Last week I had my pre-op assessment at the hospital where I will have my surgery. The nurses who did my assessment were very knowledgeable and reassuring. The assessment involved a range of tests including MRSA swabs, EKG (electrocardiogram to check the electrical activity in your heart), blood pressure, urine test, blood test, height and weight measurements. Nothing to fear in any of these, although I confess that my first thought when I got the letter for the appointment was, how much weight can I reasonably lose before I have to get on the official scales!
It was good to have an opportunity to ask questions about the surgery, and I was given a contact number if I wanted to ask any further questions.
I was also given a pack of information and some questionnaires to complete about my home environment so that any post-operation aids that I might need could be identified.
I was interested to receive a leaflet on bone donation as no one had mentioned that to me previously. I had no idea that my dodgy hip could potentially be useful to someone else or might be useful in research. I will be giving my consent for my bone to be donated. Maybe something good will come to someone else as a result of my surgery.
I was pleased to be asked to consent to have details of my operation stored within the NJR dataset. After the nurse explained the form to me and asked if I would be willing to consent, I told her that I am a patient representative for the NJR and how pleased I was to see that the consent form is explained to all patients.
One thing I found quite odd was that my pre-op assessment was scheduled nearly 10 weeks in advance of my surgery date. I know from previous experience that MRSA swabs have to be tested within 6 weeks of any procedure – I had to go for three separate tests last year before I was given a cortisone injection in my hip because of this 6 week rule. After I shoved the cotton bud up my nose, I asked the nurse about the 6 week rule and whether I would have to travel back to the hospital which is 25 miles from home to repeat the test. Her reply was yes.
When I mentioned that I thought it was really wasteful of NHS resources to conduct a test that would just have to be repeated (not to mention the inconvenience for me), I received a world-weary shrug. It must be very difficult for front-line staff who have to cope with these contradictions during a time of such financial pressure within the NHS.