How much time should a caregiver plan to take off from work to stay at home and help out?
- My wife took off from work a couple of weeks, so after I came home from the hospital she was still around helping me for slightly over a week.
- I suspect he will be glad for a little hovering for the first few days. I would recommend that he have assistance close by and available until the catheter comes out. As he is able to get up and around he will start feeling better.
- I took off the week of the surgery and the following week but I could have easily gone back to work the week after the surgery.
- I stayed with him at the hospital – believe me they need you.
- He will not be bed ridden and can get along fine by himself in 4 or 5 days post-op if not sooner. He will want to nap a lot at first and by the end of the second week be ready to return to work but still need loose fitting pants.
- There will be some pain after surgery and those days after are no time to be stupid and macho – enjoy the pain meds for the couple of days in hospital.
- My wife was around that first week. She was home all day the first two days and half days after that. Really, I was a little rocky with the first shower and a lot of that had to do with being weak and have to deal with the urine bag. I could dress myself, albeit slowly, from the first day.
- WE WERE BOTH RETIRED SO TAKING OFF WAS NOT AN ISSUE. NO MORE THAN TWO WEEKS IF THAT. HE WILL LEARN WHAT HE CAN DO AND WHAT HE CAN NOT DO VERY SOON.
- BE THERE. PLAY IT BY EAR – WATCH HIM GETTING UP A FEW TIMES. IF HE DOES NOT NEED HELP THEN FIND A GOOD BOOK. AS FAR AS MEDS, IF HE NEEDS SOMETHING FOR PAIN, HE WELL LET YOU KNOW.
- I would have been able to take care of my needs without any help at all times. It would be helpful to have someone around for a couple of days, because getting around was slow and sometimes painful, but I didn’t need anyone to “hover”, but it was nice to be “spoiled” a little bit.
- My wife took off a week after we got home. After a week, I could get up and take care of myself for the day using my rope to get out of bed. It took me about 10 days before I could get my feet up on the bed myself. She helped me at night with showering and getting my stuff together to clean the catheter tube, etc.
Additional tips and information:
- Try to get your doctor to write out your prostate cancer post-op prescriptions, so that you can get everything now. Your doctor will probably prescribe Viagra or Cialis, your insurance company won’t pay for it: expect to spend several hundred dollars on this until your mojo recovers.
- Bring a box of donuts to the nurses station…a little food bribe can go a long way.
- I slept a lot. This operation consumed an enormous amount of my stamina. For the first week, I napped every morning and afternoon. But after the first couple of days, I felt competent to attend to all my own needs. Lifting is an issue. I was restricted to 10 pounds for the first month. My wife made sure that anything I needed was where I needed it to be so I wouldn’t have to lift.
- Walking is the best and only form of exercise he will be allowed for sometime following surgery. It will help him heal. He needs to get his walking muscles into shape before the operation. I was walking over a mile a day with the catheter in. Once it was removed, I quickly got up to 4 miles a day.
- He should be doing his Kegel exercises now. They are the one thing that will he can do to help himself regain continence after surgery. I started doing mine about a month before surgery. I could easily do 100 of them the day before surgery.
- I was surprised that the emotional shock of the whole process hit me more once I came home and was dealing with the catheter, etc… Sort of a post-traumatic shock. Prior to surgery it was all business. I didn’t find the surgery to be all that bad and I had a large one to haul out. I was tired and seemed to feel more discomfort once I started walking a lot. I guess I over worried about the surgery. Friends told me to not think about it or try to visualize the surgery, I found that good advice.
To DO: Weekend before surgery
- DINNER AT HIS FAVORITE RESTAURANT. NO KIDS
- A NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN JUST FOR HIM. AGAIN NO KIDS
- SEX AS IF YOU WERE BOTH STILL 24 (or 18) IN A MOTEL ROOM
To DO: Throughout
- TALK TO EACH OTHER
- HAVE FAITH IN EACH OTHER
- Get a haircut and trim your toenails before surgery
- Diet plan – coffee is bad for bladder, eat more fruit, less meat, no cheese & bananas while on stool softeners. Diet and supplements are part of permanent recovery plan.
- But be sure to get up and walk frequently as it will speed recovery.
- Get him UP and WALKING! This is vital for his physical and emotional healing.
- If he is doing well he will be walking – I walked around the block the first day out of the hospital, and by the end of a week was walking two to three miles in one stretch per day and up to 8 miles by the second week in one stretch. The exercise really helps.