When you start to wake up, you may feel yourself coughing or have a choking feeling. This feeling will pass, and the nurses will be on hand to help you relax.
While you are still intubated (on the respirator), your healthcare team will have you sit up in the bed. You may hear machines pumping and beeping. These alarms and monitors help the nurses and doctors know how awake you are. The tube that is attached to the respirator will be removed when you are wide awake. This can occur anywhere from six to 24 hours following surgery. The doctors and nurses will ask you to squeeze their hands and lift your head off the pillow. This tells us that you can now handle breathing on your own.
Many times restraints are used for safety reasons. You can imagine that a first response upon waking would be to pull at the tube in your throat. Restraints prevent this from occurring.
Once the tube comes out, you will probably be thirsty. You can ask the nurse to wet your lips. You will not be allowed to have a drink right away, but you will over time. You may also have a sore throat or a loss of voice. These were caused by the breathing tube and are only temporary.
Now you can finally fall asleep breathing fully on your own.
In order to prevent lung complications and help you clear your lungs you will receive chest physical therapy. This consists of percussion or clapping on your back followed by deep breathing and coughing. This will be done by your nurse and physical therapist.
It is important at this time to frequently use, and continue use at home, the incentive spirometer, a device that will measure your progress in taking deep breaths. You will continue to use the incentive spirometer throughout your hospital stay.
While recovery time varies from person to person, most patients are able to breathe on their own the first day after surgery. At the time the breathing tube is removed, you will be able to drink sips of liquids.
When you start to wake up, you may feel yourself coughing or have a
choking feeling. This feeling will pass, and the nurses will be on
hand to help you relax. While you are still intubated (on the
respirator), your healthcare team will have you sit... More