Kathy Witmer
Kathy Witmer, DNP, ARNP

Kathy Witmer, DNP, ARNP

Kathy Witmer, DNP, ARNP
  • Accepting Children: No
  • Accepting New Patients: Yes
  • Accepting Medicare: Yes
  • Accepting Medicaid/DSHS: Yes
Payment Methods Accepted:

American Express, Bill Insurance, Cash, Check, Discover Card, Master Card, Medicaid/DSHS, Medicare, Money Order, VISA

Insurance Accepted:

Contact this office for accepted insurance plans.

Medical School

Bachelor of Science in Nursing: Seattle University, Critical Care Training: Providence Medical Center, Master of Nursing: University of Washington

Board Certifications

Board Certifications: American Nurses Credentialing Center, Adult Nurse Practitioner, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pain Management Nursing

Louie BE, Farivar AS, Wagner O, Aye RW, Hopper P, Witmer K, Thirsk-Fathi J, Vallières E. "Should Robotic Thoracic Surgery Be Pursued? A case-control analysis of selected robotic versus laparoscopic/VATS procedures" (Abstract), The International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery. Washington DC. June 8, 2010.

What should you know about pain killers after surgery?

Recovering from major surgery is an active process that typically takes 6 weeks. Surgical pain is normal and expected, but the pain experience may be different for individuals. Since pain can interfere with your ability to participate in activities to prevent complications (coughing, deep breathing, walking), treating pain is critically important for a successful surgical recovery. Many patients are afraid to take prescription narcotics or “pain killers” because they do not want to become “addicted.” However, untreated pain can lead to the development of permanent pain pathways to the brain, which can delay your recovery and possibly even result in chronic pain.

Narcotic use varies among individuals and there is a big difference between drug dependence and addiction. Dependence is when the body has become accustomed to the medication. This can occur anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks after you start taking pain killers regularly, like after surgery. Addiction, however, generally implies that the medication or substance is interfering with your life in some way. You can become dependent on pain killers during your surgical recovery, but with medical management of your withdrawal from these medications, you will avoid addiction. It is important to use your prescription pain killers as directed to avoid overuse. On the other hand, you do not want to avoid using pain killers when you need them to remain comfortable and active. Stopping your pain killers “cold turkey” can be dangerous and it may cause considerable discomfort. The surgical team will work with you to develop a plan to wean you off your pain killers gradually and safely, at a time when you are ready.

The universal goal is to taper as quickly as your physical, mental and emotional status allows. Since there is ....

Pain after surgery

If you are scheduled to have surgery, it is normal to be concerned about pain you may experience after surgery.

The best time to talk about post-surgical pain is actually before your operation. Make sure you:

  • Talk to your surgeon about your experience with different methods of pain control.
  • Bring a current list of all your medicines and any drug allergies with you to your appointment.
  • Be honest about your alcohol and drug use. If you are abusing alcohol or drugs, you may experience withdrawal from these substances making your postoperative recovery difficult. If you are a recovering from alcohol or drug abuse we can design a pain management plan to reduce the chance for relapse.
  • Ask questions about the post-surgical pain: the severity, how long it will last, how it will be treated, what medications will be used, how they work, and their possible side effects.
  • Discuss any concerns you have about taking pain medications.

Surgical pain is common and should be expected after your procedure. Luckily, modern pain medications and anesthesia can minimize surgical pain. While we cannot eliminate all pain, we want to make you as comfortable as possible. Our pain management goals are simple:

Are you ready for surgery?

I am a nurse practitioner and one of my jobs is to help patients through their surgical experience with us. Here are some of the things you should know before surgery:

Communication

Surgery can be a very stressful event, and thinking about it may cause some anxiety. The best way to prepare for surgery is through education. Make sure that you have talked to all of your doctors so that you are making an informed decision about surgery. We will collaborate with your primary care physician and your cardiologist, but we encourage you to communicate with your entire medical team as well.

Education

Learn about your surgery, what your hospital stay will be like, and what you can expect during recovery. The more relaxed and confident you are going into surgery, the better your chances of a successful and comfortable experience.

Diet

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Offices

Swedish Thoracic Surgery / First Hill
1101 Madison Street
Suite 900
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-215-6800
Fax: 206-215-6801

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