Helpline
Speak to a registered nurse.
Call the Beating Bowel Cancer Helpline
(9-5:30 Mon - Thu, 9-4 Fri)

020 8973 0011

or email nurse@beatingbowelcancer.org

Going into hospital

Depending on whether or not you are on an Enhanced Recovery Programme, patients having planned bowel surgery may be admitted to hospital one or two days beforehand, or may come into hospital on the day of the surgery. Your specialist team will ensure you are given a pack with all the information you need, so you arrive on the correct day at the right time. The nursing staff will show you around the ward and allow you to familiarise yourself with your surroundings. They will take you through the admission process and will also be able to answer any questions you might have about visiting times, and put your mind at rest over any other worries you might have. They will also give you some information about what to take with you to make your stay more comfortable.

 

Here is a list of things that members of our patient forum have recommended that you pack in your case:

Sleep aids

  • eye mask
  • ear plugs with expanding foam

 

Toiletries

  • body wash
  • deodorant
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • moisturising cream
  • lip balm
  • tissues
  • feminine supplies / shaving kit
  • nail file and hand cream
  • flannel / face wipes / baby wipes.

 

I took my own toilet paper and bathroom spray. And mouth spray for when you have a mouth like the bottom of a bird cage!

Clothing

  • nightie / pyjamas
  • dressing gownslippers
  • underwear
  • socks.

 

If you’re taking any regular medication, don’t forget to take it with you and show it to your nurse.

 

Entertainment

  • phone
  • MP3 player
  • Kindle
  • iPad and chargers
  • double plug adaptor
  • puzzle books
  • notebook and pen
  • books
  • magazines.

 

Check that you have a locker to keep valuables safe.

 

Food and drink

  • chewing gum and/or peppermint tea bags (to relieve wind and pain)
  • snacks.

 

I also brought my own mug which I found great for making my own drinks.

Before surgery

You will be able to eat up to six hours before your operation. However you may be required to take a preparation to clear your bowel before surgery. The bowel preparation will vary from hospital to hospital, depending on local policy and the type of surgery. You may be given medication to clear out the bowel or just a couple of laxative tablets the night before. Alternatively you may be given an enema on the day of surgery.

 

It is important to drink plenty of water or clear fluid to keep yourself hydrated. You may be given special ‘pre op’ carbohydrate drinks the night before and on the morning of your operation. To prevent blood clots, you will be given support stockings (known as TEDS) which gently compress your legs. You will also be given a daily injection to thin your blood.