Preparing for Your Surgery
People who have surgery feel better and return to normal faster if they recover at home rather than in the hospital. Early planning is the key for a successful surgery and to meet your needs at home.
We urge you to start planning today for your surgery. NOTE: Your doctor may adjust these instructions to meet your needs.
The Days/Weeks Before Surgery
•Call your insurance company right away to tell them that you are having surgery.
•You may want to take a tour of the medical facility.
•Plan for a ride home. Have a responsible adult drive you home. This does not include transportation via taxi or public bus. Because of the stress of surgery and the medicines used, you are not a safe driver. You will not be allowed to drive home because you could hurt someone else, yourself, and your car.
•Find someone to stay with you or check on you for at least 24 hours after going home.
•You may need more help than your family and friends can provide. You can call Central Washington Hospital’s Care Management Department at 662-1511 ext. 2344.
•Call your doctor if you get sick before the surgery.
•Discontinue herbal supplements as soon as you know you are having surgery; ideally, two weeks prior to your surgery.
The Evening Before Surgery
•A nurse will call you between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. the day before surgery to tell you when to arrive.
•IMPORTANT eating instructions ◦Do NOT eat food or drink milk after midnight
◦Water is okay until 4 hours before admission.
◦No gum, mints, or hard candy
•Follow bowel preparation instructions, if ordered by your physician.
•Take a shower or bath on the day of your surgery.
•DO NOT shave the surgery site. The hospital has special clippers to remove hair if needed.
•Alert your surgeon of any rashes, cuts or scrapes on or near your surgery site.
•For your safety, your stomach must be empty for surgery. If you eat or drink before your surgery, it will have to be postponed.
Day of Surgery
Before You Leave Home
•Don’t use any perfumes, colognes or scented lotions. Other people may be allergic to them.
•Remember not to eat or drink as instructed. You can take any medicines you usually take, with a small sip of water.
•If you are a diabetic, do not take insulin or other blood sugar medications on the day of surgery. Your blood sugar level will be checked and monitored when you arrive.
•Wear loose, comfortable clothes, and little or no makeup.
•Leave all jewelry and valuables at home.
•Do not apply dental adhesives.
What to Bring With You
•Copy of Advance Directive, Living Will or Durable Power of Attorney, if you have one.
•Write down the name and phone number of someone we may call while you are in the hospital to help with any unexpected needs.
•A list of all your medicines, including doses and time when medication was taken last.
•CPAP or BiPAP machine.
•Toys or videos for child.
•Case and solution for glasses or contact lenses.
•If staying overnight, you may bring robe and personal items. Bring slippers with non-skid soles or comfortable walking shoes.
•Health insurance/prescription cards/co-pay.
Day of Surgery
Once You Arrive for Surgery
•Arrive at scheduled time.
•Children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Parent or legal guardian of children under age 18 must remain at the hospital until the child is discharged to home.
•Visit with the surgeon. Meet the anesthesiologist.
•Your surgeon will mark the operative site.
•A nurse reviews your health history and makes sure you are ready for surgery.
•A nurse will discuss using pain-rating scale with you.
•An IV (intravenous catheter) is started, for medicines and fluids.
•Pain medicine, antibiotics, or other medicine may be given through your IV.
•Let your nurse or anesthesiologist know about pain medicines you take at home.
•Anesthesiologist may order medicine to help you relax and help keep you from being sick to your stomach.
•Surgical area may be cleaned and hair clipped by staff.
•One or two family members may sit with you while you are waiting for surgery. You will have a blanket or warming device put on you to keep you warm.
Day of Surgery
After the Operation
•Your doctor will talk to family/friends (if present) in the waiting room. Please remain available.
•You may be able to eat and drink after surgery, depending on the type of surgery done.
•Vital signs and surgical site are checked.
•Cough and breathe deeply.
•Simple foot-leg exercises help your blood flow.
•Compression stockings or foot pump may be used.
•You may have a urinary catheter to help you urinate.
•Your nurse will work with you to control your pain or discomfort.
Hospital Care for Overnight Patients
If you are staying in the hospital, it is because you have special needs that cannot be met at home. Your hospital staff will work hard to get you home. Nursing staff, Physical and Occupational Therapy, and Social Services are available to discuss any discharge and home care needs that you might have.
◦The most important thing you can do to help your recovery is to get up and get active. The sooner you get up, the better you will feel. Your nurses will help you get moving.
◦You may notice that moving around can be uncomfortable. It is normal to have some discomfort. You and your nurse will work out a pain control plan.
◦Coughing and deep breathing, and moving your legs are activities you can do while in bed.
◦Your IV may be stopped,
◦Your urinary catheter may be removed. The nurses will check to see if you can urinate without the catheter. You may go home with the urinary catheter in place.
◦Pain pills or shots are given as needed.
◦Ask your doctor or nurse about when to resume taking your usual medicines/hormones/supplements.
•Other◦Vital signs will be checked throughout your stay.
◦Your nurse will teach you about wound care, including bathing.
◦Diet as recommended by your doctor.
When You Are Ready to Leave the Hospital
Modern medicine makes it possible for people to return home faster than ever before. You are ready to be discharged from the hospital when:
•Your discharge and home care plan is in place.
•You are able to walk about.
•You are able to drink some fluids to the level approved by your doctor.
•Pain medicine keeps your pain under control.
•You’ve received instructions on how to care for yourself at home.
Be sure you know who to call for questions after going home.
Recovering from Surgery at Home
•Diet◦Some patients can eat a normal diet, but for others it may take up to three weeks to return to normal. Listen to your body and eat what seems reasonable. (You will be told if there are any foods you cannot eat before you leave.)
◦Begin with fluids. Increase your diet gradually to light foods.
◦Drink 6 glasses of fluids a day.
•Pain Medicines◦Take over-the-counter pain pills such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) at regular times throughout the day (unless they conflict with other prescriptions). These pain pills will help to keep your pain under control and prevent intolerable “breakthrough” pain.
◦Add prescription pain pills when ibuprofen or acetaminophen is not enough to control pain.
◦Prescription pain pills often cause constipation, nausea, and vomiting. If this occurs, take over-the-counter pain pills and limit prescription pain pill use. You may use an over the counter laxative or a stool softener, unless told otherwise. Eat high fiber foods, like bran and fruits.
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your Doctor if you have:
•Nausea, vomiting or pain that won’t go away
•Chills, fever over 101° F
•Wound is red, swollen, draining, open, or more painful
•Your medicine makes you itch, or break out in a rash or hives
•Too much bleeding from your incision
•Shortness of breath
•Inability to urinate
•Worries or concerns