Pre-op Conference

On Tuesday I have surgery to remove a benign polyp from my colon. The procedure is called a transversal colectomy. I went today for a pre-op session which involved getting bloodwork, a general physical with an EKG, and a debriefing on what to expect. Glad I did this since I learned quite a bit. I check in at 6AM on Tuesday the 16th. The operation will take 2-2.5 hours, most of which is prep and cleanup. The plan is to try to remove the polyp laproscopically but there’s a reasonable chance that I’ll have to be opened up. The polyp was marked during the earlier colonoscopy and the location given to the surgeon but he said sometimes they can’t pinpoint the location too accurately and it requires a “search”. We’re talking a few centimeters. After the operation I go to a recovery area for a couple of hours and then to the ICU. I’ll be in ICU for one or two nights and then moved to a regular room. Total hospital stay 3-5 days is normal.

When I come out of the operation I’ll have several tubes including a catheter to drain my bladder, a regular arm kind of intravenous setup, a tube down my throat and one coming out of my nose. So no doubt it will look scary. The reason for the throat and nose is for drainage. Anything that goes into the stomach, even normal stomach acid needs to come out because they don’t want you to cough, retch or anything for a bit to protect the stitches. So it will look like something is wrong but it’s standard procedure. The catheter is so they keep track of my output exactly. They know what’s going in from the intravenous tube and what’s coming out from the catheter. We also went over pain management stuff so I’m guessing it will hurt a bit. They use a 0-10 scale and relate each number to a graphic facial expression. With a 0 the face is smiling; with a 5 the face is straight, no emotion showing; with a 10 the face is crying with tears. I’m a 4 kind of guy.

This was all good information since my expectation was to go in at 6AM and be home later that day. We told John Bachmann that we might hook up with him at Brian’s Barbecue for ribs on Wednesday so I might have felt a little panic if I woke up with all those tubes and being moved to ICU. As it is, I know that’s exactly what’s going to happen and it’s normal. I was told that I am very healthy (this procedure notwithstanding) – good lungs, heart etc – and my surgeon is the best there is. And I can forget about the ribs on Wednesday. I’m thinking the worst part of this whole thing is going to be the lousy food at Florida Hospital.

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