, was raise my anxiety levels. I was terrified of catching something. I was scared that someone was going to sneeze on me. One night, at 3 a.m., I woke up and saw and some dude who decided to ''drop in'' after his shift to visit his buddy in the next bed.... I woke up with him standing at the end of my bed sounding like a commercial for Vicks Vapo-Rub.


Sorry if this sounds like a rant. But not that long ago, I was laying in bed with tubes stuck into my brain worried about some guy within 5 ft of my bed sneezing....
I am always amazed at the visiting habits in hospital of some relatives. (I''m not saying you, just speaking from my own personal experience)


You can be a far better ''visitor'' by not sharing your possible infection, to her, or to other patients! Please don''t call the nurses'' station and ask permission to visit. If you are the least bit concerned, wait until she is home. And then wait some more.


ok sorry, rant over.


LS


p.s. and I don''t mean just ''major surgeries''. I mean hospital visits in general. The patient you may want to visit ''may'' be healthy enough to ward off your infection, but maybe not the person in the next bed, in the corridor, in the visitors lounge, etc. etc.
WOW - OK, ignore what I said and listen to LS - she''s got much more personal insight here than I do. And honestly, even if you wouldn''t actually *be* a danger, its much better not to stress your FMIL out.
 

strmrdr

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go and ask for a mask and wear it.
Wash you hands before and after.
Just explain why you are wearing it.
I had a co-worker do that when she visited me in the hospital one time.
It was fine and I appreciated her dropping by.
 

SarahLovesJS

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Just wanted to say thanks again everyone and you''re right LS..she is being discharged tomorrow (FI talked to his Dad earlier and he is going to pick her up tomorrow), but I guess that doesn''t mean she is ready for visitors even this weekend..and no problem, I totally understand your reaction!


/mini threadjack: LS - On a side note, how are you doing these days?
 

LostSapphire

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Date: 4/16/2009 10:16:55 PM
Author: SarahLovesJS
Just wanted to say thanks again everyone and you''re right LS..she is being discharged tomorrow (FI talked to his Dad earlier and he is going to pick her up tomorrow), but I guess that doesn''t mean she is ready for visitors even this weekend..and no problem, I totally understand your reaction!


/mini threadjack: LS - On a side note, how are you doing these days?
That is great news Sarah! Discharged tomorrow, wow that is fast. The hospitals these days really want to get people home and out of that environment. There is such an issue with sanitation in hospitals that the current thinking is, the sooner the patient can go home and escape the germies, the better!

My Mom was the one who pointed out to me that even though I was home, I wasn''t ready yet. I was discharged 48 hours after my surgery and sent home in an extremely fragile state. She and DH put up a big "fence" around me and it really helped with my recovery. I felt so at ease being home, but also knowing that I could sit in the living room looking like sh*t without worrying that someone was going to just "stop by for a little visit".

We had a lot of internet visits, e-mails, phone calls, etc. etc. but no people in the house except my Mom and DH for about 2 weeks. But that was just me. Someone else may need people with them. The best way to figure this out is to talk to her or FIL and see what they think. She may have some emotional healing to work through as well. If they did a mastectomy there will be grieving over the loss of her breast.

More than anything I found people wanted to ''have a look'' to see how gruesome my head was. Kind of like a freak show. So having the time to heal and get my act together was a big help to me.

And thanks for asking. I''m doing ok. Almost managing full days at work without going into brain fog. I figure I''m about 70% back to normal. Getting there!

LS
 

VRBeauty

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As I understand it, you''re just as contagious when you''re ''coming down with" a cold as you are when you''re in the throes of sneezing, sniffling, and coughing. So I would stay away give FMIL a call and send something nice with FI, but stay away until you''re sure you''re over that cold. Much better to be safe than sorry in this type of situation.
 

AmberGretchen

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Date: 4/16/2009 10:38:10 PM
Author: VRBeauty
As I understand it, you''re just as contagious when you''re ''coming down with'' a cold as you are when you''re in the throes of sneezing, sniffling, and coughing. So I would stay away give FMIL a call and send something nice with FI, but stay away until you''re sure you''re over that cold. Much better to be safe than sorry in this type of situation.
Actually, you are more contagious - the most contagious period is from a couple of days before you start showing symptoms to a couple of days after. After you''ve been sick for about 3 days you are usually only minimally contagious, at least with the average viral cold.
 

Linda W

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Date: 4/16/2009 8:47:53 PM
Author: LostSapphire
May I ''weigh in'' on this one?


Major surgery? Please don''t visit her. Wait until she is home. Shower her with flowers (from afar) for now, and phone calls, etc. etc. EVEN when she gets home, please don''t visit until you are ONE HUNDRED PERCENT HEALTHY. She doesn''t need the added responsibility of her immune system fighting off your germs.


