There are so many things to think about when facing breast surgery or any in-patient surgical procedure. Besides packing for the hospital, you have to make sure that everything is in order for your return home. Although your doctor will explain the physical constraints you will face post-surgery, it’s difficult to know what you’ll be dealing with until you actually experience it first-hand.
Here is a list of things to do and expect on the day of your breast surgery:
- On the morning of your surgery, take a long shower or bath using anti-bacterial soap. It might be a while before you can do so again. Don’t use deodorant or perfume, lotions, hair gel or powders or wear contact lenses. Remember to bring your glasses to the hospital.
- Give yourself enough time to get ready so that you arrive at the hospital on time. Go directly to the admitting desk and follow instructions from the staff.
- Do not bring jewelry or other valuables to the hospital. Ask whoever is accompanying you (spouse, companion, relative, or friend) to hold your phone, wallet, keys or other personal items.
- Bring photo ID and proof of insurance. You can put everything in the BFFLBag® and leave that with your companion.
- A nurse will come in to take your temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, etc. (referred to as your “vitals”) and insert a needle (with a tube attached) into your arm. This is called an “IV”, which stands for “intravenous” (“in the vein”). If you are having a sentinel node biopsy you may also have an injection of dye so that the nodes can be located during surgery.
- You will be taken into a pre-operative waiting area where the doctors will talk to you. They may also make some markings on your skin with a purple surgical marker. If you see purple on your skin weeks after the surgery, it’s due to these markings—and can be cleaned off with an alcohol pad.
- The anesthesiologist will come and give you medication to relax and “go to sleep” after which you will be taken into the operating room on a mobile bed.
- In what seems like a minute later (but is really several hours later) you will be awake and in the recovery room. Usually, your companion will be brought in to see you at that time. Many people are disorientated, emotional, and very cold. Ask for extra blankets and reassurance. If you are nauseated or in pain, ask for medication immediately. You will come out of the operating room with a surgical bra, preferably the Masthead Elizabeth Surgical Bra (made by BFFL Co), the most comfortable, convenient and effective surgical bra on the market.
- When you are stable, you will be taken to your regular hospital room.
- You may not feel pain per se, but rather “tightness” across your chest. If you do feel pain, you should let your nurses know immediately.
- You will have a little pump attached to your IV which will contain pain medication. The pump will have a button that you can press if the pain gets intense, but it is monitored to make you sure don’t overdo it.
- Your eyes, lips and mouth might be very dry after surgery. Ask the recovery room nurse for some ice chips (they won’t want any volume of liquid in your body right after surgery), and use the eye drops, lip balm and waterless WISP toothbrush in your BFFLBag® toiletries kit.