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Discharge from Hospital Post Surgery

Guest CFF

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hi all,

My dad had the Whipples op on xmas eve which has seemed (touch wood) to be successful, and after 3 weeks and a couple of complications they are thinking about releasing him (prison?). Surgeon initially said he would have drains attached (which I think we expected) but said a nurse would come to the house daily. Now they're saying my dad needs to empty the drains himself daily. Does anyone know how long the drains are likely to last once he's home and how tricky are they to operate?

Also, he's find eating really difficult in that he simply has no appetite but doctors saying he needs to focus on eating. For those of you that have been through this what was your experience of eating again post operation?? Think the poor man is getting v sick of his family putting variuous foods in front of him and telling him to eat...

Once again, I'm so grateful for this forum - the advice given before the op was great and helped to get me through the last 3 weeks of ups and downs.


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Hi C,

Glad to hear the operation was successful, I know it must have been a tough 3 weeks - but he should be over the worst of it.

When I was sent home I had several drainage tubes attached, but no bags on the end - just valves incase they needed flushing/draining. They stayed in for about 2 weeks so they could make sure I was eating and going to the loo without any complications. The tubes will be removed, but not at the same time. The removal is not the most pleasant of experiences....the quicker it's done the quicker it's over with. There were no stitches required afterwards, which was nice.

If he has disks that are attached to his skin, that hold the tubes in place will get sticky underneath and can smell (sickly sweet) - as you are not supposed to saturate them in the bath etc I found it easier to use baby wipes to clean underneath them. I would do this daily if possible.

I did however have a drainage bag inserted into my liver a month before the op, and this I had to empty daily, recording the amount on a sheet of paper. It was quite easy, and the valve on the bag very secure so no leaking. What I found helpful was pinning the bag to my clothing (with a safetypin) so it didn't pull on the tube (which was sewn onto my skin/ribcage so quite painful). Sleeping was restricted to on my back, with not much movement as you don't want to lay on them or pull them etc.

As for the eating.....I was the exception and wanted to eat as soon as I woke from the operation!

It is very important your Dad tries to eat, I know he may not feel like it but trust me, home made food is better than these nutri-shakes that they will offer to give him - they are ok, but not a patch on proper food.

He will need little and often, stuff that is easy to digest:

Personally I found white fish (like sole) poached in a little milk went down a treat.

Steamed veg (brocolli steamed, then add a little olive oil, salt & pepper its really tasty)

Try to stay away from bread for a bit as it may bloat him, if he does fancy some toast make sure it's brown or gluten free (spelt bread is good)

Try to include some Yakult or similar little drinks to help replenish the good bacteria in his intestines. They are easier to take than yoghurt and if he is up to it maybe some acidophilus capsules from the health shop.

Some organic honey, manuka or the likes just to sweeten stuff up or on toast, or if he likes honey a good spoonful a day to help build him up.

Floradix is a nice tonic, full of vitamins, minerals and iron - it's pleasant tasting and a great pic me up.

He will feel soooooooo much better when he starts to eat - but remember, ask for the CREON as there is a very high chance his pancreas will not make enough enzymes to digest and this will cause terrible colic and gripe....very painful, and coming out the other end will not be a walk in the park either.

Peppermint tea is good for digestion and trapped wind in the intestines - it's quite pleasant and can be sweetened with honey if required.

I was lucky as my appetite returned to normal instantly, infact my first night home from hospital I had a Tikka Massala..... ;)

Anyway, I wish him the very best, and hope he regains his appetite - tell him to view it as 'fuel/medication' for now....he may not 'fancy' it but he needs it to improve.

Kind regards,


p.s. how are you and the family doing? Did you manage to have a nice Christmas or was it too stressful with everything that was going on?

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hi Juliana,

Thanks so much for the response - v helpful. He finally got home about 11 last night!! Some problems with waiting for the pharmacy and meds and whether or not he should be injecting himself when home but finally sorted but he said he found his first night at home "blissful" which is good. Think the nurses, noises, smells, uncertainty etc really getting to him in the end.

He's got 3 drains in he did have one coming out of his liver but that's gone now. He's also got some essential meds in terms of antibiotics etc and some optional stuff. He's on 4 x energy drink things a day - we're being careful not to push him to eat as he's only just out. We're just going to make bits and pieces of food (soups, ice cream etc) and anything he does eat is a bonus.

He's experiencing indigestion and bile in his throat - think the hospital has given him anti nausea medication that is optional but it doesn't sounds like it is sickness from his stomach but more bile /indigestion?? We have a nurse coming over on Monday but not sure she'll really be able to advise. Maybe it's just depdendent on what he eats - bit of trial and error. Any thoughts?

Christmas was very surreal. Whilst we were all pleased that the operation had gone ahead (they weren't sure about the spread) it was quickly replaced with anxiety during his time in intensive care. We were in the hospital til 8pm Christmas Day (no facilities available for tea / coffee / food etc after 2pm oddly) and back again early Boxing Day but other family members had really made an effort to sort out some food late on both days and keep the children happy so they had some form of Christmas and we had an opportunity to be together in the evenings. Am so pleased he's home now for his sake, feel it's a mark of his progress and also that we're not using lots of energry with the long drive to the hospital each day.

How are you and how was your Christmas?


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