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Pre-op appointments

I have a pre-op appointment at the hospital on Tuesday. I will be meeting with a nurse, anathesia dept. and dietician. Getting
nervous. Not sure what they will be asking, but I am trying to format the questions I want to ask them. Any suggestions of what I should ask?


  • I always take every pill bottle with me... sometimes the nurses laugh but that way I never screw up the dosages. Last time I even took the Tylenol PM and melatonin I take at night on occasion and they entered that in the system... and I was some what surprised, but the nurses allowed me to have these at night in the hospital, my surgeon ordered them as part of my medication.

    Anesthesia is going to mostly want to know if you have ever been under general before and if so were their any complications... if there was, that's ok... they will pull the notes from whatever hospital and take a close look. There are a variety of meds they can use to keep you under, so if you have ever had trouble before they will check on that. They will also want to know if you have any loose teeth (they can be dislodged while you are being tubed) and will look in your throat to be sure your airway is nice and clear. They will give you a check list about past history and stuff like do you get out of breath walking down a hall, one flight of stairs, etc. to see about general health... remember breathing slows during general anesthesia so this is all precautionary. You'll have blood work and have to sign a waiver, and I know where I live most hospitals require an EKG. If you have had one in the last 6 months that was normal sometimes they will pull that record and skip that part. If the EKG isn't perfect, they'll want you cleared by a cardio doc before surgery. I believe that's most of what to expect... things to ask... how will the control your pain when you awake (pain pump, iv meds, etc.) this is especially a concern for people who are currently on daily narcotics for pain management. You can ask about expected hospital stay, PT in the hospital, policies on if a family member can stay with you, etc. Recommended items to bring with you vs what to leave at home, etc.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • Let the anesthetist know if you snore or have sleep apnea.

    Would taking a tour of the surgery room and the post-op room make you more nervous or less? If less, see if they will show you around.

    Ask about eating something in the post-op period. Reason I say this is because of how it went for me:

    For my first surgery, I was on a fast from midnight of the previous night. By the time I got to post-op, it was early evening. I was soooo hungry, and we didn't think to bring something with us. It stressed me out.

    For my second surgery, I had gotten the ok to bring a light snack. Knowing that at least a light snack was waiting for me gave me a mental "finish line" like a marathon or something. So, when they were allowed to come in and see me in post-op, my relative brought me the snack and I was glad; I finished the marathon (the surgery) and I crossed the mental and emotional finish line.

    Sounds weird but it worked!

    Google "questions to ask your anesthesiologist" or words to that effect.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Most of my surgeries have been relatively long surgeries so even though I might have been hungry going into the OR hunger was the last thing on my mind coming out. HOWEVER... I was always very thirsty and always (like after every surgery for some strange reason) wanted diet sprite... I felt like it settled my stomach. I have ran into nurses who wouldn't give it to me because they were concerned about gas/bloating or me throwing up (not good after spine surgery). I know there were truly looking out for me, but that diet sprite helped me (maybe it was a mental thing, who knows). I know after my first C-Section (which was done completely under general anesthesia) my father actually "snuck in" a diet sprite for me....lol. BUT now I do tell my surgeon/preop nurse my request to be allowed diet sprite after wards, that its never caused problems in the past, and since I've started doing that, they have all written it in the "notes" so nurses knew it was "approved" if I wanted it. So please take Paul's advice on that one.

    I will tell you that your anest. will order some "happy juice" for your IV before you are taken back. I have found that some have preferences on which drug they choose... and lots of times they choose it based on expected length of surgery. The nurse usually comes in after your final consult with the Anest. right before your surgery and tells you what she is putting in your IV. Again, usually they "tell you", not "ask you", but you do always have the right to refuse that drug... DON'T. My sister (a surgeon) says that however you go "down" is how you come "up" so if you go to sleep terrified upset, that is how you are most likely to wake up... if you go down peacefully (even medically induced...lol) you will come out that way. I can vouch for that. The roughest experiences I ever had with Anest was my 2 C-Sections... because they were done completely under general anest. (which is now days rare) I was not given ANY medication, I was rolled in, catheterized, strapped down, "draped" the surgeon drew a line with a marker to guide her scalpel (using an ultrasound to find exact location of the baby). I was aware of all of this, totally aware and totally terrified. Listened to the nurses as they were counting sponges and stuff. I was so lucky that my first one I had such a kind Anest. who just kept stroking my forehead (which normally I'd hate) and assuring me he was going to take such good care of me and my baby, and he was even kind enough to explain that in the case of delivering a baby, oxygen is crucial so they had to "jack up" my oxygen and get me100% saturated for several minutes (because as soon as the meds go in to put you to sleep they have to tube you which inables you to breath (briefly) until you are back hooked up so they have to be sure your body has enough oxygen to support that brief period and the baby as well, and remember if you are tubed your family can't be there so my husband was out in the surgical hallway sitting in a folding chair...). Anyways, it was terrifying to have that masked strapped so tightly around my nose/mouth and being told to breath in deep breaths because it truly felt like I was being suffocated... but again, most wonderful Anest. ever... he kept explaining over and over what was happening and pointing to the monitors and moving them around so I could see them to assure me everything was ok... My surgeon literally placed the scalpel on my skin (I could feel it... scary) and looked at me and smiled and said, "Ok, you are about to be a mom!!!" She looked at the anest. and that was the last thing i remember... did you even make it though that long story? I'm sorry... just got to typing...my point was is those were the only times I came out of anest. "poorly", truthfully I was combative because I was so terrified going under that's how I came out. I had to be medicated (not just for pain) but for those reasons too.... not a good experience. I mean... a BEAUTIFUL experience because my son arrived healthy, but not easy on me.... so do take the IV meds. I've had 10 surgeries... my 2 C-Sections are the ONLY ones I remember much of in the OR. Usually the IV drug relaxes you to the point you are very docile and won't remember the terrifying operating room. HOWEVER I will say that when my sister was in residency she was explaining that how some patients swear they remember surgeries just prior to going under... but when asked questions about it, they are almost normally wrong (for example, what did the main surgical nurse look like, they will say... white female or something, when it was actually an older black gentleman). Basically what happens is our brain will "fill in gaps" with info we know from TV shows, etc... bizarre huh? Now of course there is truly the rare occasion where people do remember (correctly) all that stuff). Just remember, you are working with highly trained people and you will be highly monitored... and not only will the Anest. be in there, the actual surgeon understands all of this stuff as well so its like you have two specialist! Please PM me if you have any questions... I have just wrote a huge long post that most don't want to read so I'll stop here. I'll be happy to discuss with you any concerns you have.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • I'll second bringing everything you take with you. I took pictures on my phone so I didn't need to carry them. My wife also came with me to cover the other aspects of care. I think that is important; you'll be drugged up so someone with a clear head will help a lot.

    The folks in there do it every day and have procedures to follow. The should also be understanding of your questions.
    L5-S1 herniation (10mm), April 2013

    Lumbar Laminectomy May 1st 2013

    Lumbar Laminectomy April 18th 2016

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