UPDATE: Please note the following is advice from a patient who saw Dr. Davis in New Jersey. His practice has since moved to Tennesse, so some of the details will be different! Check the Abbyloopers.org discussion board and the Abbyloopers FB page for more up to date information!
- Philadelphia is the closest airport to Dr. Davis, much closer than New York or Newark.
- There are not many public transportation options in this area so it’s best to have a car. If you do not have a car you will probably need to arrange for a cab.
- Driving around New Jersey can be interesting if you have never done it before. You cannot make left turns in most of New Jersey; you have to make a right to go left. This seems counterintuitive but once you figure it out you will be fine. I highly recommend a GPS or using your smart phone’s navigation system for getting around.
- If you are meeting with Dr. Davis at the Our Lady of Lourdes Ambulatory Center, be prepared for a couple of things.
- First, the office is not in the best area of NJ. Try to eat and fill up on gas well before your appointment in another part of town because there is not much around there.
- Second, the office is in a very busy free clinic. It is a bit of a mad house, it’s a little confusing and overwhelming. There are pregnant ladies all over the place, as well as children of all ages. Follow Dr. Davis’s directions about where to go and check in. Ask the person at the front desk if you are signing in at the correct window. Keep in mind this is not where the surgery will take place.
Day of Surgery:
- Parking is free at the hospital.
- The hospital is very small and finding your way the day of surgery is very straightforward.
- Your husband will be able to stay in the room with you over night. There is a small chair that turns into a bed that my husband said was very uncomfortable, but it is better to have him with you then be alone all night.
- When you are ready to leave the hospital, one of the nurses or porters will wheel you down while your husband gets the car. I had no issues walking around at that point or getting into the car.
- I went home the day after surgery.
- You MUST get the prescription pain medication filled in New Jersey. Do this before driving home or going to the airport. Tell the nurse you need to get it filled before you go home and they will help you to do this. The pharmacy that you will use is very close to the hospital.
- I do not have info on flying as I drove home. All of the instructions for Dr. Haney would apply for flying after surgery with Dr. Davis.
- I had a three hour drive home. I was comfortable enough to sit in the front seat. I had the hospital provided pillow on hand for bumps, I wore the abdominal binder provided by Dr. Davis, and I also had an ice pack.
- From what I can tell the best hotel in the area is the Hampton Inn, Turnersville, NJ. Ask for a special rate for the hospital. If you have a Hilton Honors membership, see if you can book a better deal through the Honors website. If you will be staying at the hotel after surgery then I would ask for a handicapped accessible room as they have bars for grabbing hold of in the bathroom.
- There are some restaurants within walking distance of that hotel. I highly recommend an ice cream sundae from Friendly’s, right next to the hospital! Dr. Davis also likes to give restaurant recommendations, take his advice. New Jersey is somewhat known for their Diners. If you like Diner food, you are in luck!!
Read Kathryn’s section on this.
Supplies to take and purchase:
A lot of this information is the same no matter which doctor is doing your surgery so I have just listed the things that are different for Dr. Davis. Also read the list for Dr. Haney for the things I have left out.
- Daily prescription medication. While in the hospital, you MUST have these in the prescription bottles if you want to take your own medications. They will send them to the lab to be verified in order for you to take them. The alternative is that they give you your meds from their pharmacy. They don’t necessarily have the non-generic. For me this was an issue because I take thyroid medication and cannot have the generic version. MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR MEDICAITON BACK from the pharmacy if they take it. I didn’t and then had to wait 5 days to get it back as well as make frantic calls to my home doctor for a week long medication refill.
- Kennedy hospital provides you will lovely post-op mesh underwear. I love the stuff but others may disagree. If you are not keen on them then bring comfortable underwear, as Kathryn mentioned, granny panties!
- Kennedy hospital provides you with a cute little travel pillow but is the hardest pillow on the face of the earth. I would prefer a softer pillow and if you do too you may want to pack your own. If you forget, don’t worry about, the one they provide is adequate. I used it.
- The Hospital will provide maxi pads if needed, but remember, hospital maxi pads are terrible so if you want bring you own, do so. I was lucky enough to get my period the day of surgery! Yay me!
- Dr. Davis will put an abdominal binder on you after surgery; do not buy your own.
- Snacks. The hospital has a pretty good cafeteria but it isn’t open late and might not be open when your husband is hungry so bring some snacks just in case.
I second all the body prep stuff Kathryn listed – it is the same no matter which doctor you see.
Everything else that Kathryn mentions in her section on Meds is the same for Dr. Davis.
I do want to mention I used the morphine pump and the Percocet. I was in a great deal of pain the day and night of surgery and was glad to have these to help me manage my pain. I didn’t need the Percocet after two days.
Arriving for Surgery – what to expect:
- When you arrive at the hospital, proceed to the same day surgery waiting room and sign-in.
- The person at the front desk will give you forms to fill out. Once you hand them back you will wait for them to call your name and bring you back to the pre- and post- surgery area.
- A nurse will be assigned to you and will take you to a small curtained area in the pre- and post-surgery area. Here you will change into your gown and put your clothes and whatever else you have into a nice reusable bag (I now use the bag for groceries).
- There are lots of people in this area both waiting for various surgeries and coming out of various surgeries.
- The nurse will send you into the bathroom to pee in a cup to make sure you are not pregnant, take your blood, and ask a lot of questions.
