Before you go to sleep
If you haven’t already met your anaesthetist you will meet them either on the ward or in the anaesthetic bay on the day of your surgery. At this stage if you have any concerns or worries about your operation or anaesthetic please let them know.
Once in the anaesthetic bay you will have an intravenous drip placed and often you will be given a sedative “relaxing medication” just before going into the operating theatre. You often will not remember much after being given the sedative. Once inside the operating theatre you will have several monitors placed (these monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, level of awareness and breathing patterns). Once these are placed you will be given an oxygen mask and then receive another injection through the drip. This injection will be the anaesthetic medicine that induces unconsciousness. The next thing you will remember is waking up either in the recovery room or in the operating theatre.
During the operation your anaesthetist will remain with you monitoring your safety, your anaesthetic and all your vital physiological functions. If your operation is expected to be a long one we will sometimes place a special drip into your arm that allows us to measure your blood pressure continuously (rather than by the blood pressure cuff every five minutes). This will generally be removed in recovery. Your anaesthetist will remain with you continuously until you reach the recovery room. In recovery your care will be continued by the recovery staff. While you are in recovery if you have any discomfort or feel nauseated or sick it is important that you let the recovery staff know. They can administer pain killers or anti nausea drugs if they are required. The aim is to have you comfortable when you leave recovery for the ward.
Your Stay in Hospital
Generally speaking most people will go home on the day of surgery. We generally leave your intravenous drip in place with some fluid running until you have had something to eat and drink. Once you are feeling well we will remove the drip and allow you to get up and walk around. Before you are discharged home, you need to be eating, drinking and able to walk around without feeling dizzy or unwell. It is not unusual to have some degree of dizziness after ear surgery, however you must be steady on your feet prior to being discharged home.
For those patients who stay overnight in hospital your intravenous drip will remain in place to give you fluid and medications during that first night. Most patients generally have a pretty good stay in hospital and indeed generally have a good first 24 hours in terms of pain and discomfort, however if you have any discomfort please let the nursing staff know. The next morning most patients will be discharged home. When you go home we generally suggest asking the nursing staff to give you a disposable vomit bag for the car ride home. Whilst it doesn’t sound elegant, the motion of the car not infrequently can make you feel a bit nauseated.
Whether or not you have day surgery or remain in hospital overnight, you will need someone to pick you up from the hospital and take you home. We generally recommend our patients take regular Panadol and Nurofen for the first 2 or 3 days. If simple pain medication is taken regularly we often find our patients do not require any other pain relief. You will be given a prescription for some stronger pain killers such as codeine or oxycodone just in case. Oxycodone and codeine are restricted medications that must be used only for postoperative pain as prescribed specifically for you. Under no circumstances should you give them to friends or family or leave them within the reach of children. The maximum number of tablets we can prescribe is ten.