What I Can Do 
Participate.       Communicate.             Cooperate.

Your surgery may be minor, but there is no such thing as minor anesthesia.

The success of your anesthesia experience depends on you yourself -- first of all, on how completely you answer the confidential questions asked of you by your CRNA and other providers.  Be completely forthright and honest about your medical history, your eating habits and the medications you are taking; whether you smoke, drink, take drugs, or have been dieting.  Answer all the questions.  Your safety depends on it.

Be sure you follow your nurse anesthetist's instructions before and after surgery.  This can help make even a minor surgery a major success.

Active participation.  Open Communication.  Cooperation.

    Take the lead.  YOU are the leader of your health care team.

The oldtime conception of healthcare looked like a wagon wheel: doctor at the center or the hub, patients and everyone else arrayed as spokes around the circle.  That's obsolete.  Nowadays it's the patient at the center of matters -- you calling the shots.  Take control, be your own best healthcare advocate.

You're already off to a good start here, actively participating, reading consumer information about anesthesia on the internet.  Patients who shoulder responsibility for themselves will fare far better in the sometimes impersonal world of modern hospitals.  Be active, no mere passive recipient.  Do not make unfounded assumptions about your caregivers.  Ask questions.  Demand complete answers.  Persist.  Do not be rushed.

If you're going to surgery, it is, after all, your life that's on the line.

Before Anesthesia
    Speak frankly.
Medical problems and surgery can be embarassing, intensely private situations.  People naturally tend to clam up.  It is vital to your own well-being that you be fully forthcoming with your surgeon and your anesthetist, answering all questions, disclosing all pertinent information about your physical condition and your medical history.

                Sample Pre-Anesthetic Questionnaire Form

    Again, ask questions.
Speak up and ask whatever questions you may have for your anesthetist--such as: Are you board certified or not?  This can be particularly important.  Be sure you know who you are dealing with.  It's no time to be shy.

    "Are you the person who will actually administer my anesthetic?"

    "Do you stay with me continuously through my anesthetic?"

    Follow all your questions to a satisfactory answer.  Persist.  You are the customer.  Know what you are paying for.

    Follow all preanesthetic instructions.

    Don't cheat and sneak a snack on the way to surgery.  You will regret it.

    Provide your nurse anesthetist with a full and complete medical history during the preanesthetic interview. Hide nothing.  Divulge all the facts.  Don't be embarassed.  Professional healthcare givers are nonjudgemental.

    Notify your nurse anesthetist or doctor immediately of any change in your physical condition prior to surgery, such as a sudden fever, cold, flu symptoms, or significant change in symptoms related to your surgery.

click here for the
Virtual Pre-Anesthetic Interview
After Anesthesia
Written postoperative instructions will be given to you.  Follow the instructions.

For example, for outpatient anesthesia:

Do leave the health care facility accompanied by a responsible adult.
Do remain quietly at home for the day and rest.
Do arrange for someone to care of your small children for the day.
Do take liquids first and gradually progress to a light meal as you see fit.
Do call your nurse anesthetist, your physician, or the facility where you were treated should you have any questions.
Do read and follow all your written instructions.

                                   Don't drive a care for at least 24 hours.
                                   Don't operate complex equipment for at least 24 hours.
                                   Don't make any important life decisions or sign any
                                        legal documents for 24 hours.
                                   Don't take any medications unless prescribed by or
                                        discussed with your physician.
                                   Don't drink alcohol for at least 24 hours.

 For additional information:

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