I still remember my visit with my surgeon. I actually scheduled surgery 3 weeks later, but that will be your call. I remember looking online for questions to ask the surgeon, and it was helpful to have a printed list with me. I always seem to forget what to ask if I don't write down the questions!
Here is a copy of that resource (I found it at this URL: http://forums.heartburn-help.com/showthread.php?2095-Questions-to-Ask-Your-Surgeon-(Thistle-s-List)):
What is your background? How many fundos do you do in a month? open or lap? How many total Nissens have you done?
What interested you about this type of surgery?
Can you please explain why you believe I need a fundo. (Break this into several questions, if need be, such as, Can you please explain why you think my diaphragm needs repairing during the fundo.)
Will you do a whole wrap (lap Nissen) or half wrap (lap Toupet)? Why?
What muscles will be affected? How will that affect my mobility afterward? And for how long?
What is the biggest risk I'll take in having this surgery?
What is the hardest part of the surgery, for you?
What might cause my fundo to fail? What are the chances that this will happen?
How often do you have this (whatever the failure is) happen? (HOPE the response to this is a tiny fraction of the whole, "because I do a good job of assessing up front whether this is an appropriate solution.")
Do I need any other tests before the operation? (Often you'll need a chest x-ray and blood test right before.)
When will I meet the anesthesiologist? (And who will he/she be?)
What drugs will I receive? (This should include pain meds, not just whatever your anesthesiologist gives you.)
Who else will be in the OR? (VERY important if you'll be in a teaching hospital. Also, it's good to know what sort of nursing crew they allow.)
What other doctors will see me at the hospital, besides you and the anesthesiologist? (Again, especially important if you'll be in a teaching hospital.)
How long does the surgery take? about how long will I be in the recovery room?
Can you give me post-op diet guidelines?
When will I be able to sleep on a level bed?
What medications do I need to stop taken? When? (At this point I whipped out a spreadsheet showing everything I took, from daily vitamin to PPI with doses, frequency, and reason for using)
When can I resume taking the meds (assuming you're told to stop them, of course)? Be SURE you are clear that you should stop using your PPI! It should NOT be needed post-fundo.
When will I need to return for follow-up appointments after surgery? Can I schedule them now?
What might cause you to give me an open, even though we're planning on a lap?
Show me where the incisions will be (both for lap and open).
How many stitches will you put in my diaphragm? (Even if you don't have a hiatal hernia, you might get some, so it's worth asking.)
What should I do if I have problems after I'm released from the hospital? (Try to get a fix on what is urgent and what is not and whether you can reach your surgeon easily, especially outside of office hours.)
Check whether your surgeon will be at work for the 4-6 weeks following your surgery. If vacation or holiday time-off is coming up, you need to know that so that you can then ask who will be available for back-up and what their credentials are.
Is there anything else I should know that I've not already asked about? (This is an attempt to be sure that your surgeon isn't "forgetting" to mention something to you. Not to brag, but in my case, my surgeon said, "Gosh, I've never had a patient who asked such good questions! You are really thorough," when I asked this one.
If I have more questions, how can I contact you? (If the surgeon is NOT receptive to this, you've got the wrong person!)
Finally, include questions re: related health issues you might have -- from a bum knee and the abuse it might take during this to diabetes or whatever. You don't want to emerge from this experience in worse shape on another front!
Good luck with your appointment!
Let us know how it goes...
Words of wisdom by Eckhart Tolle:
"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”
“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”
“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”