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Silly question, I know.....

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
But, My ACDF surgery is tomorrow morning and I've never had to be in the hospital before. I'm really, really nervous and have no idea what to expect of an overnight stay. I was wondering if any of you other Spineys out there could give me some idea of what to expect, advice, anything. I think it might help me stop being such a "baby" about it.

Thank you so much :)



  • Not so silly! But don't be afraid! I had surgery in May and hadn't been in a hospital overnight for 30 yrs. I can tell you that I had excellent care - you'll have a little buzzer hanging on a cord that lays in your hospital bed. If you press it, voila!, a nurse appears and asks what you need: bedpan, pain meds, water... or you can ask to have them give you a warm washcloth to wipe your face and neck, which really is more refreshing than you think. They will help you roll over if you need to, they'll do whatever you want to help get through the night and it doesn't matter what time it is. I had to pee literally every hour because they pump you full of so much fluid with IV during surgery - and they just laughed and said that was really common....

    It will not be scary and you'll end up loving all those great nurses! I was in 3 days and it was a totally positive experience!
    Good luck!! Rosa
  • Is someone going to stay with you? In my experience, the hospital staff is usually enough, but I feel better with Hubby there. Even tho he is sleeping in the chair keeping me awake with his snoring, or taking over the remote control for some sports he wants to watch, it still helps my peace of mind for him to be there.

    Good luck. I hope you have a positive outcome.
  • If your surgeon wants you to stay in the ever fashionable open backed nightgown, be sure to have a robe to throw on for when you take walks down the hall. Wearing your own nightgown is probably a little more comfortable, but the hospital gowns are more convenient for those taking care of you.

    When you get to the hospital, one of the first things they will do is to start an IV. Be sure to drink and drink and drink tonight up until midnight, because if you are hydrated the IV will be an easier start. After this is done, probably the anesthesiologist will come in and talk to you for a minute. Be sure to ask any questions you have. If you are having bouts of anxiety (and it is totally normal to be freaked out), ask for something to calm you down.

    They'll take you to the OR and one minute you will be talking to them and the next minute you will be in recovery.

    Post op the recovery nurses will be there to give ample pain meds, monitor your BP and other stats, and they will take good care of you. You probably won't even remember being in recovery.

    Once you are back to your room, your family will be there to greet you, and you will likely sleep off and on throughout the day. They will get you up to walk, and you will be weak the first little bit, but it will get easier each time.

    If your throat is hurting, ask for popsicles or something cold. The nurses aren't always quick to offer, but they don't mind getting you the things you need. If you forgot to bring chapstick and your lips are dry, ask for some vaseline. whatever you need to be comfortable can be provided by the nurses. An extra pillow, a warm blanket, turn the AC up or down, etc. I requested a fan so that I could have it blowing on my face (lovely hormones!)

    Everyone's hospital stay is different. The biggest advice I could give you though is just to be proactive in your care. If you need something, don't worry about inconveniencing the nurses. Of course, don't call them every 5 minutes all night long! If your pain isn't being controlled, ask them for something. Some hospitals won't offer pain meds unless you ask. Just rest and let them take care of you.

    Please report in when you get home. I hope all goes well for you, and just think, after tomorrow you will start your recovery!

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Hi Lynne,

    I am sure everything will go well. When you'll arrive to the OR Dept, they start processing you and almost every minute somebody will check on you, ask questions, take your vitals. Most likely your surgeon will visit you just before they wheel you in to the OR. The anesthesiologist is also quite likely will visit you. Make sure you tell them about all allergies even if you all ready filled out a form. Then they will start an IV, and quite soon you will drift off to la la land. Next thing you know they are going to wake you up.

    If you are not comfortable, tell them. There is no law that says you'll have to suffer. Most likely you will be hooked up to the IV with pain killers, so you may not even have to say anything.

    After they take you to the overnight room, again they will frequently check on you. If you need anything in between, use the call button, don't be shy about it.

