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  • Writer's pictureJody Glynn Patrick

Surgical Prep: What's Involved

I’m having laparoscopic surgery, in part because Baptist Hospital has 172 Covid patients and counting. They don’t want non-Covid patients exposed or taking up a bed at present. So all except life-threatening emergency surgeries are being done “outpatient” or not at all. Mine is considered an emergency surgery, so the doctor was able to schedule it, but only as outpatient surgery. Only one person is allowed to accompany me during Covid protocols.

The doctor will make two incisions in my groin area, and robotically detach the uterus/ovaries, etc. and then surgically separate it from any organs it may have bonded to over time. After all is detached, you don't want to know how they will pull it out.... The surgeon also will remove a lymph node from both sides. The lab will test samples while I am in surgery of all materials removed.

I get there at 12:45, the surgery is at 2:15, and I’ll be released, God willing, around 8 p.m. It’s an estimated 2-hour surgery, but there is prep and recovery time under medical supervision. If there is an unexpected problem (“I’m a surgeon and I will immediately deal with it, so don’t worry,”) a hospitalization may be necessary.

M.D. Anderson sent me home with antibacterial wipes, a lung capacity testing thing (that plastic tube and ball you blow into), an Ensure pre-surgery energy drink, and lots of instructions. Then both M.D. Anderson and Baptist Hospital followed up with phoned instructions and hospital preregistration. I was then told NOT to drink the carb energy drink because I’m prediabetic. (Remember the presurgical blood tests?). I’ve signed preauthorization and liability waivers for extensive surgery and blood transfusions if they should become necessary.

Kevin and I both are expected to self-quarantine until the surgery – but... I’m to come in a dress, wearing nothing around my waist post-surgery. I didn’t own a loose fitting “caftan” or “muu muu” (remember those?), so I made a quick trip to Walmart for four ugly dresses, figuring I’d need a few after surgery, too, and then off to CVS pharmacy for other required supplies.

I’m to do a breathing exercise with that tube every hour I’m awake. I will be put on a breathing machine for the surgery, and they’ll test my lung capacity pre-surgery. I’m to walk at least 15 minutes a day. I must shower the night before, sleep in freshly laundered sheets and pajamas, then shower and wash my hair in the morning with special anti-bacterial soap I was told to buy. Two hours later, I’m to use the antibacterial wipes and air dry so that even a towel won’t compromise my skin. No food after midnight before surgery, and only clear liquids before 10:45 a.m. After surgery, I will need Biotine gum to help create gastric juice. No shaving, makeup, lotions, etc. pre-surgery. Drink 64 ounces of water daily pre and post. Buy a laxative due to pain control drug effects.

I answered lots of pre-anesthesia questions. Yes, I get extremely carsick and have thrown up following general anesthesia, so they’ll address that with other medications in my IV (yay!). I’ll meet with a surgical nurse, then the anesthesiologist, and then my doctor pre-surgery. The pathology reports will be generated while I’m still in surgery. She’ll tell Kevin the results when she briefs him after surgery, and me after I wake up.

I think those are main things. I’m to REALLY limit my activity post surgery, as only a couple stiches will be holding my internal organs in place until the cervix heals. They actually CAN slip out if those stitches are broken or compromised, so you better believe, I’ll be careful before seeing her on August 5th for the followup exam. She said recovery takes 8 weeks, period. But my grandkids will be here in a month, and yes, I can take them to Universal, but no rides for me, and rest often while walking around. Like “SIT” and rest. No lifting, heavy housework (yay!) or exercise.

And now you know what I know.

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