The Night Before Surgery
In San Francisco: If you notice a change in your health (such as a fever) the night before surgery, call the Cardiothoracic Surgery Department, (415) 833-3800 between the hours of 9:00 AM-5:00 PM Monday through Friday.
After 5:00 PM, or on weekends, call the Hospital Operator (415) 833-2000 and have the Operator page the Cardiothoracic Surgeon on-call.
In Santa Clara: If you notice a change in your health (such as a fever, cough, sore throat or diarrhea) the night before surgery, call the Cardiothoracic Surgery Department, (408) 851-3780 between the hours of 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.
After 5:00 PM, or on weekends, call the Hospital Operator (408) 851-1000 and have the Operator page the Cardiothoracic Surgeon on-call.
Remember: Do not eat or drink anything past 12 midnight the night before surgery. You should shower with the Hibiclens solution the night before and the morning of surgery. Lastly, the mupirocin ointment should be applied in the morning in the nostrils before coming to the hospital.
Your Shower the Night Before Surgery
Special Shower: When you come to the office for your surgery instruction packet, you will be given a bottle of Hibiclens, an antibacterial soap. The night before your surgery, cleanse your body with Hibiclens. The instructions below should be followed exactly.
If you plan to shampoo your hair, do so before washing with Hibiclens. There is no need to use Hibiclens on your face or hair.
1. Wash yourself from your neck down with Hibiclens. You may use a washcloth.
2. Do not use any other soap.
3. After your shower, dry yourself normally.
4. Do not apply any type of deodorant, lotion, perfume, or powder to your body after the shower.
5. You may shower again in the morning if you wish, but follow the same instructions, and do not apply any other products to your body in the morning.
Facts about Pain
- All pain is real.
- It is very rare to become addicted to pain medication used after surgery.
- As you experience pain, it is important that you take pain medication as often as you need it. If your pain level begins to rise over time, this may indicate a need for pain medication.
- Pain medication does not work the same for everyone. If the pain medication prescribed for you is not effective, please consult your nurse, who will ask the doctor about possible alternatives.
- Having pain does not mean you must limit activity or therapy. Receiving pain medication before scheduled activity or therapy may improve your performance.
- Pain medication helps diminish pain. It does not take away all of the pain you may experience.
- You are the best judge of how much pain you are feeling.
How Will My Pain Be Treated After Surgery?
As you wake up and become aware of your surroundings after surgery, you may experience mild soreness or more severe discomfort from the surgical chest (and leg) wound.
- Initially (the day of surgery), we will give you pain medications through the intravenous (IV) catheter. The nurse will ask fairly often if you are having pain.
- We aim to relieve the pain enough so you are comfortable but not sedate you so much that you are unable to stay awake. It is important that you are comfortable enough to do your deep breathing and coughing exercises and also move around and get out of bed.
Pain pills are given after the breathing tube has been removed and you are able to swallow liquids. The nurse will ask how you would rate your pain on a 1 10 scale (1 being mild discomfort, 10 being severe pain). This helps in determining the effectiveness of pain medicine given. The amount of pain experienced differs from person to person.
Tips on Controlling Pain
- Take (or ask for) pain relief medications when pain first begins.
- Take pain medication regularly, around the clock for several days after surgery, depending on the level of pain you are experiencing.
- Take (or ask for) pain medications 30 to 40 minutes before scheduled activity such as getting up or walking.
- Ask about possible side effects of the pain medication you are taking.
- Inform the doctor or nurse of any allergies you may have to pain medication.
- Inform the doctor or nurse of any pain that does not go away.