I had my pre-surgery screening with the anesthesiology nurses today. This is a new process for the hospital to improve the flow of the surgical team, which is why I’ve never had to do it before. My most recent surgery was at an out-patient surgical center, and the last surgery I had at the hospital was from over ten years ago.
I mostly answered a bunch of questions about my health so the anesthesiologist could minimize my chances of dying during the surgery. You start out by filling out a 28 question form about your health. I’m not exactly sure why I bothered, because I then proceeded to the nurses office where she asked me about all the health problems I had just answered, plus about eighty others. She covered every possible health problem – skin, eyes, ears, kidneys, liver, heart (several times asked about heart problems, had I had an EKG, an EEG, or a chest X-ray? No, no, and turns out yes after my port surgery), and so on. Even seemingly random things like did you get a flu shot or a pneumonia shot? Have you ever had chicken pox, measles, or mumps? I really wanted to ask why they needed to know about all those details, but I figured the appointment would be twice as long if I started questioning their reasons, considering the number of questions they had.
Turns out I’m going to have a different level of anesthesia than I have in my two other surgeries. I found this out when the nurse mentioned I’d be on a ventilator while I was anesthetized, so my throat might be a little scratchy or sore after the surgery. I didn’t remember any such warning in the past, so I questioned why. Turns out, in surgery below the diaphragm, like the D&C I had after a miscarriage (my first pregnancy before Mr. Curiosity), you can get deeply anesthetized but still maintain your own airways. In light surgery, like for my port, they do “twilight anesthesia” where you’re only slightly out and, again, you maintain your own airways. The mastectomy is above the diaphragm and more in-depth, so I’ll be deeper under and need the ventilator.
The day before, the nurse will call and let me know what time exactly the surgery will be. There’s the usual rule of no eating or drinking after midnight, so I really hope the surgery won’t be too late in the day. I get cranky when I get hungry. I also need to call the plastic surgeon. I decided to go with reconstruction with an implant, so I’ll need an appointment the day before surgery so he can do his measurements.