I was in neurosurgial ICU in January. And cannot believe the people who came into the unit sniffling, snorting, coughing, etc. etc. I watched the guy in the next bed (who was in a coma for pete''s sake) get visited by people who should have stayed home. And why were they there? Stay home people!!!?


What it did for me, was raise my anxiety levels. I was terrified of catching something. I was scared that someone was going to sneeze on me. One night, at 3 a.m., I woke up and saw and some dude who decided to ''drop in'' after his shift to visit his buddy in the next bed.... I woke up with him standing at the end of my bed sounding like a commercial for Vicks Vapo-Rub.


Sorry if this sounds like a rant. But not that long ago, I was laying in bed with tubes stuck into my brain worried about some guy within 5 ft of my bed sneezing....
I am always amazed at the visiting habits in hospital of some relatives. (I''m not saying you, just speaking from my own personal experience)


You can be a far better ''visitor'' by not sharing your possible infection, to her, or to other patients! Please don''t call the nurses'' station and ask permission to visit. If you are the least bit concerned, wait until she is home. And then wait some more.


ok sorry, rant over.


LS


p.s. and I don''t mean just ''major surgeries''. I mean hospital visits in general. The patient you may want to visit ''may'' be healthy enough to ward off your infection, but maybe not the person in the next bed, in the corridor, in the visitors lounge, etc. etc.


DITTO DITTO DITTO LS. When I had my surgery for ovarian cancer, I had one friend visit me. She told me she felt like she was coming down with the flu. My DH hurried her out the door fast.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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I''m sorry to hear about your FMILs surgery. I think you''re right in staying away, for two reasons. Regardless of the antibiotics patients are on, colds are viral. Antibiotics don''t work against viral infections, so you can''t be sure she won''t catch it. Even if it doesn''t cause complications. Do you really think she wants to deal with blowing her nose when she can''t raise her arms (from the removal of lymph nodes under her arms and the drains they put in). Reason two is more personal. She probably needs space right now. She''s just had major surgery to remove body party that are in part what makes her a woman. There''s a bit of an identity crisis that goes on. she is also going to be in a lot of pain and will be wrapped up to kingdom come with bandages. She''ll have drains that will help remove extra fluid that are not pretty either. I''m willing to be she''s going to have internal battles between wanting family close and feeling miserable about herself.

My mother had a double mastectomy a few years ago and went through this. It was disturbing for both of us. It''s so disturbing for me that I can''t even look at her scars. It isn''t that it''s gross, it hurts to look at them and realize how close we were to losing her.
 

SarahLovesJS

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Date: 4/17/2009 8:07:26 AM
Author: Hudson_Hawk
I'm sorry to hear about your FMILs surgery. I think you're right in staying away, for two reasons. Regardless of the antibiotics patients are on, colds are viral. Antibiotics don't work against viral infections, so you can't be sure she won't catch it. Even if it doesn't cause complications. Do you really think she wants to deal with blowing her nose when she can't raise her arms (from the removal of lymph nodes under her arms and the drains they put in). Reason two is more personal. She probably needs space right now. She's just had major surgery to remove body party that are in part what makes her a woman. There's a bit of an identity crisis that goes on. she is also going to be in a lot of pain and will be wrapped up to kingdom come with bandages. She'll have drains that will help remove extra fluid that are not pretty either. I'm willing to be she's going to have internal battles between wanting family close and feeling miserable about herself.


My mother had a double mastectomy a few years ago and went through this. It was disturbing for both of us. It's so disturbing for me that I can't even look at her scars. It isn't that it's gross, it hurts to look at them and realize how close we were to losing her.
I am sorry Hudson about your Mom, I am sure that was really rough to go through with her.
To be honest I can already see where FMIL is torn. She was excited about the reconstructive surgery they did (they removed the one breast and rebuilt it essentially) because she felt like got a "free tummy tuck and boob job" to quote her..lol which I think is great that she was/is so upbeat about it; however, now that the actual surgery has taken place I am sure the reality of has definitely, definitely set in. The reality that even though she had the reconstructive surgery and the "tummy tuck"..she's never going to be the same physically.
And while she decided to do this completely as a preventative measure and they didn't find any additional cancerous cells, I am sure she fears that it will show up somewhere else or something. Anyway..I am trying to convey this to FI..I am frustrated a bit with his response to his Mom's illness.

