Here are some lists which may be helpful to those facing PAO:
Stuff I took to the hospital and needed:
~A notebook and pen. I wrote everything down - questions, instructions, how I was feeling - because my memory wasn't 100%. It's fun to re-read some of my entries now.
~A lightweight bathrobe that reached just above my knees. I wore this when I was working with physical therapy in the hallways so I didn't feel exposed and when I had visitors.
~Cell phone - I made a lot of calls for things like making sure the hospital bed would be delivered on time and to keep in contact with Perry and my parents when they weren't in the hospital. Since I didn't have a watch it was good to have the cell phone so I knew what time it was.
~Book - I was told I'd be too out of it to read, but I wasn't. I didn't have the attention span to read for long periods of time, but I was glad I had the book for times when I was bored.
~Box of chocolate for the nurses and others at the hospital - mixed reviews on this because everyone was on a diet. A few nurses really liked chocolate and I was glad I had something to offer them. I ended up eating most of it but there's nothing wrong with that!
~My favorite body lotion (which the physical therapist loved too). When they took tape off I had dry, irritated skin and this helped.
~My favorite lip balm - my lips were very dry after surgery and throughout my hospital stay.
~Ear plugs - hospitals are noisy. CPM machines are noisy. Ear plugs are a must if you want to get any sleep at all.
~Basic toiletries - toothbrush, toothpaste, deoderant, hair brush, etc. The hospital had all of these things but they were inferior quality and it was just nicer to use my own. Don't take things like makeup or hair styling products because you won't have the energy to care what you look like. Just take stuff to keep you clean and comfortable.
~Baby wipes - I used these when I couldn't shower. It didn't work very well but was better than nothing, and good to wipe my hands and face now and then.
~Laptop - goes against the advice to take no valuables. I could have lived without it because I didn't do any blogging, but I did check my personal e-mail once per day. I should have taken my Blackberry instead since it's a lot smaller and less expensive if stolen.
~Ipod - goes against the advice to take no valuables, but I took my nano and not the expensive Ipod given to me by a friend, and figured nobody would steal it. It was very worth having; listening to music kept me calm and entertained.
~Chargers for all of my electonics
~Health insurance/prescription card - you will need to get your prescriptions filled before leaving the hospital. Someone will need to pay the co-pay so make sure whoever is helping you come home has money or give them your credit card in advance.
~List of my medications/allergies
~My own pillow - I have a pillow I love and it made me more comfortable.
~Clothes to wear home - loose, comfy sweats or pajama bottoms and a t-shirt. Sturdy shoes.
~Comfort items for the ride home - If you are riding a long way in a car or airplane, a small pillow or rolled up towel will help pad where the seatbelt goes right across your incision. Since I was being driven home in my own car, I had a couple other pillows for padding as well. I also had a plastic bag placed on the car seat which made it easier to swivel into and out of the car.
Stuff I took to the hospital and didn't need:
~Prunes for constipation - didn't eat these until I got home but I probably should have.
~Peanut butter in case I was desperate for something to eat and there was nothing vegetarian on the menu. Didn't touch it as the hospital had plenty of vegetarian items.
~Several pairs of underwear - didn't wear them at all as even the boy shorts were uncomfortable. It wasn't a big deal to go al fresco.
~Several comfy nightshirts - on the day I was going to start wearing my own clothes they discharged me, so I never wore them! I wore hospital gowns for 5 days and that was fine. If you want your own clothes though, do bring them.
~Drivers license - I thought they would ask me for ID at some point in the check in process, but they didn't. Damn, I should have sent someone else to have the surgery in my place!
Stuff I left home:
Things do get stolen at the hospital, although with a PAO you will rarely be far from your room; sometimes though you may be sleeping and out of it. I don't like to be paranoid but better safe than sorry.
Stuff they will give you in the hospital to take home:
~Crutches (the physical therapist will adjust them for you too)
~Non-slip socks (I bought these in advance but the hospital sent me home with a pair)
~TEDS (anti-clot elastic stockings you have to wear for some length of time; for me it's two weeks)
Stuff you may want to buy/install before you get home. (I don't think insurance pays for most of this, but you should check with yours to be sure. Mine paid for the commode because it was delivered with my home hospital bed. I think all of this qualifies as deductible medical expense on your taxes, so save your receipts and consult your tax adviser.) Even though I didn't need some of this, you might:
~Commode (I didn't need it)
~Raised toilet seat (I didn't need it)
~Grab bars in shower and near toilet (I didn't install them but if you are handy it's not a bad idea)
~Shower chair (invaluable to sit down while showering)
~Hand-held shower head (makes it much easier to shower; if you can, get one with a pause switch - I didn't and wish I had)
~Grabber (this would have been handy in the hospital too)
~Sock putter onner
~Other hip kit items (long shoe horn, long handled scrub brush, dressing aid)
~Comfy chair (recliners are great)
~Home hospital bed with trapeze (I have one because my surgeon prescribed a CPM machine; otherwise it would have been nice to have but I would not have spent the money for it. Depending on your mobility and whether your insurance will pay for it, it might be something you consider renting).
~Walker (easier to get around with than crutches at first for some).
~Non-slip socks (they gave me some to take home in the hospital but I'm not sure if this is always the case).