Finally, the time has arrived for you to have your surgery. You have made many changes and sacrifices in preparation for this big day. The staff at Elias Ortiz and Company (E.O.C.) recognize this, and we strive to make this experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
Day Before Surgery
Our drivers have your travel itinerary, so they know when you are arriving in San Diego. They will call or text you to confirm pick-up times and location. Once you are picked up by our fantastic drivers, you will be taken directly to the hospital for routine pre-surgery lab work and an EKG. There may also be some paperwork for to you sign. This should only take about an hour.
After the hospital visit, you will be taken to the Lucerna Hotel. The Lucerna Hotel is a beautiful 5-star facility with a pool, room service, and friendly staff. There are many amenities within walking distance for patients and their companions. Each patient is entitled to have 3 broths, 3 juices, and 3 popsicles, complements of E.O.C. Remember, nothing by mouth after midnight! The E.O.C. staff will give you instructions as to when your pick-up time will be. Some will be early, while others can arrive to the hospital a bit later.
Morning of Surgery
At the hospital, you will get to meet our awesome hospital staff and patient advocates. They are there to assist you and make sure that you get to the correct places for signing more paperwork and consent forms. They will also show you to your room, give you a bariatric gown, a hair cap, apply compression wraps to your legs and get an IV started. While here, you can rest, read, watch TV, email, text, and use the private bathroom. Take time to pause and reflect on all the amazing things that you made happen to get to this point and the wonderful outcomes and benefits to your health that are coming your way very soon.
While You Are Waiting
A doctor that is part of the E.O.C. team will come to see you and complete a physical exam – nothing too invasive. He will discuss your medications and allergies, listen to your heart and lungs, and address any concerns you may have. This is a good time to discuss the medications you take and decide on a plan for after surgery, regarding how and when to restart them. Please do not take any medications while you are admitted to the hospital without specific approval from the doctors of E.O.C.
Doctor Pre-Surgery Visit
Your surgeon will visit you and introduce himself. He will discuss the surgery process and address any concerns you may have at this point. Feel free to ask him any questions. Make sure to address any allergies and other health issues that may be important to you. Once that visit is finished, in a short time, a team member will come and assist you in getting ready and transport you to the surgery area. There you will meet the anesthesiologist and have a few moments to talk with him or her. The whole process may take an hour or an hour and a half, depending on the procedure you are having done.
You will be observed in the post-surgery area by several specially trained nurses. The surgeon will always be close by. You will be there for approximately 1 to 2 hours, then transported to your room. Most people sleep for about four hours after surgery. The first night can be the toughest, but it is manageable and gets much better by the next day. Do not smoke. Smoking can cause a serious lung infection and hinder healing.
Once you wake up, the nurses will:
- Instruct you to walk when you are ready. This helps to wake you up, get the anesthesia from your system, and prevent blood clots from forming. You cannot be too sleepy during this, as we do not want you to fall.
- Help you use the restroom.
- Follow post-op dietary instructions. You can have nothing to drink until after your leak test the next day is completed.
- Manage your pain with medications. The nurses will be administering medications for pain control, nausea, acids, to help you to wake up, etc.
- Monitor your IV bags.
The Next Day
The day following surgery is a busy day. We want you to walk, chat, move around, and rest when you can. You will be taken for a leak test. You will be asked to drink a small cup of a liquid medium called Contrast, then you will have a fluoroscope completed to check for leaks. You will simply stand in front of a screen. It is a quick and easy process.
Once the test is completed, the results will be sent to a doctor for review, and you will be given some ice chips and liquids, such as apple juice and/or Gatorade.
Later in the day, the surgeon’s assistants will come to talk with you and remove your drain tubes, if it is acceptable to do so. If you had bypass, you may have the drain tube for one day longer.
Someone from the E.O.C. staff will come to talk with you and let you know the process for discharging from the hospital. The staff member will remove the IV from your arm. You will then be able to shower, and afterward, the staff member will change your bandages and you can dress in your own clothes.
If you need assistance to do this, please ask; but you should be able to shower and get dressed on your own at this point. All this takes place early in the morning.
Returning to the Lucerna Hotel
Once you return to the Lucerna Hotel, the staff will get you checked in and escort you to your room. The drivers will bring your luggage in for you. You can now rest, watch TV, and/or sit by the pool.
Make sure to get instructions for contacting the nurses. Dialing 1-711 will connect you directly to the E.O.C. office. After 9:00pm, you will need to call the receptionist, who will contact the nurses for you.
The E.O.C. nurses will change your wound dressing as many times as you need, but it is a good idea to take over this task as soon as you can, because they will not be going back home with you.
The office staff will inform you of any aftercare meetings with the doctors, how the checkout process works, and how to schedule the ride back to San Diego in a few days. Have fun, relax, and make new friends. The E.O.C. staff is here to assist you in any way we can.