Sarah K – Pre-Op Appointment

When I first scheduled my operation, I immediately called my mom to tell her the decision I made and let her know the date so she could get off from work. My mom is a nurse, so I know any day she takes off she isn’t getting paid. With that in mind, I told her she didn’t need to come down the day of the surgery, but the next day to drive me home.

I thought I was being a considerate daughter.

She told me I was being too independent and that she would be down the night before my surgery.

About halfway through my pre-operation appointment, I was glad she insisted. After a series of questions about my marriage status and who I live with and whom the hospital was legally obligated to contact should I die and what do I believe happens after we die, it was nice to answer, “my mom.” to the question about who will be driving me to the hospital instead of “a taxi.”

I believe it assured the nurse practitioner I wasn’t the saddest or loneliest person alive.

For the most part, the rest of the appointment went without surprises: I’m healthy. I am too young to have hip replacement surgery (but what are you going to do?). There are no risk factors I need to be concerned about, so as long as I show up, everything will be fine. Don’t eat anything after 10 p.m. the night before and don’t have anything other than water 2 hours prior to surgery (this includes coffee so here’s hoping my surgery is the first one of the schedule).

Then, I met the anesthesiologist.

After he went over my medical history and reminded me about not eating or drinking, he started to go through what would happen the day of my surgery. I would be given a mild sedative to calm my nerves and then a local anesthesia would be injected into my lower spine so I can’t feel anything from my waist down.

And then you will put me to sleep?

No. Though most people do sleep, we can’t promise you will be asleep.

Wait. What? So I am going to hear everything and smell everything?

Yes. But you will sedated so your brain won’t be working the way it is working now.

Do you have a sedative for me to take from now until the surgery to stop my brain from working?

No. He answered straight-faced. But you can ask your primary doctor for one.

I hope my actual anesthesiologist has more of a sense of humor.

11 thoughts on “Sarah K – Pre-Op Appointment

  1. Everyone freaks out when I tell them I’ll be awake for it. I did have an RN who is in on these all the time correct me that I will be pretty out of it (“happy” is how they put it). It’s going to be awesome, Sarah. Awesome. Hakuna matata and all that 😉

    And you have a super mom! Mine is retired and only ten minutes away and I have 4 young kids and she *might* come over to take one of them on an outing while I’m recovering. Probably not the 5-year old because she’s “difficult” and that would be the biggest help. Yeah…I’m super jealous of you 🙂 I do have a husband but, like your mom, he only gets paid when he’s working.

    I’m wishing you all the best!!!

  2. Sarah

    I was in the same boat as you. I didn’t want to put anybody out. After all, my surgery was 90 minutes from home. I told my wife I’d drive myself to the surgery. She could call and check in. That didn’t go over real well. First, she’s my wife, second, she’s a doctor as well. I did finally kick her out of my hospital room around 3:00pm.

    Don’t worry about the anesthesiologist. Mine put me out the same way. His procedure will be best for your recovery. It will minimize any nausea and I promise, you won’t remember a thing. I did have Led Zeppelin playing in my mind post-op. I asked the surgeon if that was playing during surgery and he laughed. Turns out, XM 80’s was playing a Zeppelin tribute.:)

    Pre-op was funny for me. I think I was 20 years younger than the next youngest person in the room. All in all, it was an exciting time for me. I new I was close to the end of my pain. Post-op recovery has exceeded my expectations and mine were very high.

    What’s the exact date of your surgery?

  3. I do have a super mom, MRS., and since she is a reader of this site, she will be over the moon that others are recognizing that. Good luck on your surgery.

    Rusty, my surgery is scheduled for April 2. I heard the local is better than going under for all those reasons, but I am still a little freaked out about being awake when they cut into me and saw my bone. Hopefully my OR will have good tunes playing and the happy medicine will shut my brain down just enough. I am also trying to focus on things I can control, like my recovery. And the vegan cheesesteak I am going to have a friend bring to me post-op.