    You may have trouble falling asleep (or may not, depending what you are getting) in that case, make sure you ask for sleep medication before 9 p.m. In some hospitals they don't give you anything if you ask for it too late.

    If you have somebody staying with you, tell them in advance that you most likely be sleeping a lot and will not be too sociable.

    Good luck with your surhery!

    Before you know it you will be back on the forum telling us all about it.

    Kin ;) :) ;) :)
  • These are all excellent responses to questions so many of us have. Thank you to everyone for answering, not only do you help the OP you help all of us surgery "eve-ers" lol.

    I will be thinking of you Lynne!

    You will do great!
  • Just a point on the subject of those lovely open backed gowns that they give you in the hospital is that if you ask for two at a time you can wear one on the front, tied in back and the other on backwards tied on the front and it really is quite comfortable and keeps you well covered.
  • inafix, just one other thing I thought I would add, if you are a light sleeper, pick up a package of ear plugs. They are cheap and hospitals can be very noisy. Best of luck to you.
  • As I'd never been in the hospital overnight (for my own care; I've been there for my spouses). And I'd never had surgery.

    I think the previous posts have covered most everything.

    They gave me a robe to put over the gown, so that covered the back when taking my short walks.

    They had me up walking every couple hours, to walk off the anesthesia and to help promote healing. I did "laps" around the nurses station with my wife walking right next to me. Started with one, then built up to several by the time I was released the next day.

    One thing that surprised me was that I somehow thought I would remember being wheeled into the operating room, etc. I was knocked out long before I made it to the OR. I started out a pre-OP ward where the nurse got an IV started and got me settled in, the Anesthesiologist came in and talked to me, gave me something to relex, and next thing I knew, I was in the Recovery ward, being told everything went find. Pretty seamless and it seemed instantaneous. Fall asleep in one spot and wake up in another, with the surgery behind you. Not too shabby.

    I had no pain when I woke up. Had some later, but they gave me pain meds that helped keep it under control.

    My doc came by in Recovery and then the next morning to check on me, tell me how it went, go over what to expect in the near future, etc.

    Best wishes on your surgery. I'm sure it will go fine!

  • In my experiences hospitals are the worst places to get any rest at all! My best advise to you is to get as much rest as you can before your surgery. When you're in the hospital the nurses will be in often to check your vitals, check your roommates vitals, give you medication etc.. Then there are visitors and phone calls and Docs coming and going. Earplugs are a great idea and don't be afraid to ask that people keep it down if it gets too busy.

    If I read correctly you're having an ACDF. If so, you'll probably only be there overnight and will be walking about a couple of hours after surgery. That's a huge advantage because you don't have to wait on anyone to help you with basics if you're feeling well enough. I've always found that I FEEL much better if I take a little makeup to touch myself up and comb my hair. I know it sounds petty but it makes a big difference for me after going through all that.

    Good luck to you. Please do check in with us as soon as you're able!

  • If you don't have a private room right off the bat, and want one, ASK for it as soon as you arrive. They often have waiting lists, and it's "first ask, first served".

    Also, I would never, EVER, let a loved one stay in a hospital alone overnight if they were incapacitated (as you will be for a day or two at least after your surgery. Nurses get busy, and MAY not respond as quickly as you might need. Somebody there to help you is often a Godsend, even if only to provide you a little TLC.

    Don't be afraid to ask questions of your care providers! You must advocate for yourself and not be afraid to assert yourself. On the other hand, be PLEASANT as possible so the nurses won't DREAD coming in your room. Say "Please" and "Thank You"... nurses have an incredibly demanding, difficult job.

    Good luck to you!

  • Wow, what great responses!! Thank you so much everyone. I'm leaving for the hospital in about 50 minutes, and I don't feel as freaked out as I was yesterday. That could change as soon as I get in the car, but it's still better than the constant panic I was feeling.

    You've really made me feel better about the hospital stay. Even having some idea what to expect makes all the difference. I'm sure I'll post again tomorrow!

    Talk to ya'll on the flipside!!

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