After a Radical Prostatectomy

/After a Radical Prostatectomy
After a Radical Prostatectomy 2017-10-19T10:44:30+00:00

“A Guide for Navigating the First Few Weeks After a Radical Prostatectomy,” by David Sietsema

The days leading up to surgery were fearful for me. I had never had surgery and did not know what to expect. At my hospital, I arrived 2 hours before the surgery. They took blood samples to match against the blood I had donated, ran a short EKG and did a chest x-ray. Then I went back to surgery, where they inserted an IV. The surgeon, anesthesiologist and O.R. nurse all stopped in to see me. I took all my clothes off and donned a hospital gown. After a few minutes, I was wheeled into the O.R. I climbed up on the table myself and lay down. A Guide for Navigating the First Few Weeks After a Radical Prostatectomy by David Sietsema

My prostate cancer was diagnosed at age 48, two years before recommend PSA screening takes place. I had no symptoms other than an elevated PSA and I can only credit its early discovery to an astute and conservative family doctor.

Had he not performed a PSA test, my cancer might have advanced to a more dangerous level before it was discovered. Enough about me. My purpose in writing this guide is to provide specific information to assist post surgical patients during the first few weeks after surgery. I had read a number of books on prostate cancer and did not find any specific discussion of this critical time when questions often arise that needs to be answered quickly.

This guide is only semi-organized with some general headings. I am sure you will find it useful.

Hospital Care and Surgery.

Here is a plea to all family members: Please do not leave your loved one alone in the hospital. I’m not trying to question the quality of care. Mine was very good. But, no matter how good the nursing staff is, they can’t spend all their time with one patient.
Family members need to be there to support their loved one emotionally and to fill in the gaps where the nursing staff is overworked. If you have enough family members, take turns. Spend the night with them, if at all possible, especially the first couple of nights after surgery. My wife spent the first two nights with me and it was of great benefit. The third night, she was home with the flu.

The days leading up to surgery were fearful for me. I had never had surgery and did not know what to expect. At my hospital, I arrived 2 hours before the surgery. They took blood samples to match against the blood I had donated, ran a short EKG and did a chest x-ray. Then I went back to surgery, where they inserted an IV. The surgeon, anesthesiologist and O.R. nurse all stopped in to see me. I took all my clothes off and donned a hospital gown. After a few minutes, I was wheeled into the O.R. I climbed up on the table myself and lay down. That’s the last thing I remember.

Waking up from Surgery.

I do not really remember waking up. I know that I had had a breathing tube but I was never aware of it while it was in me and I never felt any ill effects from it such as a scratchy throat.

I do not really remember being in the recovery room although there may be a couple of faint recollections there. My first real memory of waking up was being in the hospital room with my wife, daughter and father watching over me. I was not hurting and slowly became aware of my body’s physical situation.

I was not in any significant pain. I had support stockings on my legs and on top of these, some air operated devices that were inflating and deflating around my legs to prevent clots from forming. They were removed later in the day but the stockings were kept on for a week.

There was an active IV stick in my hand. It was the same one that was put in before surgery. They were using it to feed me saline, antibiotics, pain killer and anti-nausea medications. I did not experience much nausea but when I did, they had medications that were very effective.