How long was your hospital stay?
Bratcat was in the hospital for 6 days. She was never in ICU. Just a regular room (although she was able to be on the pediatric floor as a 17 year old).
What items should I take to the hospital with me?
Undies that you don't mind ruining (don't buy new pretty underwear that you love). Loose clothing. Bratcat didn't change out of her hospital gown for several days. All the regular things: toothbrush, paste, brush, makeup (if you want), footwear that is easy to get on and off for when you walk. We also brought little things to keep busy--word search books, a book, iPod, etc. Bratcat wasn't in the mood to even look at any of those things. The ped floor has crafts and videos but she didn't even use those (rare for her). However when she went for her reversal, we borrowed the Wii they have there--she kicked my butt!)
Approximately how long did you have to take off work for recovery?
Bratcat had surgery on July 3. We did that so she would have the entire summer to recuperate before school. She was probably ready to go back as early as mid-August. I think that is around the time she started back at her job.
What was your recovery like?
The first few days in the hospital were hard for Bratcat. She learned very quickly how to use her pain pump lol! She found it very hard to walk the floor (which they say is good for recovery). At home in the beginning, she tired easily. When she started coming out with us (like to the supermarket), she would use the motorized cart the stores provided. She found it hard to walk any distance. If she walked a long time, she would get pain in her upper back. But it didn't stop her from doing things. She just had to readjust her thought process for the time. Getting used to the ostomy was interesting. It took both of us over an hour the first time we tried to change her ostomy appliance! I remember crying in a post on this forum. But everyone is wonderful here with lots of great ideas. Over time, we found a good routine that worked for her. In the beginning we were a little "grossed out" by the ostomy. By the end I think we were almost going to miss it! (But we did take some pictures including a few with ostomy as the nose in the middle of a happy face made out of stoma powder!)