Care package for a Friend

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LoveMyBraveHeart

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Joined
Aug 6, 2019
Messages
58
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USA
Hello friends!

Mathias had his surgical follow up yesterday and all went really well. Yay! He is healing tremendously, though he is having some terrible pain behind his left shoulder blade off and on. Surgeon said he couldn't definitively say whether or not a rib or two have hairline fractures from the opening process, so that should be a source of the pain. But as I've read from you lovlies, back, shoulder, and neck pain are all pretty common! Here's hoping it will subside soon.

My main question is about a care package for someone else in the family that is facing a mitral valve replacement before the end of the year. I am wondering what I could put in a care package for him with helpful things for before and after his surgery. I know Mathias loved his henley shirts for after discharge...the ones with the three buttons at the top he could keep undone so it didn't press on his incision. And also swears by a clay ice pack for his sore neck and for in his pillow case when he suffered the night sweats. Also non-menthol lozenges for his sore throat from the ET tube. But, I would love all of your input as well so what I put together is a helpful as possible. Plus if anyone has suggestions for things for his wife/caretaker that would be welcome, too!

Thank you in advance,
Jill
 
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Protimenow

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Aug 10, 2010
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It's funny how the original C.A.R.E. package (a charitable gift for survivors of World War II) has morphed into the more general term care package. It's a good sign. But, unfortunately, these things are still desperately needed in places around the world. Enough of politics.

Jill -- this is a great idea. It sounds like you've got many useful things picked out. If this other person in the family likes audiobooks, check to see if he or she wants a subscription to one of the service (or find out what this person likes to 'read' and get some), or if you think he or she will want to read, see about some ebooks or physical books. When I was recovering, I read paperbacks when I wasn't sleeping. This person probably has a phone - if not subscribed to a music service, maybe a gift subscription and a new pair of headphones will make recovery a bit more tolerable. (If the phone uses a micro or mini -SD, perhaps loading some music on it would be appreciated.

But, probably equally, of not more, important is the availability of you and Matthias to be there for emotional support, to be there to answer questions about your experiences, and as an example that, yes, even with some post-op setbacks, things usually turn out very well.
 

LoveMyBraveHeart

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Joined
Aug 6, 2019
Messages
58
Location
USA
But, probably equally, of not more, important is the availability of you and Matthias to be there for emotional support, to be there to answer questions about your experiences, and as an example that, yes, even with some post-op setbacks, things usually turn out very well.
Thank you! They live a long drive and a ferry ride away, so we will have to "be" with them in spirit and by way of virtual connection, unfortunately. I just thought they might appreciate a little something with items that have been helpful to a veteran of OHS, since ultimately, they are the only ones that really know what to expect and how it will feel and what helps, vs. what some might think will help, but doesn't. Interesting, since discovering of Mathias' heart issues, I have met/heard of more heart issues than I thought I would. The warriors are everywhere out there, and handling life with such grace and confidence. I'm amazed.
 

Zoltania

VR.org Supporter
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
185
Location
SF Bay Area, California
When I send care packages to surgery patients, I like to send:
  • something fun to read
  • something fun to watch (DVD)
  • something fun to do (crosswords, jigsaw puzzle, etc.)
  • a can of chicken soup (mostly symbolic)
  • candy (depending on what the person likes)
  • a small huggable stuffed animal
After my surgery, a neighbor gave me an orchid, which was a lovely addition to the living room where I was suddenly spending most of my days while off work.
 

Protimenow

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Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Messages
2,701
Location
California
When I suggested being 'there' for emotional support - this included the short or long phone call asking for support, or advice, or just feedback.

You can do it with a phone call, or something like Skype, where you can actually see each other. Just having others who've gone through it, and are able to discuss the bad as well as the good, and showing that as bad as it got, you're getting through it and Matthias is getting better, should be a valuable support that many of us didn't have available back when heart surgery was still not common in the population.

Sending a pillow or something for the sternal healing should be in the package. (I really like Zoltania's list).
 

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