WAIT! The Virus Changed Things.
We hate it just like you do, but family cannot be with the patients at this time because of the COVID-19 virus issue and social distancing. We used to have the patient’s family with them at all times until they went into the operating room, but that had to change after we opened up for the virus. This is temporary, but for now:
- Family cannot enter the hospital at Tampa General Hospital. They are required to stay in their car, or better yet, go back home or to the hotel. One of the surgeons will call your family member when the operation is over, and the hospital nurses will call them when it is time to come get you. We strongly encourage your family to go home or back to the hotel and the surgeons will call your family after the operation. Do not check out of your hotel in the morning for this reason.
- At Memorial Hospital of Tampa, your family can come into the waiting room but they cannot stay with you when you enter the hospital to meet Dr Norman and Dr Carling. We strongly urge your family to go home or back to the hotel after they drop you off. They can’t stay with you and the waiting room is terribly boring. We will take great care of you and your family should relax at home or in the hotel. Dr Norman or Carling will call them prior and after your operation.
- Children are not allowed in any hospital (national rule during “virus times”).
- Some people come by themselves for parathyroid surgery and that is perfectly fine.
- Bring something to do! You should bring a book to read, or a tablet to play with while you wait since you can’t visit with your family. Bring a phone charging cord also. But please, bring something to keep you from going crazy while you are waiting your turn for surgery.
Do NOT check out of the hotel in the morning.
This is a change with the virus! If you are staying at one of our hotels, DO NOT check out in the morning. Tell the hotel you are having surgery with the Norman Parathyroid Center and ask for a late checkout (they will probably give you until 2:00 or even 3:00 pm). Since your family can’t stay at the hospital with you due to the new virus rules, they can stay at the hotel and have a place to leave their things and a place to relax while waiting for you.
BELOW IS OLD INFORMATION. IGNORE IT
We are leaving it up as a reminder of the good old days that we will get back to very soon!
Bring your family!
Most people bring a family member or two with them to the hospital. Some people come alone and that is just fine. If somebody comes with you, we strongly suggest that they download this app also so they can read about what is happening at all times. It really helps them and keeps them relaxed knowing where you are in the process, what is happening, and what is coming up next.
Family / friends can stay with you
Your family members can be with you throughout almost all of the day. You will leave them for a few minutes at the start of your time with us when you go to get an IV in your wrist/arm and so you can change your clothes. They will be able to sit with you after that and keep you company and participate in all of the discussions with the surgeons / nurses.
You will leave your family again for about 30 minutes when you go for your scan, but they typically will chill in your assigned room watching TV or reading. They do not go to the scanner with you (there isn’t room for them in the scanning room, and there are other patients being scanned as well). We do about 16 or 17 sestamibi scans every day, almost 4000 per year. Nobody is better!
Food for the family
If you are one of the first 6 patients of our day, we typically have your family / friends hang out in your room until you go to the operating room, and then we send them down for breakfast in the cafeteria. If you are patient 7 or later, we typically send your friends/family for breakfast while you get the scan. They have about 30 minutes to eat while you are getting the scan and then they come back up to be with you.
When you go into the operating room (which is located just down the hallway from your pre-op room), we will send your family out to the waiting room or to the cafeteria (which is very nice and right down the elevator from the Parathyroid Center). We also have a Starbucks if they feel a need for some craft java.
Surgeons talk to your family after surgery
Once the operation is over, one of the surgeons will come to the waiting room to find your family and give them your photo and let them know you are doing great. This is typically just over 1 hour after they left you. And then, after you wake up and feel like chatting (usually about 1 hour after the operation is over), you will change into your regular clothes and your family/friends can come back to join you again for the last 30-45 minutes with us. This allows your family to participate in the final visit with the surgeons and be a part of the last instructions we give you.
Before you leave the hospital
At least one of the surgeons will visit with you and your family together before you go. One last point: have your family download this app for themselves. It won’t have a few personalized things that yours does, but they can have access to all of this information and they will be happier knowing what is going on.
What your family should bring
The people coming with you should bring something to keep them occupied. A book, a computer, or somebody else to chat with. They will be with you most of the time, but obviously you have other things to do. Your little room has a TV that they/you can watch (the remote is attached to the long white wire). We have WiFi for everybody (TGHguest) so they can get some work done on a computer.
We will send your family off to the cafeteria while you are getting your operation. The cafeteria is actually quite nice, and is located on the first floor right below the Parathyroid Center (you walked by the cafeteria getting to our elevators). However, we have noticed that some family members / friends bring some snacks along with them. It is OK for them to have snacks in your room, but we don’t want them to bring entire meals up into the patient areas (our doctors will eat it if they do!). Small snacks are a great idea for your family to bring, but you can’t have any!
We also have a Starbucks Coffee in the hospital. This is on the first floor, but not near the cafeteria. If your family wants Starbucks, then head to the first floor and start walking. Anybody can point them in the right direction.