- You will meet one or more various other people involved in your surgery who will also ask you a lot of questions. (I think I met 4 anesthesiologists, all asked me the same questions and all asked me to open my mouth and stick out my tongue).
- The anesthesiologist will give you the different options for surgery- spinal or general anesthesia and tell you how each one will be done.
- The nurse will give you an IV.
- I second Kathryn in saying that if you know you get nauseous from anesthesia tell them ahead of time. I did not and I got sick after surgery. They gave me zofran a few times and something else but it actually didn’t help. Nothing did except for throwing up. L
- Dr. Davis will talk to you at some point in between all the questions. He will ask how you are and if you have any more questions. He is very reassuring.
- Your husband will be brought back before surgery and you can talk with him until they finally are ready to take you back to the operating room. My husband made a lot of jokes and tried to calm me down.
- Lastly, they will bring a stretcher in for you wheel you into the operating room
- If you are having general anesthesia, once in the operating room they will give you something in your IV and tell you it may sting but you will get sleepy. I don’t remember anything after that, I was out cold in milliseconds.
Post-Surgery (In Hospital):
- When you are finished with surgery you will be brought back to the pre- and post-surgery area. If you had general anesthesia, this is where you will wake up.
- When I woke up I found it to be very loud and confusing. I was very nauseous also. The nurses gave me something for my nausea and then shortly after, my husband arrived to be next to me.
- I think I was in the recovery area for about 30 minutes before they wheeled me to my hospital room.
- Once in the room they moved me to my bed by lifting the things I was laying on up and moving me over.
- You will have a catheter in as well as the IV and morphine pump. You can press the pump every 8 minutes. I thought for some reason it was ever 30 minutes so I was not pressing it much and I was in pain as a result. Everyone has a different pain tolerance. Don’t feel bad if yours is low.
- I was still very out of it after getting to my room. I think I hit the morphine pump and went back to sleep. I did that again and again for at least a few hours.
- After waking up fully I was given water and ginger ale. I was not allowed to eat because of my nausea but you may be able to.
- The nurses will go over some things with you once you are more conscious. One thing they will do is give you a breathing device that you will need to use for about 10 minutes every hour. This is to help get all the gas out of your lungs and fresh air in, so that you do not get Pneumonia. As Kathryn mentions, this is really difficult at first but it gets easier. I was not doing it enough and my husband then started making me do it more. By the time I left the hospital I was breathing pretty well.
- Nurses do not let you sleep in hospitals. Someone will come and check on you every couple of hours all night long. They will take your blood pressure and take your temperature. They take your temperature with a really cool, star trek looking wand that they rub across your forehead.
- I was running a high temperature after surgery. Nobody seemed concerned at all. It eventually went down the next morning.
- The next morning they will bring you breakfast. Eat. Make yourself if you have to. I ate dry cereal and a piece of toast. I will still incredibly nauseous but after I ate I went from feeling terrible to feeling really good in a matter of about 30 minutes.
- After breakfast the nurse will come in and tell you that you have to get moving. They will remove your catheter and then you will be able to go to the bathroom on your own when you are ready.
- Once you are ready to attempt the bathroom the nurse will come in and help you sit on the edge of the bed, then stand up, and walk to the bathroom. This was very challenging at first, but once vertical I found it became easy to adjust. The nurse helped me to the bathroom and then after the bathroom helped me into the awesome mesh underwear.
- After returning from the bathroom, I sat in a chair rather than get back into the bed. Some people may choose to keep moving around at this point.
- Dr. Davis will come to your room at some point to see how you are doing. He will arrange for you to be brought up to the perinatology office and he will do an ultrasound of the TAC and your cervix. He will give you pictures to take with you and fax or send some to your home OBGyn along with info on the surgery he performed. To be honest, I felt a little strange sitting in his office at his desk in my hospital gown while he filled out paperwork for my OB. Good thing the office was empty as it was the weekend! Just sit back and admire his diet coke can collection.
- After you are done with Dr. Davis you are pretty much done. I was feeling really good at this point and ready to just get home. We told the nurses we were ready to leave and they started the discharge process.
- Dr. Davis gave us the instructions on when to take out the staples and he gave us the tool that is used to remove them. This is for your OB, but, I had already inquired about taking them out myself. He said he isn’t allowed to tell me to do that but whatever I do at home was my own business. (I took the staples out myself on the designated day- it took one minute and did not hurt at all)
- The nurse will help you get your prescription pain meds faxed to the pharmacy, give you discharge instructions, and once ready, will get you down to the front door.
- Make sure you have EVERYTHING you need. That includes any medication you brought with you, the pillow they give you (if you want it), the breathing devise (if you still need it), and the bag with your clothes from the day before.
Post-surgery (hotel or home):
Everything that Kathryn has said in this section is the same for Dr. Davis with the exception of caring for the incision.
- Dr. Davis uses staples for the traditional lap tac. I was not thrilled about this but it is how it is. You do not need to do anything with the incision area except be careful of it and clean it while in the shower. I just let the water run over it and then as it healed I started cleaning it with soapy water.
- After about 3-4 days you will be able to have the staples removed. Dr. Davis suggests going to you OB to have them removed. As I mentioned previously I just did it myself. I did not want to pay a $15 co-pay for a one minute visit. I used to be a first responder, these things don’t tend to gross me out or bother me. Have your OB remove them if you don’t want to.