Surgery – Common Questions and Fears

Surgery can be daunting. We all get scared, even if we’ve been through it before. Getting some advance information and preparing yourself will make it easier. Based on my research, these are the most common questions and fears that people have. I hope that eventually I will be able to address all of them. If you have one that you would like me to discuss sooner, please contact me; I would be happy to prioritize your needs.

Check out my other posts about Hospitals & Surgery.

Deciding on Surgery

  • Feel like I should cancel surgery, but that would be wimpy & accomplish nothing. Is this normal feeling at this time?
  • Would it be risky to postpone the surgery a year or so?
  • I am not 100% sure I want to do it yet, but I need to decide soon due to time constraints
  • Because I have no symptoms, there’s nothing about this surgery that’s going to make me feel better

Recovery from Surgery

  • How long after surgery until I will be able to live on my own and go to work?
  • My doctor said that I need to wear a brace for 2.5 months after surgery, what will that be like?
  • Will I require physical therapy after surgery? If so, what kind and how often?
  • They said they will get me out of bed the next day, and start walking. there is no PT and no brace
  • I really want to know what sort of recovery I’m looking at
  • I’m nervous about surgery and worried about possible complications as well as what life will be like
  • What limitations will I have after recovery
  • I’m worried about what my health will be like afterwords

Fear – Anxiety about Surgery

  • I have been an emotional wreck since I got my surgery date, Is this common?
  • How did you all do this, counting down the days till surgery day?
  • I’m so nervous about it that every time I think about it I get sick to my stomach.
  • I’m definitely mentally prepared now, that this is the right thing to do. I am scared, but, guessing its normal with any type of surgery to have anxiety
  • I just get so frustrated, not knowing if this is the ‘right’ thing to do. But not knowing what else it could be.
  • On one hand I am happy to be fixing a problem, but on the other hand I am getting a little scared as the day gets near. Is this normal?
  • I am probably going to break down crying and shaking is this normal
  • Has anyone else gone through the “freak out” stage,  Not my 1 st surgery
  • I don’t want to make her nervous by me being nervous. I don’t want to cry or anything.
  • Lately I just burst into tears from one second to the other. I need help to calm down!!!!! I don’t want her to get even more scared because of me!!!
  • So is it normal to feel scared and upset?
  • What should I do to calm my nerves? Especially tomorrow morning, I know I will be freaking out.
  • I have suffered several massive panic attacks

Pain After Surgery

  • I am having athrascopic surgery on my left shoulder tomorrow and i was wondering what the pain level after surgery would be and how long will the pain last
  • I have heard about the pain, which is something that is adding to my nerves
  • I’m not looking forward to the pain
  • I’m worried about the pain being worse after the surgery & I can barely control what I have now. I will talk to the surgeon but the next time I see him will be for surgery & I don’t want to get a shock if he days he wont help out in the pain department.
  • I have pain meds and am wondering how soon to start taking them
  • If I am on pain medication now, will I get adequate pain control after surgery or has my body built up a tolerance?

Nausea/Vomiting

  • What should I ask for? Did you get nauseated after surgery?
  • Thanks! If I don’t eat anything for a long time the night before / after the surgery, am I less likely to vomit?
  • The last bit of food/water I was allowed to eat before surgery was puked up 4x because I am so nervous, now nothing is in my stomach.

Anaesthesia

  • Were you given anything to relax you before you were put out? I am particularly nervous about being put under
  • I will have a nerve block when I leave but am wondering what kind of pain to expect
  • For anyone that has had IV sedation can you tell me how long it was before they let you go home
  • I’m so anxious about the sedation I haven’t slept at all in over a week
  • I’m getting surgery and they are not going to put me to sleep, instead give me sedation… A “twilight sleep” is what they call it. What will that feel like? Does it feel good? Will I be aware of what’s going on, because if so I will freak out!
  • I heard that they give you an IV first and you’re already kind of out of it by the time they give you the gas
  • The nurse said she would try and get the doctors to do my IV after I’m asleep & give me medicine to calm me down before surgery. I am so scared of the operation room & what if the medicine doesn’t calm me down?

Embarrassment

  • I’ve had no bowel movements and when urinating, it is an interrupted stream and burns a little. I am thinking a bladder infection but also wondering if maybe this was common after having the gallbladder out.
  • Would you have to tell them? I guess you would, but sometimes you cant wear anything in surgery, so you couldnt wear undies to hold a pad and I’m guessing that a tampon is a no no since you probably wouldnt be able to change it for a while sooo just curious!? Anyone had surgery while having thier period and what happened?
  • I’m super nervous, and whenever i go to the bathroom and do a ‘number 2’ it’s runny. this happens when i am nervous, what do i do if i go to the bathroom and it’s still like that before surgery ? or is the fasting from midnight, going to empty my stomach?? will they cancel my surgery if i tell them, i really need this surgery, now. should i try the water diet the day before surgery

Other

  • What should I bring? Slippers? Music?
  • No one is allowed to stay overnight with me
  • If I completely stop smoking now will my body heal enough for the surgery
  • Would you all mind sharing your surgery day stories with me? From the time you got to the hospital/surgery center until you left what happened
  • Do they automatically give you something for post surgery nausea and vomiting?
  • Those of you who had surgery later in the day, how did you handle the not drinking anything for so long
  • Im terrified of having to go in recovery room??? Doesnt that sound stupid Did you wake right up
  • My Dr said I will probably sleep through the procedure and then wake up when shes done and then they might check my vitals signs once before letting me go
  • Can stress cause you to not heal properly? I recently had surgery and i am not healing!!
  • My first time; I am 16 yrs old. What happens when i get to the hospital? Before surgery? After surgery?
  • What is it like and the hospital stay like and being put to sleep feel like?
  • What does it feel like to be put to sleep and is the doctors nice having surgery
  • Thing is I have NEVER even been in a hospital to get stitches. I have never gotten an IV or ANYTHING. I am nervous! What should I expect? How long will it take to heal? Will I be on crutches? Will I feel nauseous? I am just really nervous
  • Also how you are not allowed to eat/drink before surgery what if your mouth is producing excess saliva and u swallow it?
  • Any advise on making myself comfortable or anything that worked for you will be a great help

Complications/Death

  • Should I prepare my will (OK, I’m halfway kidding–but the thought has crossed my mind.)
  • I’m even praying, telling my family sorry for everything I ever did and that I love them
  • I’m worried about it going badly
  • I keep thinking of all the bad things, like complications or even dying
  • People like die when they’re put under
  • I’m even having panic attacks because I’m thinking I wont wake up or die on the table