Recovery room (Post Anesthesia Care Unit or PACU)
When your surgery is done, the anesthesiologist will wake you up. When you are breathing on your own, you will go to the recovery room. Most people stay there 1 to 2 hours.
When the care team decides it is safe, you will go to your inpatient room.
Inpatient unit after surgery
Your room will likely be on 2 Roy J. Carver (Elevator F, Level 2). Most rooms are private. We cannot guarantee you will have a private room though. You may have to share a room.
When you are in your room:
- The nurses will greet you. They will help you move into your bed.
- You may have a small tube in your bladder called a Foley catheter. This measures how much urine you make.
- You will have an IV in your arm to give you fluid.
- The care team will take your temperature, pulse, and blood pressure.
After you are settled, the care team will get your family.
While you are on the inpatient unit, you will:
- You may need insulin to lower your blood sugar. This may happen even if you do not have diabetes. Blood sugars can be high after surgery. This is due to your body’s stress response. It needs to be treated to lower your risk of infection.
- You will get a blood thinner shot each day. This helps prevent blood clots.
- You will use an incentive spirometer. This helps you breathe deeply and keep your lungs open. Use it 10 times an hour when you are awake.
- Most of your home medicines will be restarted.
- You will get out of bed 1 to 2 times the day of surgery. The nursing staff will help.
Eating and Drinking
You will get to drink clear liquids the day of your surgery. Most people can have a normal diet the day after surgery. There are a few exceptions:
- Do not use a straw or drink carbonated liquids until you pass gas.
- Starting right after surgery and for the next 2 weeks, do not eat:
- Beans and peas
- Corn and popcorn
- Green leaves
- Raw fruits/vegetables (soft and cooked are fine)
- Skins of fruits and vegetables
Your care team will get you up to walk and sit in your chair. Your goal is to do this 4 to 6 times each day. This helps prevent pneumonia, blood clots, and pressure sores. It also helps your bowel to start making gas and stool.
Comfort control after surgery
Pain is normal after surgery. People have different amounts of pain. The surgery team will do their best to keep you comfortable. You will get pain medicine in your IV and by mouth. The pain medicine will not take away all your pain. You should be able to take deep breaths, walk, take naps, talk with family, and watch TV. If you cannot do those things, tell your care team.
You may be given Tylenol® on a regular schedule while in the hospital. It does not have many side effects. It lessens the amount of narcotic pain medicine you need. It is important you take it as scheduled.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID)
These are medicines, such as Ibuprofen®, Celecoxib®, or Toradol® (an IV medicine). They work a little differently than Tylenol®. This is why they work well together. They also lessen the amount of narcotic pain medicine you need. They have a few more side effects. So, your care team will decide if they are right for you.
Comfort control after surgery
These are medicines like morphine, Dilaudid®, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. They come in IV and pill form. They work different than Tylenol and NSAIDs.
They have more side effects. They are often needed the first few days to 2 weeks after surgery though. They can:
- Make you dizzy
- Make you confused
- Put you at a higher risk of falling
- Slow down how quickly you pass gas and stool
Your care team will make sure your doses are safe. They do this based on your age and other medical conditions. It is best to not take narcotics if you are able to rest, take deep breaths, walk, visit with family and friends, watch TV, and have mild to moderate pain.
There are ways to cope with pain other than taking medicine. Try:
- Changing your position
- A heat or cold pack
- Listening to music