I would like to sleep well after surgery!
May 13, 2016 4:54 PM   Subscribe

I'm having brain-adjacent surgery next month, and I'm trying to figure out the sleeping situation for when I return home from the hospital. My top contender at the moment is buying an adjustable base for my memory foam mattress. Also considering buying/renting a recliner or renting a hospital bed. Of course I'll discuss it with my surgeon, but I'd also like your opinions in the meantime.

I'm trying to get my house in order for the recovery period after I come home from the hospital. I am especially concerned about sleeping as I'll have a giant incision on the back of my head, and also I have a bad habit of sleeping in crappy positions (e.g. on my stomach) and may need some coercion to keep my neck in good positions.

Any thoughts on the following?

Option 1: Buy an adjustable base for my Tempurpedic. It's a low end model, about 10 years old, but it sounds like memory foam mattresses are generally fine with adjustable bases. I suspect I'll rather like the adjustable base even when I'm back to more regular life, so I don't mind spending a fair bit of money on this. I'm inclined to get one from Costco because of a) price, and b) their return policy, just in case it doesn't work as well as I imagine.

Specific question: any chance a base like this will work with my existing Malm frame? I'm guessing the drawers might have to go, but I can live with that.

Option 2: Rent or buy a recliner. I've read about people doing this on various forums, but my search skills are failing me in finding reasonable options near me (Oakland, CA). I find the idea of renting one a little icky, and buying a decent one seems pretty expensive for something I don't expect to use for long. I was thinking electric since I'll have to be very careful about movement for a while, but maybe this is not so necessary? Maybe I can resell it after? (Obviously not for full price, but a reasonable fraction.)

Can you recommend any specific recliners that are decent for sleeping?

Option 3: Rent a hospital bed. My google-fu is also failing me a bit here. (I admit it's partly that I hate the telephone, so I am frustrated some local medical supplies rental spots don't put their prices online.)

Options 4-N: Anything else I haven't thought of? Would prefer to keep costs to a few hundred dollars for a temporary (1-2months) solution; willing to spend more on something I'll keep.
posted by ktkt to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
I would suspect that you are not the first person to have this concern. Ask your doctor's office for suggestions, and for a referral to a medical supply company. There may be some sort of specialized pillow or "headgear" that one or the other can suggest. If you need a special kind of recliner a med supply company should have those for rent.

As for cost, whatever you have to rent or buy should be covered by your insurance. Be sure to ask the doctor for a prescription for your medically-necessary item, even if you are just buying a certain kind of pillow.
posted by vignettist at 5:00 PM on May 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you need neck support I can recommend a Japanese Soba pillow.

They are fantastic!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:42 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes, call your insurance company and ask about what is covered. By way of example, check out this description from Aetna for when they cover certain types of beds. Your own policy likely has a provision on durable medical equipment that is similarly detailed. Knowing your policy terms can then inform your conversation with your doctor so that they use the right language in the prescription to get you what you need.
posted by gatorae at 5:54 PM on May 13, 2016

Oh good point. I have insurance through Kaiser, if that makes any difference.
posted by ktkt at 6:08 PM on May 13, 2016

Have you asked the doctor/nurse what they recommend? A few weeks ago my bestie had brain surgery and I was absolutely amazed at how quick the recovery was, in terms of the incision. She could sleep on regular bed/pillow as soon as she came home, 24 hours after surgery. Her incision was also on the back of the head, so she slept on her sides, with a pillow against her chest to keep her from rolling onto her stomach (because that would hurt her back).
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:31 PM on May 13, 2016

Not yet; I have an appointment next week, so I have a little notebook for collecting questions to ask then.
posted by ktkt at 6:38 PM on May 13, 2016

Would a wedge pillow be helpful? I had a procedure done for a cerebrospinal fluid leak and couldn't be flat for a while (but ofc didn't have an adjustable bed on hand). Anyway, the drs recommended using a 30-degree wedge pillow for the first month or so afterwards, and that was definitely cheaper than getting a new mattress/bed. Also, I agree, asking your drs/nurses if they have any suggestions is a good idea.
posted by mothershock at 7:17 PM on May 13, 2016

I had brain surgery and was told I had to sleep on my back and use a wedge for a certain number of weeks. It's very likely your doctor will have specific instructions for you.
posted by FencingGal at 7:28 PM on May 13, 2016

i had some abdominal surgery a few years ago and rented a recliner for a month from a local rent-to-own type furniture store.
posted by sarajane at 5:20 AM on May 14, 2016

I rented a hospital bed two years ago from a local medical supply store in a major Canadian city. It cost $150/month, $100 setup fee, and maybe $30 one-time cost for sheets. It's out of your price range.
posted by crazycanuck at 11:43 AM on May 14, 2016

Quick followup, two weeks post-surgery:

You know how some posts, the asker basically already knows what she wants to do and is largely looking for validation? I didn't realize it when I asked, but yep, I'm guilty as charged.

I talked to my surgeon at my pre-op appointment, and he said I wouldn't really need much in the way of help with sleeping, and that my body would pretty much protect itself. Not even special pillows needed.

I went ahead and ordered the adjustable bed base anyway. Love it, and I've slept amazingly with it since I came home. I think I could have gone without, but this is now one of my favorite purchases ever. I'm sleeping on my back now, with head and feet slightly elevated. Next stays in a good position all night (well, 4 hours at a time, since that's how my meds have been spaced lately), no tossing and turning or waking up on a half dead arm.

I also took a down pillow to the hospital with me, which was a livesaver since it could be squished into whatever shape I wanted at the moment, and the hospital pillows were standard issue crappy hospital pillows.

Thanks for all the advice anyway!
posted by ktkt at 6:56 PM on June 17, 2016

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