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A Week from Today

Posts: 143
Joined: Jan 2017

Well, my husband had his final bloodwork and tests today before the surgery next Monday.  He is definitely not looking forward to that day arriving. I know each surgery is different but about how long did yours take?  I read that it takes between 4 and 5 hours but we were told today that it is scheduled for only half that time.  What should I expect to see when I am allowed to go into his room?  Tons of tubes and machines?  Were you in much pain when you first were awake enough to know where you were?

Thanks again guys, you have all been a godsend!!!!

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3350
Joined: Jan 2010



Initally he is going to be out of it and on a lot of pain medication. After the first couple of days each day gets a little better with maybe a bad day in between. It is going to take a month or more to get back to a slow normal. No roller coasters this summer.



foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

Keep telling  yourself that this is the best thing that could  ever happen to you. Because it is.

Jan4you's picture
Posts: 1327
Joined: Oct 2013

You inquiry if legitimate. If you never had any surger, esp abdominal, you have every right to know what to expect. I have had 4 surgeries, all unrelated. But last two were done robatically with laproscopic incsions. I can honestly say I had little pain, because the incisions are very small. I had a radical or complete removal of kidney due to his position near the blood supply so one incision was a bit bigger, about 3 inches. What no one tells you is that they pump this gas into your abdomen raising it high so the surgeon can SEE and get those robatic arms/instruments/camera around inside more easily.

That gas gets trapped in the weirdest places, mostly in the shoulder and yes, it is uncomfortable. Yet i knew it was only gas and it would dissapate in a few days. There is tenderness from the incisions and yes, you have to be careful for 1 month at least as you are healing inside and you don't want to get any hernias.

Every one's pain tolerance is different. So you are given an IV pain pump usually the first day/night. The surgery last a couple of hours, usually. Mine was only 2.5 hours.

I also used a lumbar velcro wrap used to support lower back issues, but wrapped around my abdomen to support my tender muscles. This lumbar wrap helped me be able to sit up and get up without as much strain and pain. I also placed dry ice over larger incision. underneath this wrap as it was tender/swollen. The cold reduced the swelling and pain. So I could use less pain meds. Pain meds can constipate you.

He'll also have a catheter. Mine was out right after surgery. Some men have their catheter in for a few days. Not sure why.

Some may have a drain, but I didn't for any of my surgeris. It gets pulled out before you go home. That part is not pleasant, but like I said many do not even have the drain. You can ask your surgeon if and when he finds it necessary to use the drain.

You can walk, and he'll be asked to sit up, hang his feet over side of bed, then stand, then walk a little just hours after surgery. This is to prevent clots. He'll also have these leg compression wraps over his legs until he's able to be up and walking more and more. Again, its to prevent blood clots in the legs.

He'll be okay. He will survive and may even start to feel good enough he'll want to do more or return to work, only remember, he is healing iniside. Walking is encouraged. AND me may be very tired for awhile. Don't forget he's given lots of medications during general anesthesia, then the pain pump after surgery, then oral pain meds. So meds can make you tired too.

Keep asking any questions. He'll be okay. You will too. Most folks like to stay in a recliner. He may feel like eating and he may not. Again, some pain meds can give you nausea for a bit. He'll get past that if he does get nauseated.

Let us know how he's doing. We'll be here for YOU and for him!

Warmly, Jan

Footstomper's picture
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

First of all try not to worry, its never as bad as our imagination makes it. Surgery time can vary. But these people are experts and are used to the surgery. All your husband has to do is sleep. You get to wait and worry (sorry - take a book, but not one about cancer). He will wake up plugged into a number of machines some of which beep importantly.

There will be pain when he wakes up. But there will also be painkillers and it will pass. I'm told I spent a number of hours seemingly conscious before I actually was.

Dont worry. This is getting things done: the alternative is to do nothing and let it get worse.

Good luck again, to you both.

JerzyGrrl's picture
Posts: 761
Joined: Jun 2016

It may take the amount of time they've told you (It may take less -- WOOT!), and it also may take longer than the time they've told you.  Why longer? OH, NO HAS SOMETHING GONE WRONG?! Most likely not. All this longer-ness is possible with totally no medical complications whatsoever. Because -- assuming his surgery starts on time -- he goes to recovery post-op, then they have to get him a room on the unit AND they have to have a nurse on the shift to look after him in his room, plus they have to have his post-op nurse give report to his nurse on the surgical unit. It's a (hopefully) well-choreographed event (It goes without saying that the surgery is DEFINITELY a well-choreographed event, in case you were wondering). 

As for what to expect when you see him -- folks have pretty much covered the basics regarding the tubes and such. Most of the tubes and dressings won't be too obvious because he'll be tucked into bed. You may hear "kshhhhht" (etc) noises if he's got the leg compression pump thingies on.

