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Before, During & After Your Surgery

Before You Have Surgery

Medical History

Before surgery, your doctor or health care provider will discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with you, review your medical history, and possibly take some routine tests. If you have any questions about your surgery, this is a good time to ask.

Some important questions about your medical history are:

  • Do you have allergies?
  • How is your general health? Do you have a fever, cold, or rash?
  • Do you take any medications (including over-the-counter products, such as aspirin)?
  • Do you use alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs? (Please note: This information is confidential but asked for your safety and consideration for the treatment to be provided.)
  • Could you be pregnant?
  • Have you had other surgeries or illnesses?
  • Do you have diabetes or high blood pressure?

Some of the tests that you might have before surgery include:

  • Chest x-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG)
  • Blood tests
  • Urine test

Your Role in Preparing for Surgery

A little preparation before you go to the hospital will help you have a safe surgery and quick recovery:

  • If you smoke, quit or cut down before surgery. People who don’t smoke heal faster than people who do smoke.
  • Stop drinking alcohol (liquor, beer and wine) at least two days before surgery.
  • Ask your doctor about taking any medications before surgery, including aspirin and ibuprofen.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery, even mints or gum. If you do, your surgery may have to be rescheduled.
  • If you get a fever, cold or rash, call your doctor. Surgery may need to be postponed.
  • Arrange for someone to drive you to the hospital and pick you up. Even if you do not receive general anesthesia, you may not feel up to driving and other medication may make you groggy.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about any other special instructions.
  • The Day of Your Surgery

Preparation Before you Leave Home

  • Shower or bathe – you will be given specific instructions by your health care provider.
  • Remember not to eat or drink.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • Leave all of your valuables, such as jewelry, watches, cash, and credit cards at home.
  • Remove makeup, lipstick and nail polish.

What to Bring

  • A copy of your Advance Health Care Directive, if you have one. It is your right to accept or refuse medical care. Advance Health Care Directives can protect this right if you ever become mentally or physically unable to choose or communicate your wishes due to an injury or illness. If you have a question about the Advance Health Care Directive, or you would like more information and a copy of an Advance Health Care Directive, please contact our hospital’s Spiritual Care Services, Social Services, or Patient Advocate.
  • A copy of your doctor’s orders for surgery. The Admitting office will need this when you arrive.
  • Insurance cards and forms.
  • Formal ID, such as your California ID Card, California Driver’s License or a student ID card, provided by your school or college.
  • A parent or legal guardian, if you are under age 18. Proof of legal guardianship is required. Please provide your guardianship document at the time of your registration process.
  • Your regular medication, in the original container(s).A case or box with your name on it for personal items that you may need to remove, such as dentures or glasses.

Where to Go

Parking and Arrival

You may park on campus at St. Francis Medical Center. The parking structure is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Parking rates are $1.00 for each 15 minutes, and $8.00 for all day.

Your driver may drop you off at the medical center’s entrance, in front of the Health Services Pavilion (Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. parking entrance). The information clerk at the Information Desk will direct you to the Registration Department.

Your Friends and Family May Wait for You

If you have family and friends who will be waiting for you while you are having your test or therapy. They may use the waiting areas outside of the Registration Department. They may also enjoy strolling the beautiful grounds and gardens at St. Francis Medical Center, or have a meal or snack in the Cafeteria (open from 6 AM - 10 AM, 11:30 AM - 2 PM, and 4 PM - 7 PM daily), or at All Saints Café located next to the waiting area (open M-F 6:30 AM - 9 PM, and Sat/Sun 7:30 AM to 9 PM).

Checking In

  • Go to Registration on the First Floor of the Health Services Pavilion.
  • The registration staff will ask for a copy of your doctor’s orders, your insurance card and forms, and your ID.
  • You will fill out registration, insurance forms, and the surgery consent form if you haven’t done so already. If you are a minor, your parent or guardian will do this for you.
  • You will be directed to the Surgery Center. Your family and friends may be able to wait with you there.
  • Before surgery, you will change into a hospital gown and possibly wear a head cover for your hair.
  • Personal belongings should be left at home.
  • Your Surgery Experience

During Surgery

The Operating Room (OR)

The operating rooms in the Surgery Center at St. Francis Medical Center offer a safe and comfortable place for your surgery. Although you are having outpatient surgery, you may be taken to the operating room (OR) in a bed or wheelchair.

Your Surgical Team

Your surgeon leads the OR team, which usually includes nurses, an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist, and a surgical assistant.

Your Surgery Experience

Depending on the type of surgery you will receive, you may have:

  • An intravenous line (IV) line to provide medication and fluid during surgery
  • A cuff to monitor your blood pressure during surgery
  • Pads on your chest to monitor your heart
  • A “clip” on your finger to measure the oxygen in your blood

If the OR feels cold, you may ask for a blanket.

After Surgery

The Recovery Room

After surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room where you will be closely monitored. During this time, you may expect the following:

  • As the anesthetic wears off, the area of your surgery may hurt or burn. Ask for pain medication, if you need it.
  • You may have nausea after surgery. Medication can be given to you to make you feel better.
  • If an airway or tube was placed in your windpipe during surgery, you may have a sore throat.
  • You may have a small tube (catheter) in your bladder to drain urine. This is temporary and will be removed later.
  • You may be unsteady on your feet, so don’t try to walk until your doctor or nurse gives the OK.

From the Recovery Room, you will either be transferred to the Surgery Center, if you will be going home, or to your patient room, if you are being admitted to the hospital.

Going Home and Questions

When you are discharged, your doctor, nurse or other health care provider will give you post-operative instructions. Be sure that you understand them. You may wish to have a family member or friend help you during recovery. Make sure that you both understand the instructions and that your questions are answered.

Be sure to ask about:

  • Medications (how much and when to take)
  • Stitches, staples, and incision care
  • Bathing and showering
  • Pain (what to expect, what to do)
  • What to eat
  • Physical activity
  • Driving

Although you will not stay overnight in the hospital, you still have undergone surgery and you need to take care of yourself. You play an important role in your recovery. If you have any questions, feel free to ask a member of our health care team. We care about your welfare and are here to assist you.

Discharge Instructions

Leaving St. Francis

Your physician will determine when you are ready for discharge. If you have questions about your diet, activity, medication, follow-up care, or other matters, please be sure to ask your questions prior to discharge. Our discharge time is 12 Noon. Please arrange for your transportation needs. You will be escorted in a wheelchair to the front entrance and helped into your car.

Personal Belongings

Before leaving your room collect all your belongings and check the closets and drawers. If you have valuables stored in the hospital safe, please bring your receipt to the Admitting Department. You may pick up your valuables Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Discharge to Another Service

Sometimes patients need treatment or care after they leave the medical center. To meet these needs, St. Francis Medical Center offers a number of options, including the Progressive Care Unit and Home Health Services. Your physician or nurse will assist you in making these important arrangements.