Things to Take with you for Your Mesh Removal Surgery

It is because of the kindness and caring of the many ladies who have travelled the road (plane) to UCLA before me is why I am writing this blog.  You may feel overwhelmed by the time you reach your surgery date.  The last month will make you feel a little scatterbrained and unhinged.  Don’t worry.  That I can assure you is quite normal.  So when you begin to pack for your surgery, you will probably be trying to think what do you need other than normal things like clothes and toiletries.  This is a very trying time for many and a little wisdom and advice from a medical expert who has also travelled the same road could be of help to you now.  Thank you Denise for your never ending, wonderful advice and help.

This is what my lovely friend and helper sent to me recently via email.

Make sure to take a couple of long dresses with you (for the probable catheter) and maybe some Chapstick and wintergreen lifesavers to suck on in the days after surgery (helps to stimulate GI tract and helps with any nausea).  Also, there are a couple of drug stores w/in walking distance from UCLA and Tiverton.  After you’re there, get some of those ice packs that you “break” to activate to use after surgery.  They only last a couple of hours and are a little pricey, but I think less than $10 for two, but are worth it.  Make sure to get an extra one or two for the flight home.  I carried flowers (from my husband- my mom was with me there) and those ice bags went through security w/o any problems.  I have a tempurpedic travel pillow from Brookstone that goes everywhere with me- I usually sit on it but can also use it for my head.  If you have music on an iPod with portable speakers or earbuds, that’s good to take too.

Now from me.  I have already been for my consult and this time it will be for my own removal surgery.  I have a memory foam pillow that I have used before to travel in the car.  It sure helps when you sit and it is going with me.  I will also carry unscented baby wipes for quick hygiene.  I did that for my consult because I always feel more confident when I have doctors appointments.  You know it’s a woman thing.  We cannot carry water on board due to restrictions, but I carry an empty bottle I can fill and drink water at any water fountain without bending over.  I then empty it before boarding.  You must stay hydrated during your travel.  We need to do so more than others because we have urinary track problems.  On the way back I will have some enveloped of Emergen-C which is a energy vitamin pack that I can tip easily into a bottle and add water.  It has helped me through many times when I have left the house and do not feel well.   I wear long flowing skirts a lot, so that will be my preference for this travel time. 

Other suggestions are (thanks Lisa)  Maternity pads are better than sanitary pads in this situation.  You will bleed.  Not something fun to think about but necessary to know.  Stool softener, but don’t buy a name brand, they are all the same.  (I have mine ready) This mesh stuff is costing a lot as it is.  Lisa said she only bled two days, but everyone is different.  She had Miralax with her in addition to the stool softener.

From me again.  There are laxatives everywhere but I prefer Chelated Magnesium and it comes from Wal-Mart and a bottle of 250 pills and is only $3.  I take this daily to ensure my well being due to my mesh complications.  This will help you ‘go’ much easier and is very easy to carry.  It is also a natural product that you need in your body every day.  If you are taking any prescription drugs at all, you WILL get constipated and your magnesium level will be depleted anyway.  Also remember the all important probiotic and my medical friend Denise advises women to take it for one year after your surgery.  We have to do everything to keep those terrible infections at bay.  You will be taking some form of antibiotic after surgery, so you MUST counteract those side affects and put the good flora back into your body.

There are also things you need to know about the surgery.  No they are not pleasant but they are part of this and it is to allow you to be prepared and not to fear.  We may not always want to know, but it is truly better to know early and they get used to the idea.

Once again from Lisa, who went through this only 6 weeks ago.  She is doing very well after she had a very scary time.  Her infections were so bad, she would have died had the sling not have been removed.  If you need someone to talk to she is wonderful and will help you understand the tests you need to have done to make doctors realize your situation is dire and without FULL removal, the infection can and will kill you.  These type of infections do NOT respond to antibiotics.  If you want to know more, please do not email me for a few weeks.  I wont be available to answer.  Instead leave a comment here and another wonderful lady who is also a mesh sufferer will guide you to Lisa.  A wonderful note from Lisa.  She has now been infection free for 40 days.  Before sugery she could not go 21 days without one.  Give it a few days for a response for your comment.  Deb it trying to work during her pain to keep her insurance and she will not be checking every day.  Her life is not easy and yet she still wants to help other women.  Be patient.

Lisa’s surgery facts you need to know. 

  • Relative has to leave x730pm I believe, I sent husband back to motel for nap anyway, when you wake up from surgery, they give you narcotic to drink to knock you out again
  • Dr Raz makes his rounds 430 or 5am to check on you.   Right before surgery, I felt this serenity, like angels singing, it is such an awesome moment to finally be there. 
  • Normally next am discharge 7-730am, night nurse pulls all the gauze out of your vagina in the am
  • She kept pulling & pulling, they have it packed in tight, it didn’t hurt but started to b a little uncomfortable at the end.
  • Make sure you have hard copies of your records and your allergies
  • Also note that not all nurses are good.  Make sure that the call button is with you where you can reach it before your husband or other relative leaves to go back to the hotel at night.

 Another important thing.  If like me you have drug or other allergies, remind every person who walks in your room either before or after surgery.  Mistakes can happen.  For instance, I cannot have normal tape stuck on me after blood or iv needles.  My skin swells up with big blisters and I itch like crazy.  You will wear a bracelet about any drug allergies.  Check they got them all and correct.  Many of us have become very sensitive since this mesh implant was put into our bodies.  We cannot afford more illness.

I know you will worry until you surrender yourself to the hands of the great surgeons at UCLA.  Then you can lay there and think of a new, but better life without constant pain and letting your life pass you by.  That is the whole purpose of making this difficult journey.  I wish you well and if you feel this journey was worth it and gave you your life and your joy back, please email me your thoughts and I will post it here for you anonymously to help others. 

If you are staying in any of the hotels in the UCLA complex, take these numbers with you for shuttle service. 
Supershuttle  800-258-3826
Prime Time Shuttle  800-473-3743 These shuttles will take you to and from the airport and other places.

If anyone who has gone through this travel and surgery and can think of anything else, please leave a comment for others to read.  All we have is each other.  Without that, we remain alone and afraid.

3 Comments

  1. debc

    Excellent information! Thank you. Before, your tips from when you went to UCLA for your consult were so helpful to me to have before I went. And now, I have these for when I got back for surgery in January. =) I am just following in your footsteps, Lisa. Thank you for paving the way, and sharing your tips and experience to make travels for others, like myself, less intimidating.

    Also, I’m SOO glad your time has come and that you are going to Dr. Raz and finally getting the help you need and deserve. You are SOO Close! Must be exciting and then… next week =)!… let the HEALING begin!! =)

    Reply
  2. Carla eason

    I am going for surgery to remove TVT sling. How long should I stay after surgery. Dr. Raz says I can go home inin a few days but I feel I should stay to have the catheter removed at one week?

    Reply
    1. lavalinda

      Carla. Everything depends on what you can afford. IF you can stay a week, he will remove the cath before you go home. If you can’t afford a week, then you can remove it at home. Everything depends on what you can afford to do.

      Reply

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