What to Expect
It's normal to be nervous about surgery. That's why it's important to know what to expect throughout your stay at Carle.
The need for pre-operative exam and various tests depends on your general physical condition, age, and type of surgery. If you are scheduled for an exam and tests, please be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
Tests may include:
- A physical screen to review your health history
- Blood and urine tests to see how your body and kidneys are working
- An EKG to see how your heart is beating
- A chest X-ray to see your lungs
Before surgery, you will meet with your surgeon to talk about the operation, including side effects, risks and desired outcomes of the surgery. This is the time ask any questions you may have. Come prepared to talk about your health, previous illnesses and surgeries, allergies, your family's health and whether you could be pregnant.
In preparation for your surgery, you will change into a hospital gown and be given a special identification bracelet to wear on your wrist.
Your medical history, pulse, temperature, blood pressure and breathing will be checked to make sure nothing has changed since your last doctor's appointment. An intravenous (IV) tube may be inserted into a vein in your arm to supply fluids and medicines to your body. You may also receive special medication to help you relax.
Next, you will be moved to the operating room where your surgery will take place. This is a safe, sterile environment where your doctors will perform your procedure. Before anything is done, the medical staff will explain what will happen.
Following your surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area. Since anesthesia wears off differently with each person, the length of stay in the recovery room varies with each patient. You can expect to be in the recovery room at least one hour.
If you are staying overnight, you will be moved to a hospital or recovery center room once you are ready. The nursing staff will continue to care for you and check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and temperature based on the level of care you need, the type of surgery you have had, and your surgeon's orders. Your activity and diet will be increase gradually based on your progress.
If you are going home the same day as surgery, toward the end of recovery, you will be allowed to sit up and drink fluids such as tea, soda or broth. Sluggish digestion, gas pains or other discomfort after surgery are normal and are not cause for alarm.
When you are able to take fluids, walk a few steps and go to the bathroom you’ll be able to leave. Someone should be with you when the nurse gives you special instructions and someone is required to drive you home and to stay with you for the next 24 hours.
On most units, checkout time is 11 a.m. If you cannot leave by this time, notify your nurse so other arrangements can be made. You will be billed for extra time in your room if the wait is not medically necessary and this charge is not covered by most insurance plans.
When you are cleared to leave, a discharge order will be written and you'll be given instructions about post-hospital care. If medication is prescribed make sure to review and discuss any questions you may have. Prescriptions can be sent to the pharmacy of your choice.
If you need home care, medical equipment or transition to a continuing care facility, your case coordinator can make these arrangements. Yours case coordinator can also assist you with any insurance questions regarding these services.
If you have questions about any of your discharge instructions; feel free to ask your doctor or nurse to ensure that you feel comfortable with your treatment and all your questions have been answered before you leave the hospital.