Here's another article I could have written and I didn't go to medical school. Its on how to prepare for surgery. My questions to prepare for surgery are:
1. Will I have a scar that anyone can see? How long until it fades from my skin and my memory? That is important. Surgery isn't fun and you want to erase it from your brain as soon as possible. Also, don't mess it up so I have to keep thinking about it.
2. Will I get good drugs? Again this is key. No pain please! No infections! No side effects! I need to feel nothing at all. I had a hysterectomy and ended up with a urinary tract infection which required me to stay a day longer in the hospital and have to take antibiotics.
3. How long can I make everyone wait on me hand and foot? Really, how long till I will recover and don't lie to me? Part of this is how long until I am back to myself and when should I call you if I still feel like crap?
4. By the way will there be any long term side effects of the surgery? They don't tell you with breast cancer surgery that you can end up with shoulder problems for life and risk of lymphedema. Well maybe they did tell me about lymphedema but I didn't understand the significance of it. And about my shoulder...
Then comes the part of about fashion and accessorizing. If in patient, bring the right clothes for lying around a hospital bed. If you are stuck in a stupid johnny bring a bathrobe and slippers. If you are more mobile, how about a pair of shorts and t-shirt? And don't forget the toys - internet access, TV, cell phone, books, crafts, puzzles, etc. Nothing that requires huge amounts of brain cells because you won't have any for the first few days but something to relieve boredom or to put you back to sleep after they wake you up to check your vitals at 3am.
If you are an out patient, will there be any icky bandages and drains to deal with or just a little bandaid or a few (itchy) steri strips? I have dealt with a surgical drain and trust me, if you can avoid this in your lifetime, please do.
When you get to the hospital for surgery on the given day and experiencing any level of stress, be sure to tell everyone how stressed you are and often the anesthesiologist will show up early with good drugs. And at the very least you get more visits from the nurses to make sure you aren't freaking out on them. You also need to be sure whoever is retrieving you later or waiting around for you is in the right place to be told how you are doing and can come back and see you. Do not let them wander off with out a cell phone to the wrong waiting room...
I have learned to have a conversation with the anesthesiologist. I tell them that the anesthesia I have had for the past three surgeries worked well with no real issues as opposed to the anesthesia I had for one surgery that left me unconscious too long. And I don't want to see a needle. I don't want to feel a tube going into or coming out of my throat. And I have all kinds of drug allergies including Benadryl. After I tell them all this, I let them touch me. I'm not picky. I just have preferences and since surgery is all about me, I make sure they know them.
Finally, the most important question is can I have ice cream afterward?
I am not sure if I forgot anything but if I did, feel free to ask.