Surgery Prep Day 1

Well, I now have five days to prepare for my surgery when I thought I would have 40-something. After getting over the shock of learning that my surgery is on Monday, I began to get in gear to reschedule my entire life. Again, my boss was wonderful. My son’s daycare was wonderful – he is usually home with me on Fridays, but they said they’d keep him on Fridays for the next six weeks for free! I dropped off my sick leave paper work with Dr. Gimbel. I emailed some colleagues to reschedule meetings and such until after our spring break – March 25, when I will return to work. And then, once I sort of relaxed, I started to really think about it – why did they reschedule this surgery? It seemed sort of strange. I emailed the plastic surgeon:

Hi Dr. Gimbel-

I’m sorry to bother you again via email, but now that the surgery is scheduled for Monday, I have some questions I’m hoping you can answer.

1) Will my mother be permitted to sleep in the room with me the first night? She would like to do that if possible. Will they have a cot or something available?

2) Does the hospital provide any sort of belt or pockets for the drains? I’ve seen these online and I’m unsure if I should order them or if they are provided.

3) Was my surgery date changed because my case is more serious than Dr. Ahrendt thought? I only spoke with Diane and I didn’t really think to ask her why the date was changed.

Thanks,

Within a few hours, he responded:

Hi, I’ll answer your questions in red.

1) Will my mother be permitted to sleep in the room with me the first night? She would like to do that if possible. Will they have a cot or something available?
Different facilities have different policies. You will be staying on Unit 5800. I recommend you call the Magee operator (641-1000), ask to speak to the 5800 charge nurse, and ask the nurse your specific questions and requests.

2) Does the hospital provide any sort of belt or pockets for the drains? I’ve seen these online and I’m unsure if I should order them or if they are provided.
Your drains will be clipped to your abdominal binder so they don’t hang. No bra, so no pockets.

3) Was my surgery date changed because my case is more serious than Dr. Ahrendt thought? I only spoke with Diane and I didn’t really think to ask her why the date was changed.
Your date was changed because the original date in early March was felt to be too far away (we try hard to get everyone treated by about 4 wks after seeing the plastic surgeon). So we made some room for you on Jan 28. Dr Ahrendt is performing a surgery in a different room at 7:30a, so I’ll start your surgery and she will come in to do her part after she is done with her first case (9:30a or so). This arrangement may add 30-60 minutes to your operation, but was felt to be a safer alternative to making you wait until March. We occasionally do it this way when OR availability is tight, and have not had any problems. Are you OK with this arrangement?

MLG

Well, this was a relief, of sorts. So, they did feel it was somewhat urgent, but it wasn’t like they suddenly realized things were worse than they thought.

I did call the charge nurse, and she said I will have a private room with a small couch that pulls out into a bed. My mother is thrilled. She really wants to spend the first night with me so I’m not alone, and I am glad she will be there!

Regardless of what he said about the drain belt, I ordered this one anyway. Everything I read says I’ll need it in the shower, and I might not have the abdominal binder (whatever that is) at that point. I also ordered a supportive pillow with arm rests and a medical tray table. I think this will be useful as I move between the bedroom and the living room with my laptop, books, phone, beverage, etc. And I can hopefully sell it on craigslist when I’m finished with it (or keep it for breakfasts in bed on Mother’s Day as my son gets older!).

This evening, I read most of the resource binder I was given by the breast surgeon. Tomorrow, I continue surgery prep. This means writing a DNR and Power of Attorney, filling out some pre-op forms online, and visiting my PCP for a pre-surgery physical and blood work. I will also continue my quest for button-down pajamas (after failing at Target this morning).

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