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Going to hospital – getting ready to go in

Going to see a specialist at a hospital in France involves a carefully choreographed dance to the tune of computer printouts and the rustling of paperwork. In part three of our ‘Going to Hospital’ series, we look at how you should prepare for your operation.

Getting ready to go in

Shower and wash as prescribed on the days before the operation.  Pack your jim jams or nightie (jim jams with buttons if you are having an operation on your chest – I have learnt – nightie or bed shirt if it involves legs, etc.

On the day of your admittance don’t wear make-up or jewellery, take off any false nails or eyelashes.  Black glasses are allowed in case you are recognised!

If you have a problem with bed pans you might want to investigate taking your own.  I always find that a visit to a pharmacy to get one larger than normal is a real bonus.  Sorry to be so graphic but when using a bed pan I never produce a steady stream, it is more like a spurt in all directions and, frankly, tiny bed pans just don’t cut it.  Nurses don’t really like changing sheets that many times a day.

What to take with you

Anyway, I digress.  Along with your night attire you need to take slippers, a dressing gown, towels, a change of clothes, spare night wear and your usual creams, cosmetics, shavers and tablets together with your prescription and your passport.

I don’t usually use a flannel but they get quite upset if you don’t have one and if you don’t take your own soap.  You also need to take your prescribed “body wash” as you will need to ensure that you are squeaky clean on the night before the op.  It may not smell nice but your hair will be really soft afterwards.

A few other things to take, depending on the length of your stay, could include a kettle, tea bags or coffee, sugar or sweeteners, biscuits, chocolates, your own pillow, books, crosswords, DVDs, sewing (I once cross stitched two Christmas cards during one stay), portable phone and iPad, complete with cables.

My husband always hated the fact that he couldn’t bring me flowers as they are classed as a bug carrying health risk so he bought some beautiful fake roses which he would place in a vase, next to pictures of the children and the squidgy clown that my daughter always gave me for luck.

The flowers were so lifelike that many a nurse would come in and gasp, somewhat in a panic, “non, pas des fleurs”, before having to smell them to believe that they were not as real as they looked!

Look out for part four, where we’ll discuss what happens during the Admissions phase.