I wanted to add some details about what surgery day was like so that folks have more ideas what to expect. I am a researcher by trade and by nature and I always like to have as much information as possible.
As I mentioned, I didn't have a pre-op with my surgeon. My primary care doctor handled the surgery clearance and the bloodwork. I love my doc and she is the one who really encouraged me to get the surgery and recommended my surgeon. So I was happy to have the chance to check in with her. I was a little concerned about not getting enough "face time" with my surgeon to make sure I didn't end up the wrong size, too big, too small, etc, but he was very thorough the day of surgery so that ended up being fine. There was some confusion/misinformation about the fact that I was staying overnight...perhaps that could have been avoided.
Day of surgery, I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of each step of the process, but I wasn't nervous or anxious at all. I knew I was in good hands. I got checked in with the registration desk, and went to the surgery center. There I got a wristband, and waited. A nurse finally came and called me and made me state my name and birthdate. That would be repeated over and over again...they definitely have processes in place to avoid medical mistakes! We went (my hubby still was with me) to what I can only describe as the surgery launchpad area. Lots of little cubicles, filled with waiting patients.
There, I met with a variety of nurses, all of whom checked my wristband and made me state my name and birthday. They checked my medical history, made me repeat any medications I was currently taking, screened me for sleep apnea, and took my medical history again. Eventually the anesthesiologist came by. She was an older lady and was very nice and quite funny. She thoroughly explained the anesthesia process, what drugs she would be using, that I would be given a breathing tube, and every other detail imaginable. She asked several times about my history with GA (limited to having wisdom teeth out 30 years ago) and my family's medical history, and emphasized that whatever combo of drugs she used was designed to help avoid nausea and headache after GA. I also met with an anesthesiology nurse, who covered a lot of the same information, took more medical history, and with another nurse, set up an IV port in my hand.
I also met with the plastic surgeon along with one of his residents, Dr. F. I have a LOT of friends who are doctors and I have a lot of memories of their residency days so I appreciate how much the residents do and how important they are. My surgeon basically repeated the exam he'd given me back at my consult in May or April or whenever it was, did lots of measurements, and then did the drawings. That was sort of awkward and hilarious. It tickled like crazy, and I felt bad that my poor husband had to watch it. Dr. D, the surgeon, answered all my questions and reminded me of all the key details of the procedure, and went on his merry way.
Finally it was getting close to go time. I had been told initially to change out of my clothes into my surgical gown, and that I could leave my undies on at first but would need to take them off eventually. Well, eventually never came...totally forgot to take them off and woke up with them still on. The anesthesiology nurse gave me a shot of something in my IV to "take me to la-la land" so I would already be pretty out of it when they knocked me out. i said "see you later" to my hubby and then they wheeled me down the hall. We stopped to get a surgical cap to put on me...that is when I suddenly, completely, felt woozy and almost drunk...a-ha, this must be la-la land. As we went down the hall to surgery I remember asking "so I am not going to remember any of this?" and the nurses laughed and said "probably not." I have the vaguest memory of the door opening to the surgery room and seeing the gurney/bed/whatever, and somebody pointing to a doughnut-shaped pillow and saying "that's where your head goes" and then...LIGHTS OUT.
Waking up...the first thing I remember is hearing the voices of the nurses. They were sort of arguing about something in their new computer system. it was like waking up from a deep sleep...I even seem to recall I was having a dream of some sort. And honestly, one of my first thoughts was "yay! I didn't die! I'm still alive" Then I heard nurses' voices calling my name and telling me to wake up. They asked about my pain level on a scale of one to ten. I hate that question, pain is relative, I don't have much to compare it to. So I think I said 5 or 6. My nurse, Rhonda, just sat there next to me, asked me a few questions, but mostly I just lay there, in a fog. I was immensely tired, and felt like I wanted to go back to sleep, but wasn't sure if I was supposed to be waking up, or what. Rhonda noted that we were close in age, and we bonded a bit, talking about our favorite hair bands from the 80s and comparing notes on rock concerts we'd been too. She was awesome. The post-surgery ward or whatever it was was loud and bustling...lots of nurses chatting, lots of patients coming and going. I was kind of tucked in a corner and couldn't see much but could hear a lot. I kept watching my blood pressure every time the machine took it, and watching my pulse rate and oxygen level go up and down. It really hurt to move my left arm, the one with the IV in it and the little clamp for my pulse on my finger. I was immensely thirsty. I asked for water constantly and they kept giving me these teeny tiny cups.
One thing that was weird was my left hand developed crazy pins and needles. The nurse said that was probably due to the fact that my arms had been stretched out straight at my side for so long. The IV was also getting uncomfortable.
I was waiting for a bed to open up, since I was staying the night. But eventually Rhonda told me that they were very busy that day and that it was taking a long time for a bed to open up. So I asked if my hubby could come in. He did and I was so happy to see him. It kind of hurt to talk because my mouth was so dry, and I was still so thirsty, so we didn't talk much. Best of all he brought me my iPhone (yes, I am an iPhone addict) so I was able to text my mom and my best friend and a few other people. And do things like check my email and Facebook. I kid you not, I was sending work emails by 4:30 pm after a 1:30 am surgery.
Around 5:30 or 6, Dr. F, the resident, came by to check on me. Dr. D, the surgeon, had talked to my hubby earlier. Dr. F was great, answered all my questions. The first thing I asked him was how many grams. I was shocked how much more they had to take on the left side! He also said they had removed a small fibroadenoma - lump of really dense tissue - which I remembered showing up on my mammogram. He said he was quite certain it was nothing to worry about but that it would be tested/biopsied anyway. He was super nice and very pleasant. I saw him again at my post-op. I chatted with him a little about his residency and what he wanted to do...he said his favorite specialty so far was restorative/reconstructive plastic surgery for kids/pediatrics - I'm sure he'll be excellent at it.
It was about 8:30 pm before I got to move out of that ward. In the meantime I had gotten at least a slightly more comfortable bed and managed to go the bathroom and eat some applesauce. I got to my room and was bummed to find that not only did I have a roommate, but one that liked to watch TV AND who snored.
The pins and needles feeling in my left hand didn't start to subside till around midnight. I had a terrible time getting to sleep with all the noise, which was tough because I was tired!
I met with another resident - who turned out to have the same wedding anniversary as me - in the morning and she got the discharge process started. My hubby and my two wonderful daughters came to pick me up and I was so happy to see them!
Okay, that's enough flashback for now. I hope that is helpful for some of you.