  4. Sarah you have a **GREAT** mom. So nice for you to be able to have her with you when you were asked all of the questions…I’m sure it was a special moment for you both. Regarding being awake….All I know is they wheeled me in to the O/R, and the next thing I knew I was in recovery. I asked if I’d had the procedure yet. So no worries. Be happy. 🙂

  5. Sarah

    You will not really be awake and you will not remember a thing. I was wheeled in to operating room and the Anesthesiologist started telling me what he intended to do. That was about a minute. Next thing I knew, I was being wheeled into recovery two hours later.

  6. Hi Sarah! So you’re vegan? My wife made me some mashed potatoes (with mashed cannelloni beans added for protein) made with almond milk and vegan Earth Balance butter. She also made a vegetable broth since I wasn’t sure what my stomach would handle and I knew I didn’t want the hospital food. So that was my Thanksgiving dinner post op, but I think I mostly ate Jello and crackers 🙂 Cheesecake sounds good too – is that a tempeh version? Anyway, good luck with your surgery! I had the same anesthesia set up and don’t remember a single thing after the NA told me to bend over so that he could place the spinal. Next thing I know, my ortho is handing me a bag with the broken screws in it saying “we saved them for you” – gee, thanks doc!

  7. Anissa — I’m mostly vegan. About 95 percent of the time. Occasionally when I am out to eat I can’t turn down cheese. But my home and kitchen are vegan and I can’t wait to try mashing white beans with my potatoes or turnips. Sounds yummy. As for the vegan cheesesteak – I’m not sure what it is made with; one of the papers or blogs in the city recently hosted a best vegan cheesesteak competition and since I have been jonesing for one. I figured no better time to treat myself than post-op, right? Though, if my stomach isn’t feeling well, I may have to wait until day 2 to enjoy it.

  8. Sarah of course let your mom help you, she’ll know better than anyone what you need – especially a nurse! My parents are a different story. I love them but they are both divas. I actually told my mom the wrong date for my surgery. (I phoned her afterwards to day “guess what mom they got me in early! All is well.) My dad has extreme anxiety about hospitals. I could have taken a cab but I was concerned they wouldn’t release me promptly if I showed up in a cab. My best friend loaned me her mom. Lorraine took me to the hospital and waited with me to go into preop. While we were waiting my dad showed up in the preop waiting room. I knew it was a big deal for him, getting over his anxiety, the logistics of driving and parking at an urban hospital. At that point I really had to focus on me. It’s great that your mom will be there for you, she can handle unexpected minutiae and you can focus on yourself. Once I got into the preop area a nurse gave me at least a half dozen pills, one was a sedative, one Celebrex. The sedative was helpful. My hospital refers to that anesthesia as “twighlight sleep”. I knew that some people recall details of the surgery (but I think it feels more like a distant memory, something you realize afterwards). I hoped I wouldn’t be one of those people. Instead I focused on the benefits – safer than general anesthesia! Fewer side effects! Quicker recovery! I remember nothing. One minute I was chatting with the OR nurse, they gave me my spinal and it was lights out. The next thing I knew I was forcing myself to wake up in recovery. Part of me wanted to sleep and part of me wanted to wake up and check out my new hip. For me it was helpful to run through what I expected it might be like in my head – like a pre-race visualization. I felt that my job was getting to the start in a mentally good place and know how to stay calm and serene if something unexpected happened. You’ll be fine, they are professionals, they do this all day long, every day. Hakuna matata! PS – I’m a vegetarian but I cook a lot of the Post Punk Kitchen recipes, they’re always great! You might not have such a huge appetite in the weeks after surgery due to reduced activity and the meds. I know this comment irks me personally when I hear it from omnis — but diplomatically speaking — make sure post surgery you are getting your iron and calcium needs filled. Bone building and healing. 🙂

  9. Hey Sarah-reading your preop appt was like reliving mine! I’m so jealous of you and everyone else that got to be awake (or almost) during the procedure. My doc preferred a paralytic type of anesthesia. That required a general and intubation. I preferred one of those mirrors they use during cooking demonstrations so you can see what’s going on. The doc won!!! Bottom line I was as uncomfortable about the anesthesia as you are just for different reasons. I had quite the temper-tantrum over it with my caregivers (husband and mom) in the last couple of weeks prior to surgery. In the end all went well and I was in good hands. More importantly the guy messing with my hip was comfortable and able to work in an environment that worked best for him. Best Wishes! You’ll be on your journey to recovery before you know it!

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