Friday, February 27, 2015

Surgery, Part 1: All of the Questions and None of the Answers

I'm going on an adventure!

It's about 3:30, just a little more than 24 hours after my surgery. Apparently it's the norm to schedule a surgery at one time but not have it until a much, much later time. In my case it was only an hour and a half later, and I didn't even notice--I was that overwhelmed. And if you're interested, you can read all about it below. A new experience calls for a new story, and I'm not letting this one go to waste.

We got to the hospital at 11:15 and a friendly old man told us to go up the elevator. I was greeted by three good-humored grandma-type nurses who seemed to be wearing an exorbitant amount of sparkly brooches and pins on their scrubs. They sent me over to Kris, the registration nurse, who kindly made jokes with my nervous husband and then put on my ID bracelet.

Less than five minutes later we were ushered through some enormous doors to the pre-op area. I put all my stuff in a locker--immediately regretting that I left my chapstick behind--and then got to step onto the industrial-sized scale. It gently beeped out my weight in kilograms, which was very kind of it, because I don't know what those numbers translate to in pounds. I also got to tell the pre-op nurse my height, which has become really fun for me since I recently realized I'm actually 5'3 and not 5'2.

Once in "my room" I was asked to put on the "gown" (aka "high-necked bag dress designed to choke you AND show the world your bum at all times"). I asked if I could keep my socks on and she said, "Oh, we've provided you with fancy socks." I actually clapped and said, "Oh, yay!" In retrospect, I think I was just excited about being able to wear socks, but it definitely sounded like the "fancy" hospital socks were the highlight of my day.

They weren't. But I'll get there.

So I put on the gown and the fancy socks and got into the bed with the pre-heated blankets from heaven. (I haven't mentioned it in a while, but it's winter here in Chicago. That means it's 16 degrees outside, before the hellish windchill.) I sat there fiddling on my Kindle and talking to Joey for about thirty minutes before there began a constant barrage of nurses, anesthesiologists, more nurses, surgical nurses, and more nurses asking me the same questions over and over again. They put two more paper bracelets on my wrists indicating I had seasonal allergies and was a fall risk because I would be put under general anesthesia.

During most of those questions there was one unfortunate nurse trying to get my IV in. Because I had the blood tests done just yesterday she had a lot of trouble, ended up poking me twice, and had to sit on the floor to get the right angle because there were so many people in my room. 

But that wasn't the most annoying thing. I'm accustomed to my difficult veins. What I'm not used to is being ignored by the people who are supposedly listening to me and writing down my answers. I told four people today that I did not have diabetes or PCOS. (Look it up, I'm not wasting time explaining it.) You would think that by this point, if I had diabetes, I would have told someone. I would have told my surgeon, the nurse that called me on Monday, and the first nurse to check me in. Doctors and other medical professionals tend to assume I'm diabetic because of one of my medications, and because--well, I'm not exactly a runway model. The medication is often used for the 'betes and PCOS, but those are not the reasons I take it!!! I actually laughed when one of the nurses assumed I had it and she became haughty and offended, like she knew better than me.

So, for the rest of the world, let me be abundantly clear: I do not have diabetes of any kind, even the ridiculous "pre-diabetes" and I am not "in danger" of having diabetes. You can look at me and make assumptions based on my size, but you will be wrong. I'm actually a pretty healthy person, despite your judgments. The next time a medical professional assumes that I have it (or PCOS) I may actually flip a lid--or maybe I'll just eat a cookie to prove them wrong, or something.

Anyways. Between all the nurses and technicians coming in we were also visited by the hospital chaplain so that we could sign the POA (Power of Attorney) papers.

The first good sign: His name was Tim, and he had a daughter named Katherine.

Obviously he introduced himself, and asked for our names. My first job was to name "an agent" to make decisions for me. I'm sure you can all guess who I picked. After that we had to talk about what I wanted to happen if I was put on life support for any reason. I'm not going to tell you what I decided because, well, first of all it's weird, and second of all it's none of your business. This conversation was daunting and surreal, in spite of the fact that Joey and I have had it before. It's just different, when you're there, with the IV in one arm and the other hand signing away your life, essentially.

The chaplain got to know us a little bit. We talked about Trinity and why we were in Illinois (people always ask that after they realize our phone numbers are from Washington) and I mentioned how ironic it was that he was a pastor named Timothy with a daughter named Katherine, when I'm named Katherine and have a pastor/father named Timothy.

And then the chaplain asked if he could pray for me. I had been hoping he would. He told us the basics of the prayer--for peace and comfort, safety and success in the procedure and all that. Then he asked if there were any other people or issues I'd like him to pray for.

So, this is the part where I get to tell you the back story while continuing to tell this story. This is the part when I tell you why I was there, why I had the surgery, did the blood work, endured the torture of answering five questions a million different ways for an hour, why I wore the "gown" and actually let a crazy nurse MEASURE how much I peed before I was allowed to leave the hospital.

But you'll just have to wait until the next post to find out. :)

1 comment:

  1. Glad you are recovering, and I hear you about pre-op being kinda weird and even annoying.