Once it has been decided by you and your doctor that you need surgery, you will need to get ready for the procedure well in advance.
You will have a pre-admission appointment scheduled with your hospital. You will fill-out paperwork with the hospital to get ready for the operation. This is to get you familiar with the facilities, the staff performing the procedure and might involve some lab tests and other preparations.
The office staff and hospital staff will help you estimate your costs for the procedure. They will let you know your health benefits, what is covered by insurance and what out-of-pocket expenses you will contribute.
For peace of mind, you will want to contact your insurance provider yourself and discuss coverage for your procedure.
- SCHEDULE A RIDE to and from the hospital. Have a relative, loved one, or friend transport that day. You could also use a taxi or ride-sharing service. You will not be in any condition to safely operate a vehicle immediately afterwards.
- DO NOT eat, drink (not even water), chew gum, or use tobacco after midnight the day of the operation. However, if you have been instructed by medical personnel to take important medicine, take the minimum, required dosage and no more than two tablespoons of water earlier than two hours before surgery. Failure to do so may delay or cancel your surgery.
- DO NOT wear makeup, fragrances, deodorants, earrings, piercings, jewelry, watches, glasses, contact lenses, hair accessories, or wigs. You may be asked to remove items such as dental appliances.
- DO NOT bring valuables like money, jewelry, watches, credit cards, wallets, or purses. Leave them at home or with your companions. Hospital staff is not responsible for lost items.
- MAKE SURE you pay out-of-pocket expenses well in advance so you won’t need to pay the day of the operation and won’t need to bring money and cards with you to the hospital.
- IF YOU NEED TO STAY in the hospital after the operation, you can bring personal items like sleepwear, robes, slippers, and personal toiletries. Bring the bare minimum though and leave them with your companions.
Day of the Surgery
Be aware that schedules can unexpectedly change for various reasons and the exact time of your operation might change that day. Do not panic or be dismayed. Everything is fine.
While preparing and during the surgery, your family and companions will be asked to wait in the waiting room. They will not be present for your operation. They will be notified when the surgery has concluded.
You will be given a wristband with your name and some personal information on it. Keep the wristband on until your operation has concluded and you have left the hospital.
After you are lead to the preparation area, you will be asked to disrobe and change into a standard hospital dressing gown and footwear. A container will be provided for your clothing and will be waiting for you after the surgery.
You will then have your vital signs taken and have a variety of monitors applied to you to monitor your statistics during the surgery.
Your operating surgeon will give you a summary of the procedures involved and you may meet the other personnel attending the operation, such as your anaesthesiologist or nurses.
You will be ready for your surgery and the procedure will begin.
Post-Surgery and Recovery
After surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area where you will be allowed to recover from your anaesthesia while a specifically trained recovery room nurse will be continually attending you. Your condition, dressings and vitals will still be monitored continuously during this time.
Please realize that you may experience some pain and discomfort at this time. You may also have some nausea, dry mouth, chills, fever, blurriness, lethargy and a sore throat. These can be normal conditions to expect. Should you have noticeable pain or discomfort in the area of your surgery or internally, please notify the attending nurse. They are there to help.
The nurse will be checking your condition and your recovery progress. They will also begin coaching you on how you might best recover and precautions you can take.
You may be given intravenous fluids to help with your hydration and recovery during this time.
Your family may be invited to come see you at this time. They may also be notified of your discharge time or when you might be transferred to a hospital room.
This time is meant for rest and recovery. Relax and take time to heal.
Discharge and Home Recovery
The medicine which was used for sedation will remain in your system for the next 24 hours. You may feel a little sleepy for the remainder of the day. However, this feeling will eventually disappear. For your safety, please adhere to the following:
- Do not drive a car or operate machinery for the next 24 hours.
- Do not drink any alcoholic beverages (this includes beer).
- Do not make any important legal decisions.
- Do not smoke without supervision.
- Do not cook on the stove without supervision.
- We strongly suggest that a responsible adult accompany the patient for the remainder of the day.
After any anesthetic effect has passed, you may experience rectal discomfort. you will be sent home with a prescription for pain medication. Please take this medicine as ordered per your doctor. DO NOT take on an empty stomach; take with food to prevent nausea.
Beginning the next day, sit in a tub of warm water two or three times daily for 10-15 minutes. This will help keep the area clean (especially after a bowel movement), reduce swelling, and relieve discomfort.
Please do not sit on a rubber ring (hemorrhoid cushion). The ring pushes the rectum down, causing pressure and swelling, which may be harmful and make you more uncomfortable.
A small amount of bleeding and/or mucous discharge is normal after rectal surgery. You may find it necessary to wear soft gauze pads or sanitary napkins in your underwear to absorb the discharge. Change these pads or napkins as often as necessary. Good hygiene promotes healing. If you have constant bleeding, or pass a large amount of blood, call 210-941-1000, there is a colon and rectal doctor on-call at all times.
You may eat a regular diet. We strongly recommend that your diet include bran, whole grain breads, fresh vegetables and fruits. We also advise drinking at least 8 glasses of water daily. Also, use a stool softener daily (i.e. Surfak). These items can be purchased over the counter.
If you should happen to experience constipation, DO NOT STRAIN. You may take 1 ounce of Milk of Magnesia. If constipation persists, please call Dr. Saenz.
If you should experience diarrhea, stop taking the stool softener for one or two days or until diarrhea stops. However, please continue taking your bulk forming agent. Call Dr. Saenz if diarrhea persists.
Some rectal operations require the use of iodoform packing strips or gauze squares. if this packing is used, you will be instructed to soak in a warm tub of water the evening of the surgery and gently remove the packing. Replace packing as instructed by Dr. Saenz.
Also, occasionally, a material called gelfoam is inserted into the anal canal. This will dissolve and may resemble white mucous. It can be passed with bowel movements or by itself.
If any questions arise, CALL DR. SAENZ at 210-941-1000.