Pre-surgery assessment

Blood pressureAlthough I have still to get a date for my surgery, I was booked in for a series of pre-surgical assessments yesterday and spent an interesting 75 minutes at Leeds General Infirmary having my fitness for surgery assessed. One of the most impressive features was the efficiency – having been asked to reserve 2 to 3 hours, to find that it only took 75 minutes was a delight.

So what was involved:

Filling in yet more medical screening forms, with many questions that are already on my record. Isn’t it about time that basic data (e.g. my GP’s details) are collected once only?

Given a bunch of information leaflets about MRSA (after I had been swabbed to see if I was a carrier – nostrils, armpits, groin), infection control, and a host of other stuff that proved interesting reading.

Weight, height – unsurprisingly they had not changed very much since the last four times they had been measured over the last month.

ElectroCardioGram – it took longer to attach the half dozen sensors to various parts of my chest and ankle than it did to actually record the scan! Incidentally, on the way down the corridor to the ECG I noticed a new name on my yellow ECG request form (Dr Phillipson) – on checking it seems that this is only for ‘internal charging’ purposes, nonethless it might help to get it right!

Blood tests – of course. Although I do wish they would volunteer to me what they are testing for. On this occasion I forgot to ask and unless I get a copy of any letter to my GP about them (despite asking this I have not been consistently sent copies – again it seems as if there is no central record that they can mark to make sure this happens). The trainee nurse who sat me down was slightly surprised when i presented my right hand with a vein already prominent, “Oh, I have not been trained to take blood from hands”. Still she went next door and brought in the ‘supervisor’ who took 4 blood samples painlessly and speedily.

Detailed interview with nurse checking my answers to the screening questions. All straightforward apart from some slight concern about elevated blood pressure (so that will be checked over the next 2 weeks to see if anything needs doing in the short term) and possible sleep apnoea (I snore and my wife reports that occasionally I stop breathing but always recover on my own) which will be monitored by my GP with a blood oxygen monitor. The apnoea is not a direct threat to surgery, if I suffer (and all the evidence is that I do not) then I will be scheduled for a High Dependency Unit bed post-operatively. It seems that if I do suffer SA then I will need a separate referral by my GPto the SA team. Off to make an appointment, over the internet, with my GP; this will be the first time i have seen him since diagnosis 14 weeks ago!

 So a straightforward visit really, handled admirably by a series of nurses most of whom introduced themselves by name and were very empathic. I just wish that I could get a date for the operation, or at least a ‘not before’ date, so that I can organise a jolliday without risk of having to cancel.

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