Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: California's Central Coast
As a nurse intern I watched several surgeries. Here is what typically happens:
First, it is important to follow your pre-op instructions about what medications to take or not to take and what to eat or not to eat. Arriving at the hospital, the nurse will ask if you took medications or ate, then change into hospital clothes, may get some really tight stockings to put on to prevent blood clots. Make a trip to the bathroom before they hook up the IV. You will probably get a short acting medication like Versed to help you relax. The anesthesiologist will come to see you. You will probably get a really warm, comfy hot air blanket to keep you comfortable. If not, insist on keeping warm. In the surgery room, everything is kept very sterile. Yes, everyone really does scrub up well like on TV. The anesthesiologist I witnessed were the best doctors. They were interested in teaching the students, they were vigilant about checking all the medications they give for accuracy which is typically 3x, they often joked they did not want to be sued. They will monitor your blood pressure, respiration, temp, pulse. They surgeon and surgical tech will count out in advance all the parts, rags, tools they will be using. Everything is accounted for at the end of surgery. One time a rag was missing, the room was torn apart and it was found in the instestine (abdominal surgery). Very meticulous. While you are asleep, a foley will be inserted to collect urine, and foam or cushioning will be placed under all your boney parts to prevent pressure sores or ulcers. And just like on TV, your surgeon will probably have his/her iPod going.
The surgeries I watched did not have any emergencies or irregularities, of course there is always a tiny risk though.
After surgery, you will be monitored every 5 minutes for 15 minutes, then every 15 minutes after that until you are doing well and your vital signs are stable. You may feel cold and dried out. The nurse may ask you about pain on a scale of 0-10 (none to extreme) be honest, don't be stoic. Pain management is taken very seriously.
Jocoyn's advice about having a support person with you is great. If you can try to have someone with pre-op, post-op and if you are admitted to stay the night, in the hospital with you as much as possible to be your advocate while you are not feeling well, plus when you get sent home they will probably remember your home care info better than you since you may be groggy.
Many surgeries now are minimally invasive, less pain and less risk for infection. I would call your doctor and see if he/she or a nurse can give you any other informationor prescription to help with your anxiety and sleep. If you do stay for an overnight, you might feel more comfortable bringing something from home, like a favorite pillow, blanket or a picture of your GSD! I hope this is somewhat helpful, and knowing what will happen may ease some fears.