The time that you will need to stay after your operation varies depending on the type of your surgery, anesthesia and medical condition but often is between one and two hours. Our goal is to prepare you for the care you need then allow you to settle in and begin your recuperation in the comfort of your own home. You may be surprised how quickly you feel ready to leave.
Before you are discharged you will:
- Be encouraged to drink fluid as tolerated.
- Be able to urinate adequately if you had inguinal hernia surgery.
- Receive and understand discharge instructions and information.
- Have all questions answered and home plan understood.
- May receive prescriptions for any new medications from your surgeon. Your nurse will provide education on these new medicines and how to resume your current medications at home.
FOR PATIENTS ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL AFTER SURGERY: After your surgery is finished and you have completed the first phase of your recovery from anesthesia, you will be taken to your room on the nursing unit. There the nursing staff will provide for your healthcare needs. You may want to ask a family member or friend to be available to help you during this time also. Together you will learn and prepare to be able to take care of your needs and assure your healing process at home after discharge.
How will my pain be managed?
You will most likely experience some pain or discomfort after your surgery. It will decrease throughout the healing process. Pain medication will be provided to minimize your discomfort and promote your recovery.
Your pain is real and only you know how it feels. The nurses will ask you often about your pain and to rate it on a scale of 0-10 with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain. Your nurse will give you medication and provide other comfort measures such as positioning or ice packs, based on that rating. Our goal is to make you as comfortable as we can.
To control your pain after discharge, use your pain medication and other comfort measures as prescribed. If activity increases your pain—take the medication before that activity. Notify your surgeon if your pain is not relieved.
- Consider some alternatives or supports to pain medication. These can include:
- Deep breathing.
- Distraction from the pain. Talking, television, music, video games and reading are all distractions.
- Comforting touch.
- Ice pack to the incision can prevent swelling and decrease pain.
- Vibration, for example, by gentle tapping, can block pain.
- Imagery – Imaging a place that reminds you of pleasant memories.
What about my recovery at home?
Your nurse will review your specific discharge instructions and give them to you in writing.
***PLEASE FOLLOW ALL YOUR DOCTOR’S SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY***
- As your physician has explained to you, all surgeries have a risk that things may not go exactly as planned. If anything unexpected should occur, please be assured that your physician will be with you every step of the way to manage any additional care you should require.
- Plan to spend the remainder of the surgery day or first day at home resting with an adult to help you for the first 24 Hrs. It may be several days before you begin to get back to some of your normal activities.
- Do not drive for 24 hours after surgery and while taking strong pain medications prescribed.
- Begin meals with clear liquids like broth, Gatorade and soda then progress to solid foods as tolerated (unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon). You may experience some nausea initially.
- Tips to prevent nausea/vomiting include:
- Rest either in a sitting position or in a propped lying position. Activity may worsen nausea and may lead to vomiting.
- Eat slowly
- Rest after eating with your head elevated about 12 inches above your feet.
- Smelling peppermint or drinking ginger ale may help treat nausea.
- Call your doctor if this persists.
- The sedation you received during your surgery may affect your memory and mental judgment for the next 24 hours. Avoid these activities during that time:
- Use of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products
- Do not make important business or personal decisions
- Avoid use of machinery/electrical equipment
When do I call my surgeon for advice?
If you have:
- A fever greater than 101° F lasting greater than 1-2 hours.
- Excessive bleeding, drainage, redness, or other problems at the surgical site.
- Severe pain after taking prescribed pain medication.
- Persistent nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Hives, rash, or itching.
- Numbness, tingling, increased pain, or bluish, white cool extremities around an ace bandage or dressing.
- An inability to have a bowel movement for several days or are unable to pass gas.
- Any incision that opens
- Unable to urinate within 6 hours of surgery.
- A drain that stops working or a large increase in the amount of drainage.
IF YOU CANNOT REACH YOUR PHYSICIAN FOR ANY OF THESE CONCERNS, PLEASE GO TO THE EMERGENCY FACILITY NEAREST YOU.
Your follow-up visit:
- You will need to have a follow-up visit with your surgeon in the office. If this is not already scheduled, please call the office to make an appointment.
We thank you for choosing us for your surgical care! We are here to help you through the process and are available should you need us.