“You can go home today”
The most joyful words that can be uttered during a morning ward round when you have been in hospital for anything more than a couple days.
You think back to your home and all the wonderful lovely things that await you – a soft bed. A shower! Fresh pjs and bed sheets. No more bleach smell. Peace, quiet and your creature comforts.
But what exactly have you agreed to upon discharge? Have you take too much on? What if you can’t do everything you’ve been asked to do, were you too optimistic?
I’ve named this feeling ‘Discharge Euphoria’.
When and why does Euphoria happen?
It usually happens the day after an awful night of sleep or when you’ve finally felt comfortable since coming in or since your surgery. You come to a moment of clarity when all you can think about is getting home. That’s it, I’ve had enough, I want out of here. There is definitely some element of cabin fever associated with Discharge Euphoria.
You either find ways in which to prove yourself or you agree to anything and everything you can in order to get out.
This usually happens because of this ‘break’ in cabin fever or the wonderful drugs you’ve been given are keeping you high or super comfortable that you’ll be very suggestive. I’ve been there, on both ends of this break in cabin fever and it was all down to my pain relief.
I was very aware of Discharge Euphoria leading up to my Protectomy surgery in March, so I was intrigued to see what would happen on that particular admission and how I could stop myself from committing to too much on discharge.
- Pain Medication – Morphine, Oxycodone, Tramadol – all your Opiates and above – will state a side effect is feeling high and you can become very suggestive. Take this in to consideration when taking and planning to go home with your medical team.
- Ward Staff – knowing they are only at the end of a buzzer is great when you’re unable to get out of bed, but it can be a crutch.
- With that, being unwilling to move due to pain, means you don’t really know how much things will hurt when you have no choice but to be active in looking after yourself. This is also connected to energy levels too.
Lots of provoking questions with some possible answers:
- Firstly, be honest with the staff. Take the safer, longer route if you need to for when you go home, because only you know what your body can handle and what its limits are. There is no point in commit yourself to – for example – daily dressing changes at your GP practice if you are unable to travel alone for a while. It is about being flexible but reasonable. They can help guide and advise you on what is ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ but in the end, it is your care.
- Secondly, whilst wanting to come off pain relief in hospital, it is always smart to have some to go home with. I don’t usually ask for anything to be taken off my chart unless I have absolutely no need for it, or it’s not worked. So most times on discharge I will be waiting for my pain relief, as it’ll be strong and varied to help me cope better alone at home.
- Thirdly, discuss discharge plans with your loved ones. I was in cahoots with my mom for the majority of my final days in hospital after my latest surgery, because she was reasonable and sensible in what I could realistically do. With this in mind, it’s always smart to have a possible contingency plan in case you feel worse after discharge. Fundamental to this is having a route to get access to more medications (if needed) and a copy of your notes too.
- Fourthly, if you feel comfortable to do things for yourself in hospital, you can do them. It shows some self reliance and independence too. But please, only do this once you do feel well enough – for example, taking a shower; you’ll need to be able to stand up for a small amount of time, reach all areas of your body and dress yourself with probably a cannula in.
Things to think about:
Can you manage alone at home?
Do you have support afterwards?
Having been in hospital, there might be essential household chores that need doing. Can you do these?
Remember you’ll be weaker and more tired.
Maybe make a list of what is essential and only do that.
Things won’t fall apart if you don’t do everything right away.
Pace yourself: recovery is a tough process.
Have you experienced any of this?
Do you have any questions or queries? Or just want to share your own experiences? You can leave me a reply here or leave comments via my social media accounts – on Twitter, find my blog page on Facebook and over on Instagram