Surgery in less than a month....What to expect?

Hello everyone!! My mom has a small aneurysm and she is having surgery @ Northwestern Memorial Hospital in less than a month. I would like to ask you, what is a piece of advice you would give to a person that is going to have surgery and to the family as well?

Personally I would like to know if you would recommend/advice to have a family member with the patient at all times? But what I have read I understand that patients need the family support and I would like to know if having a family member would help my mom to recuperate faster or at least not feel as much depressed.

I’ll really appreciate your input.

Thank you very much.

I had two aneurysms clipped in July. I had at least one family member in the hospital with me until I was released and I am thankful for them. They kept me company when I was awake, tried to find me things I liked to eat, called the nurses when needed. Helped me with my gel eye masks (LOVED those things--they were so soothing), etc.

My mom stayed with us until my 2 week followup. Even though my husband is self-employed & works from home, it was nice to have her here. She hovered a little too much, BUT it was nice to have someone else cook & do some grocery shopping. Her help also let my husband focus on his work to keep our business running.

I didn't want a lot of company--I was tired a lot, so between my mom & husband, they screened the phone calls so I could rest.

I french braided my hair before surgery. My hair was waist length, and I knew that 3 days in the hospital would leave me with a major mass of tangles otherwise. They shaved the part they needed for the surgery & left the rest in braids. I went to my hairdresser a week after I was released & she washed my hair for me. That was real pampering! She was very careful to avoid my stitches, but got out the blood that was matted in my hair. She gently washed it and combed it--she spent an hour on me.

I bought scarves & caps to wear to cover my incision & new punk rock hair do. I had some scarves already and I bought some inexepensive ones at WalMart. My favorite ones to wear came from They make caps & scarves for women who lose their hair to chemo, so they are designed to stay put & aren't poky or scratchy.

What really helped me is staying positive & making jokes. In addition to the aneurysms, I have a cerebral AVM (arteriovenous malformation).

Thank you so very much for responding. I am glad you are doing good after your surgey. I have been planning and taking at least two weeks off from work to stay with my mom and now, after reading your comments I am sure that would be the right thing to do.

Are there any specific stuff would you recommend me to get for her to have in her hospital room that would make her feel comfortable and help her feel like home?

I overpack for everything, so I ended up with so much stuff that I didn't use that other people had to haul around.

I took a blanket--and everyone else used it! The nurses kept me warm with plenty of bedding, including sheets they had heated. The chair for people who stayed with me was under an a/c vent, so they used my blanket from home. I took my laptop & never used it--everyone else did. All I really wanted/needed was my smartphone, some lip balm (DEFINITELY take some lip balm for her), a tank top & pair of elastic waist shorts. I couldn't wear my glasses due to the swelling & location of my incision, so I couldn't watch tv or see a computer screen. I did listen to the tv, though. Before I could see well enough to read messages on my phone (I check email & facebook on it), my husband read me all of the well wishes that people were sending. THAT really helped.

I had trouble opening my mouth for eating & had a hard time chewing--and I'm a picky eater. My mother-in-law bought me a mocha after I was transferred to a regular room. I drink either hot or iced mocha almost every morning and after not being allowed to have one for 2 days I was SO happy to get one. One night that I didn't like my dinner, my husband went down to the cafeteria & bought me a bowl of gumbo (one of my fav. comfort foods). Just those two things--mocha & gumbo--made me feel a little happier. So...if there is a comfort food your mom likes (that is easy to eat), see if you can find it for her while she's there. I really wanted chicken & dumplings, but didn't get them. I made some for myself the next week.

When they let me start drinking fluids again, I was so thirsty! So try to keep her ice water full & within reach.

I learned on GK day that IV pain killers make me nauseous. I need an anti-nausea med to go with them. I did ok with oral vicodin tablets after surgery, though.

Hi Norma...My biggest advice...while in the Hospital recouping...ask Surgeons/Doctors all the questions you can think of about mother and for when she goes home...unfortunately, once you are released it is harder to get information from Doc's...

I couldn't have done it without my husband and mother...they stayed with me during the day in ICU...but had night I needed my rest and so did I slept in the room myself...I was lucky enough to have a nurse right on the otherside of the window at all times...

You have my and all the family....keep us posted...Colleen

Hi Norma, your mother is a blessed woman to have a daughter like you.

All the advise you have gotten so far is right on the money, but just remember your mother will need to rest, a LOT!

Somewhere in the forum section, there is A Letter From Your Brain which a few of us have posted. Please print that out, let your mom read it and your family members as it will give everyone much information on things yet to come.

I will keep your mother and your family in my thoughts and prayers for a successful outcome.

Best wishes,


Thank you Colleen. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply to the forum and sharing your experience. I'll keep you posted.

Thank you Linda. I did read "A Letter From Your Brain", it is really helpful. My mom is so energery and strong and she doesn't like to be sitting around but this letter is great. I am going to read it to her to remain her to take it easy after the surgery.

Thanks for sharing.

Hi Becky,

She is getting a clipping done. I am hoping that she doesn't have to stay that long at the hospital. Thank you for sharing and helping understand a bit better the process of the surgery.

Thank you for the good wishes.