I am slightly amused and slightly annoyed today about preparations for my upcoming (4th) breast reconstruction surgery. I love my plastic surgeon, I love his nurse, the staff is kind enough, and I feel lucky to be heading into a hospital with a reputation for excellence. HOWEVER, how can it be that this is my 4th reconstructive surgery, and EACH time I have been given different pre-and post-surgical instruction sheets?
I assumed - 4 similar surgeries involving reconstruction of the breasts, one set of directions. After all, the surgeon is working in the same area, doing similar things - preparing the pocket for the expanders and inserting them (surgery #1), removing an expander after it was infected and flushing the pocket (surgery #2), inserting the expander again after chemo (surgery #3) and last, exchanging the tissue expanders for actual implants (surgery I am having in one week). I'm having the same anesthesia (have to avoid the same things to prepare), recovering the same way, going to the same hospital, etc. Yet each time the information packets I receive (if I have received any) have held (or not held) different information.
The last packet of information/instructions has been the most comprehensive and informative yet. I APPRECIATE this, but am so annoyed that I did not get this same information before procedures 1-3. We aren't talking about a long period of time between surgeries, in which this information might have changed...my first reconstructive surgery (and bilateral mastectomy) was less than 10 months ago! (AND, before that surgery, I received NO information.)
I didn't go into the first surgery (bilateral mastectomy and immediate reconstruction) with no information at all; I asked many questions and thoroughly did my own research so that I felt really prepared. By the second surgery, when I did receive information, I was totally flummoxed: why hadn't I received this the first time? Surgery #3 didn't help solve that mystery - again, not much information. And now, with this HUGE packet of information (all stuff I could have written myself, as an expert by now), I'm just annoyed. Come on, people, organize yourselves!
Maybe I should become the office manager...it's got to be confusing for the staff to have at least 3 separate kinds of information to hand out for such similar procedures. Imagine...if they have 3 separate kinds of information to hand out for breast reconstructive surgery, how many must they have for all of the other surgeries they perform? To navigate that sea of hand-outs would require a compass and map.