Monday, February 18, 2008

Under the bone saw, part one

We went to the Big City Hospital at 10:30 a.m. the day of the surgery.

I went to admissions and jumped through all the hoops, answering the same questions again and again from several different people:

"Are you allergic to anything?" No.
"Are you on any drugs?" Yes. Please give me some more. I can't deal with this.

After awhile, we were ushered into a semi-private hospital room. I was given a bag of hospital clothes and told to take everything off and change into them. Coming out of the bathroom, I modelled the hideous green backless gown and ugly blue robe for my boyfriend.

Then we sat there and waited. And waited. And waited. The sign on the wall said, "Your pre-surgery assessment visit can take up to four hours." The words "OR LONGER" were written in bold capitals below it in black marker. "Do you think that was written by a staff person or a patient?" the BF asked.

I spent the time trying to distract myself from thinking about how hungry and thirsty I was, as I had been told not to have anything to eat or drink since midnight the previous night. I unpacked some of the things I had brought to the hospital - a cute framed picture of us, a Warm Buddy stuffed dog, magazines - trying to make it seem more homey and, again, trying to distract myself from the inevitable. BF asked one of the nurses if I'd be in the same room after the surgery. The answer was "no." So, I repacked everything again. At least it was something to do.

At some point, a nurse came in, put down a binder and left. She didn't come back for well over an hour. When she returned, she took my vital signs and asked me the same questions everyone else had asked me. We finally learned that my surgery was scheduled for 1:30 p.m., something we probably should have asked someone about earlier.

Finally, another person came and ushered the four of us who were waiting for surgery to a pre-surgery room. This was a large, open room with chairs around the edges, and was located next to the operating rooms. Someone came and put a warmed blanket over my legs. That was nice.

We waited some more and I passed the time by playfully torturing BF with an Oprah magazine. He haaaates Oprah with the passion of a thousand burning suns, and refused to cuddle with me as long as I was holding the magazine in my lap. So, of course, I had to start reading the articles out loud to him.

Then, my surgeon came and talked to me to make sure I understood all the surgery risks and to answer any last-minute questions I had. I asked when I could start post-surgery acupuncture and lymph drainage massage. There wasn't much else to ask, as I had done all my research years ago and knew exactly what I was getting into.

Then, the anesthesiologist and her intern came to talk to me. They asked me the exact same questions everyone else had asked, then wanted to know if I had any questions for them. I asked about the tube they were going to be putting down my throat during the surgery and if there were any possibility of my vocal chords being damaged, as I am a singer. They checked my throat out and said it would be fine. Then, they asked if I had any further questions.

"Just one," I responded with absolute seriousness.

Pause.

"Pre-surgery high-five?" I asked, and held up my hand to them, hoping they wouldn't leave me hanging. They stopped and looked at me strangely for a moment, then burst out laughing and both high-fived me. I'm guessing they don't get that very often.

"Break a jaw!" I called after them as they walked away from me and toward the operating room.

1 comment:

Mylene said...

12am to 1.pm; that is 10 times too long to be hungry. That was brave of you to not kill someone to eat them.

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