Hello SOTGC community,
Hopefully you have enjoyed another happy and healthy year. For those of you who are planning on having surgery next year, here are 10 tips from Nurse Elizabeth to help you prepare:
- No food or liquids 8 hours before surgery. Clear liquids can be okay to consume 4 hours before anesthesia and include fluids such as water and coffee without cream. Be sure to ask. Also, be careful…it’s best to stop eating and drinking early as your surgery time could move up which may equate to a cancellation if you’re not ready.
- Try not wear jewelry of any kind. Chances are it will be removed and may even pose a danger to your health. Rings can turn into tourniquets if your fingers start to swell.
- You will be asked about your health history before surgery by multiple people. You probably will have to answer the same questions many times for many different people. It is helpful to write down a list of medications you are currently on or have recently stopped taking as well as past surgeries and medical conditions. This will shorten the interview process.
- Try to wear something that is easy to get in and out of as you will have to change into a gown before entering the surgical suite.
- Some hospitals require patients to take a shower with a special soap called chlorohexidine gluconate (HCG). Even you are not asked to this, it’s a good idea to take a cleansing shower right before entering the hospital to reduce the amount of bacteria on your skin. This minimizes your risk of acquiring a surgical site infection.
- Wash your hands whenever you get the chance. Even the cleanest hospitals harbor nasty infectious diseases.
- Contacts, hearing aids, glasses, and dentures often are removed from patient’s prior to surgery. Try to bring a case for these items so they don’t get lost.
- Bring contact information for family members or friends that you would like the surgeon to contact after surgery. Contacting one family or friend is a courtesy commonly offered by most surgeons.
- Ladies with long hair: Bring a rubber band or something soft and not made out of plastic or metal to help keep your hair under the surgical hat.
- After surgery when taking pain medication: remember to eat something before taking pain medications. Most people get nauseated if they take narcotics on an empty stomach. Crackers work great but go slow.
Surgery is not as scary of an experience as it may seem for some people who have not gone through it before. Being prepared, having some knowledge of what to expect can make it much easier and less intimidating. I hope you all have a wonderful week and Happy New Year!