View Full Version : Pre-op at Mass General

11-22-2007, 09:32 AM
Hi all,

First, I have to tell you how excited I am to post something that might actually helpful to other people, rather than just asking for help from all of you. I had my pre-op extravaganza on Tuesday 10/20 at Mass General Hospital. It was a 6-7 hour process including a meeting with the surgeon's assistant, testing, meeting a nurse, and anesthesiologist. The nurse explained it to me as each department who would be involved in my care wanted to get information on what was most relevant to their division of care - beware - it was REPETITIVE! Also, my stepmother came with me which was hugely helpful - I got a ton of information, and it was very overwhelming, and so helpful to have someone there taking notes for me. Beware - this is a long one!

1) I met with the Surgeon's Assistant (who I really like) at 9 am (we arrived an hour early). She went through, in great detail, what would happen, step-by-step, when I arrive at the hospital, during surgery, and afterwards in recovery. She also looked me in the eyes and listed the risks... that might have been the hardest part of the day. She also was able to answer questions I had (some of them totally silly) after getting all of that information. One of the most valuable parts of that was the fact that she had recently been under general anesthesia, and gave me an idea of her personal experience, including her own fears. She said young women typically take longer to wake up from anesthesia, and have more difficulty coming out (including nausea). She said that almost as a warning to my family not to be nervous if it takes me awhile to wake up.

2) We went down to the PATA (Pre-Admission Testing Appointment) area for a 10:30 appointment. We were running a little late (there was a fiasco with taking clinical pre-op pictures, but that's a story for another post another day!), but that was fine. It was a small waiting room, PACKED with people preparing for various surgeries. 2a)First, a nurse called me back. I was thrilled that she had a great personality, and was making me laugh the whole time. She took my vitals (pulse, blood pressure, temperature, weight, height) ran an EKG of my heart, and drew about 6 viles of blood, and a urine sample (I believe they mandate a pregnancy test). I returned the the waiting room. 2b) Next, a RN, maybe a nurse educator, called me back. She asked LOTS of questions, including getting information on other conditions I have, and how I was feeling about the surgery. She basically did a nursing assessment of all of my systems. She talked about the nursing care I will receive (there's a 1-1 nurse to patient ratio in the ICU). She also encouraged me to try a fiber supplement (Benefiber) now, so I can figure out the right amount for me now, rather than doing that after surgery. I, again, returned to the waiting room. 2c) Next, the anesthesiologist. Again, this doctor went through all of my systems from a different perspective. He looked down my throat, and listened to my heart (turns out I have a heart murmur!). Though the Surgeon's Assistant did not think a chest xray was necessary due to my age, he ordered one anyways. (Thankfully) That same Dr. will NOT be the one assigned to my surgery. By the time we left the PATA it was probably about 2:00.

3) My step mom then went to donate blood for me (we don't know if it will be used or not, since I still don't know my blood type!), and I went for a chest xray. No biggie.

Throughout the day, I filled out lots of paperwork (meds, other conditions, healthcare proxy, etc), so have information written down if you dont know it by heart. I spoke to the Surgeon's Assistant yesterday, and she said all my tests look good (for the first time in a long time I'm not anemic!!!). All is good to go. Generally, though it was long and tiring, the Pre-op was uneventful.

Sorry for the length of this - If I can be helpful to anyone, please let me know!

11-22-2007, 10:00 AM
Vndy-- thanks for detailed info! I'm so glad it went well and you feel pretty good about it all. That was nice that your mother-in-law was able to go with you. Your pre-op appt. involved meeting with more staff than mine did, but they still run you through the mill with all the tests, x-rays and medical history. My memories are a little vague--I just remember having that feeling in my stomach of "YIKES!"--it's almost time! The exciting thing is that now you are really close to the big day. I'm so excited for you! Enjoy your Thanksgiving and long weekend.

11-22-2007, 11:27 AM
vndy -

Thanks so much for all that info - I appreciate knowing in advance what types of things to expect. My pre-ops are Dec. 20, from 10:00 am to about 5:00 PM.

I've also had some pre-ops done locally, and if I added up all the time for all pre-ops, it would probably be at least 12 hours, not counting waiting-room, etc. time. But it is good to know that they check out overything.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

11-25-2007, 11:02 AM
Wow, that is a long pre-op! But, it's probably closer to average, from what I've seen on here (I think mine was about 2 hours). That is really, really good information for people. I know I was nervous about the pre-op, and had absolutely no idea what to expect.

I didn't know young women often take longer to come out of anesthesia, but that was my experience as well. I also had low blood pressure and a fever the first couple days, but I've read that that is normal also.

That's great news that you like your surgeon's assistant, AND that there's a 1-1 nursing/patient ratio in the ICU - doesn't get better than that! Hopefully this procedure has made you a little more comfortable with the hospital and the people working there and gained you confidence in the way they operate (oooh, bad pun!)