He's very worried, upset, confused..I can tell, but instead of trying to talk about it or letting me know he's acting in general like her illness isn't there and not doing the things I think I would do if it were my Mom. Granted, I am a lot closer to my Mom than he is to his Mom admittedly, but it's very confusing to me still. For example, he only made one attempt to call and check on her the night before last..and that was because I pushed him to. How could he not want to know how she was doing?
My theory is, knowing him and the fact that he's been extra moody lately (which he admitted was because he's so worried about his Mom), like I said that I think he is so worried he is instead trying to deny it. That's what it is..I think he's in denial. Denial of severity, etc. (although we do have an excellent prognosis, I keep reminding myself that we've only gotten good news to keep myself from worrying). Sorry for this long post, it's just an awkward situation to feel like I am the only one (aside from my family and some of my friends and FI's friends - well the ones that know) worrying about FMIL when she's not even my Mom and we're not extremely close..
But maybe it's also just that people have different responses to illness? I am a worrier, he isn't as much..not openly anyway.

Anyway..like I said sorry for such a long post. I am taking everyone's advice into account. I do feel a bit better today (think that Zicam stuff might work!!), but I'm not going up there tomorrow. I am working on talking FI out of it because I think he has the same cold-type thing now and won't admit it. We can't go visit her in person next weekend, but we can in two weeks..I think that might be a better time for her anyway his Dad keeps saying she just wants to rest and at least one of his sisters is already going to be all up in her business probably this weekend in addition to his one sister's boyfriend who lives there..oh man. Now I am feeling even worse for her because of how many people are going to be pestering her..
.

ETA: Maybe I should put in a call to FFIL tonight/this afternoon and let him know we're going to be delaying and ask if she'd rather have some flowers or tea? I know she loves tea, I am just not sure what she can/eat drink within the next few days or so any advice on that?
 

Hudson_Hawk

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She can probably eat/drink, but I''m not sure she wants to given the pain meds she might be on. I think sending her some nice tea and flowers would be nice and totally appreciated. I bet she''d also like a phone call from you and/or your FI...
 

bee*

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I definitely think that you''re right staying away until your cold is gone. I think sending flowers would be a lovely idea.
 

LostSapphire

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Hi Sarah

Been thinking about your FMIL today and just wanted to wish her a safe homecoming and BIG REST for the next little while.

I hope FFIL can get a 'fence' put up around her. Sounds like she wants some peace and quiet. Intruders need to be kept out!

LS
 

SarahLovesJS

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LS! I forgot to say earlier I am glad to hear that you''re doing so well, I''m still keeping you in my prayers!

Also, thank you for checking in on FMIL! It means a lot to me. I was delighted to found out FI had already called to check on her (on his own without me pestering) before he got home today. She did go home today, and FFIL asked the doctor before the left about if I should visit (since FI was not convinced by me alone telling him it was a bad idea he insisted that FFIL get a doctor''s opinion as well..sigh..I think he just wanted to go see his Mom if at all possible)...annnnd as expected the doctor said NO, NO, NO! I held back my, "I told you so and PS told ya so.." since it would be rude.
But anyway, the actual update part: my cold is worse, so I am soooo glad we''re not going..this is NOT allergies.
FI talked to his Mom and she said she was hanging out on the couch..she said she is, "very tired and crabby" and essentially told him in a nice way even if I was feeling better she didn''t want any visitors this weekend. Again, as expected. So! She asked that we come by either next week or later. So far the fence doesn''t seem very strong..:/..she''s on the first floor of the house in the living room which means people will be coming in and out and disturbing her a lot. I really wish they could find a more private area where she wouldn''t be so bothered.
Maybe I will have FI ask FFIL about it tomorrow? I mean she did also say something about being happy to be where she can see everything..so maybe she doesn''t want to move. I guess they''ll figure out what is best depending on what she wants. Now until we can go visit, we''re going to have fun and either go out tomorrow and pick something out for her or have something sent to her. I am thinking either the flowers, tea, or a nice candle would be cool, too. Something she can look at and/or enjoy since she''ll be spending a lot of time resting. We also gave her an easy wedding job to do: pick out her song for her dance with FI at the reception! Which means resting and listening to music. Anyway I will keep you updated, and thank you again! :)
 

LostSapphire

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Hi Sarah

For some reason, your FMIL and her post-op recuperation is on my mind today....just wondering how she''s making out?

LS
 

SarahLovesJS

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Hi LS, just saw this. You are so sweet!
She is doing pretty well...she had to go back in the hospital for a few days last week because she had some swelling and they didn''t want the swelling to start restricting the blood flow and mess up how well things were going. But she''s back home now!
Her only complaints at this point are of a bit trouble breathing and she says she''s very tired (I think the pain is pretty-well managed). She''s getting a spiffy new *and doctor recommended* recliner to relax in this week! So that will be really nice!!
Again, thank you so much for asking!
 

LostSapphire

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That is wonderful news! Sounds like she''s on the mend and will soon be back to her old self again.

LS
 
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