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Preparing for Day Surgery
The Day Surgery unit on Northwest Hospitalís main campus and the Northwest Hospital Outpatient Surgery Center serve patients who have surgical procedures and return home on the same day. This allows for minimal disruption to your personal routine and promotes rest and recovery in the comfort of your own home.
The following information will prepare you for your Day Surgery experience.
Before Your Surgery
- Inform your physician about any past surgery or major illness you have had.
- Make a list of any medications you take including the name, dosage and frequency you take it. Also include in your list any nonprescription drugs that you may be taking including vitamins and herbal supplements. This information will be helpful to your physician and will help expedite your preadmission process.
- Ask your physician to clarify any aspect of surgery you do not understand.
- Ask your physician if you should stop any aspirin or anti-inflammatory medication prior to your surgery.
- If there are special instructions, ask your doctor to write them down for you.
- Arrange your postsurgical activities to allow yourself time to recover. This time will vary with the type of surgery you have and your body's response. Ask your physician when it is reasonable for you to return to work and to your normal exercise routine and activities.
- Arrange transportation home. You must have a responsible adult drive you home or accompany you in a taxi.
- Arrange for someone to be with you the rest of the day. Have someone else assume the care of those people who are dependent upon you. The length of time you will need such assistance will vary.
- You will receive two phone calls from Northwest Hospital.
- The business office will call to ask you insurance and other finance-related information.
- The day surgery pre-admission nurse will also contact you for several purposes:
- To provide information about what to expect while you are in the Day Surgery unit.
- To ask you health-related questions regarding medications, allergies, previous illnesses and surgeries. (Having a list of these near your phone will be helpful during this phone call.)
- To confirm plans for any necessary diagnostic tests.
- To answer any questions you may have. If you have not heard from the Day Surgery nurse by two days prior to your surgery, please call (206) 368-1010.
The Day of Surgery
It is very important that you follow the instructions your physician and the day surgery nurse have given you about eating, drinking liquids, taking your medications and smoking before surgery. When you have anesthesia, eating even small amounts of liquids or solids beforehand can cause serious complications. If you do not follow these instructions, your surgery may have to be postponed.
- Wear comfortable clothes that will not be harmed by being folded. Many patients find sweat suits useful for this purpose.
- After surgery you may need to pick up a prescription. Bring your checkbook, credit card or money to purchase these on your way home. There is a convenient drive-through pharmacy on campus in the McMurray building should you choose to fill your prescription there.
- Shower the night before or the morning of surgery. Do not wear makeup and avoid powders, lotions or creams on or near the surgical area.
- Brush your teeth before surgery but avoid swallowing any water. Do not chew gum or take breath mints or hard candy after midnight the night before your surgery.
During Your Day Surgery Stay
A family member or friend can be with you in the pre-surgical area before surgery and in the Day Surgery unit after surgery. Should you wish, we welcome the opportunity to include this person when we explain how you should care for yourself at home.
You will have an opportunity to speak with your anesthesiologist before you have surgery to answer any questions you may have about anesthesia.
When You Are Ready to Go Home
Your departure time depends on the type of anesthetic and type of surgery you have and how your body reacts to both. It may be as soon as an hour or it may be longer. If you are not feeling well enough to go home, your physician may admit you to the hospital overnight.
The return to your "normal" self will be hastened by resting at home, following the activity restrictions that the nurses and your physician have given you, and taking your medication as ordered.
Your physician or nurse will give you instructions about how to care for yourself once you are home, and who to call if you have problems.
After You Are Home
Do not drive a car, operate machinery, cook, drink alcoholic beverages or make important decisions up to 24 hours after your surgery. The anesthesia and other medications stay in your system and make it unsafe for you to perform these activities. The day surgery nurse will call you within 48 hours of your return home to follow up on your recovery.