He'll be out of it, puffy and pale, sleepy... And quite possibly later won't remember most or all the details that happen right afterwards. But all that passes. I remember I wasn't happy having to pay attention to people talking around me to figure out if I was supposed to be paying attention to them talking. It would've been nice if everyone had just quit talking altogether was my thinking. Some people are cranky, some giggly, some just sleepy sleepy (I was two out of three, then I traded some of the cranky for giggly, eventually I got back to being uncranky me).

Have things to keep yourself occupied at the hospital. Have someone with you if you can. Prepare, pack, or track down healthy food. Drink water. Go for a walk outside, weather permitting. Do what you normally do to be cool, calm, and collected. 

When he comes home, please continue to take care of yourself as you're looking after him.  Odds are (REALLY, REALLY!!!) good that he won't be an invalid, so do encourage him to not act like one and encourage yourself not to treat him like one. That pain-from-gas thing? Mostly it's moving and walking that allows it to get (ahem) resolved. Having him shuffle / mosey into the kitchen or dining room to eat (as opposed to eating off of a TV tray or bed tray) is a good thing. 

Posts: 389
Joined: Mar 2013

It is hard to predict how long it will take for the surgery as Footstomper says his team knows what the are doing and he will be sound a sleep. If you have family with you bring a game or two, or some cards so that you can keep yourself busy and you have support. If you are by yourself read a good inspirational book and try to stay distracted.  You wont see a lot of tubes or other horrific things when you see him again he will have his IV probably some oxygen and a catheter.  He will be out of it mentally for about 24 hours in that time he will probably wake up and fall back a sleep alot.  Try not to worry doctors have been doing this for a long time and they are quite good at what they do.  His recovery depends on his strength, I was up and around a day or two after getting home from the hosiptal and had minimal pain.


Steve.Adam's picture
Posts: 463
Joined: Oct 2016

My experience was quite positive.

I had very little pain. It was almost a non issue. I don't know why. Perhaps it was just well managed.

Abdominal bloating was my major discomfort. I refused all food for 4 days. When I tapped my stomach it sounded like a drum. I wanted nothing more than to break wind extravagantly (though not necessarily loudly).

I suggest light meals for a day or two before the op. I did that but later I still wished I had eaten less.

Also, try not to be constipated before the surgery. Same issues as above. Microlax enemas on days 5 and 6 started things moving but it was a slow start.

I had a different style of surgery to your husband's so hopefully his internals will be less disrupted.

Apart from that I was fine. When I woke up I had connections to an artery in my left wrist, veins in my elbow and neck, a catheter, an abdominal drain and a breathing tube down my throat. But none were uncomfortable and I felt ok. I was quite drowsy and dozed on and off for a day or two.

If his experience is anything like mine he will be fine. Maybe a little bored staring at the ceiling.



Posts: 143
Joined: Jan 2017

Thank you all for your input.  The nerves pick up a little more each day.  I will be alone while he is surgery and will most likely be peeling the paint off of the walls from anxiety.  I lost my mom unexpectedly last year from cardiac arrest or I know she would be with me.  I would like to think that she will be with us in spirit.

Charliesc's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2017

I had my right kidney removed Monday @ 10am. I was walking up and down the halls Tuesday morning after my catheter and IV  was removed. My urologist was by this morning  (Wednesday) and said I would be going home Thursday morning. The pain that bothered me most was in my shoulder and not at the surgical location. My surgeon said this was caused by the CO2 gas that is injected into the diaphragm during laparoscopic surgery. I had a great nurse with Percocet  pills to cover the pain but now 2 days later, I am off the pain meds completely. Not really a bad experience as far as surgeries go. So thankful for modern medical technology. 

Jan4you's picture
Posts: 1327
Joined: Oct 2013

OH and part of general anesthesia usally includes that VERSED drug which is used for pain but also causes temporary AMNESIA. So although he'll be awake by the time you see him (but sleepy) he may not remember what you tell him. My sister has a whole routine she does of me (and others) who act funny due to that amnesia. Don't worry, it just has to get out of his system.


APny's picture
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mar 2014

As said, everyone is different. My open partial nehp took about 2 hours max, according to my husband. It was done in the morning and I was up walking that evening, dragging my catheter and IV along with me. The pain was very manageable. My husband came to see me in the ICU after the surgery and I was alert and perfectly ok except for some nausea from the morphine so I got a shot for that. I was home on the third day but had to go home with a drain which stayed in for a week. As for tubes, I had a cath, the drain, and the IV. I had zero appetite for about 3 or 4 days but sipped some broth and had some soft boiled eggs. All in all, not something I'd want to do again but it was nowhere near as bad as I had feared and let my imagination run with. WIshing you both the very best and a fast recovery for your husband!

hardo718's picture
Posts: 853
Joined: Jan 2016

Both arms looked like someone beat me up!  Apparently my veins kept blowing and consequently they kept poking around.  My kids were pretty upset about that.  I only had one drain, lower abdomen and as I called it, 5 belly buttons in lots of different directions.  Oh and one incision about 3 inches long.


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