Hanging Out In Pre-op

A look back. 3 years ago to be exact. Surgery day! Hanging out in Pre-Op!

You dutifully get up in the wee hours (after a long restless night) so you could get to the hospital by the appointed hour. For your trouble, now you’re in hurry-up-and-wait mode in a either in a chair, on a hospital bed or gurney. More typically, you’ll be put in a large “holding area” along with other pending surgery cases, with a privacy curtain around each bed.

I walked back with a nurse to the pre-op area, where my weight was taken, in both pounds and kilograms. I was 68.03 kilograms.  Google pounds to kg…no, kg to pounds…and I’ll let you find out if that’s good or bad.

Then they bring you back to this little curtained bay area and have you sit.

This was my view:

To the left I see the doors that lead to surgery.

Picture this directly in front of me, a computer monitor on wheels. And it looks high tech. In fact, it looks like something out of that Saturday morning cartoon I use to watch as a kid, the Jetson’s. Jane Jetson once went to see Dr. McGravity because her appliances weren’t working and she was tired from having to push too many buttons – and outside his office was a robot nurse who looked exactly like this! 

I kept staring at it, even told my friend Melissa what was with me that I was waiting for it to turn around, take my blood pressure, ask me probing questions and then leave to go to the next patient. What is that dark space under it? A roomba? Does it vacuum too? No wonder the floors are so shiny. And, so fiscally prudent. Try to get a union nurse to start an IV and then ask her to vacuum and see what happens.

How cool! I’m in good hands, this hospital has the very latest in technology.

But, Nurse McGravity never turned around. Soon a nurse came in to ask me a bunch of questions, and they were going to manually input them into that computer. I’m so disappointed. I perked up when I heard that the doctors had sent orders from their offices so it would be right there before surgery.

We’re still a long way from the Jetson’s. Although, even Jane had to go to the doctor because her tech wasn’t cooperating so maybe not. 

Let’s discuss the smell. Sterile. To me, it was like the unscented hand sanitizer. Orange blossoms would have been nice and relaxing. This scent was NOT relaxing.

Various scrubs-clad staff will come by to check who I was and what I was in there for. I was also asked whether I had anything to eat or drink since midnight the night before. If you ate anything at all, or drank fluids other than a small amount of water permitted to take a medication, you’ll have to tick off six to eight hours while your stomach empties—if you’re lucky. If not, you’ll have to go back home, reschedule the surgery, and redo the early-morning routine all over again.

I went in to a pre-op holding pattern for a while. This is where you’ll also get stuck to have an IV line inserted (my veins decided not to cooperate) so that sedatives, anesthesia drugs, and other medications can be delivered directly into the bloodstream. Blood also may be drawn from this same needle stick to check its clotting ability, especially if you’ve been taken off blood-thinning meds prior to surgery or had abnormal potassium, say, in your preadmissions blood work.

When the anesthesiologist arrived, he reviewed my medical history, allergies, and every drug or supplement I take (I brought everything in a brown bag). Tell all, and let him decide what is relevant.

Same old, same old.

Then I got a visit from surgeon surgeon, who used a marking pen to indicate the correct surgery site. I became a marker board with lines and dots on my chest of the area that was about to be removed. Then, he was gone.

A nurse comes back and starts a dose of an antibiotic. It will be continued for 24 to 48 hours afterward to stave off surgical site infection, which affects an estimated 1 in 7 patients and more than doubles the risk of dying (enough about that).

Then my plastic surgeon. He checks out the drawings on my chest. Says a prayer with us…and gone!

And, we then we wait again (giving Melissa and I plenty of time to catch up on our gossip), before they roll me into surgery.

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