Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Going Under the Knife

How's that for drama? I did actually have some outpatient surgery yesterday. Something akin to uteran maintenance. While it wasn't fun it did provide some humorous moments that I now get to pass along to you, my cyber friends. And if it fixes my problems it will be well worth a day at the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital at 10:00 for my 12:00 D&C, hysteroscopy, and ablation. The check-in process started by signing the obligatory insurance waivers. And yes, I know I can die during any surgical procedure. Thanks for reminding me. I then proceeded to the lab where the phlebotomist took take 4 tubes of blood and then asked me, the person who hadn't had anything to eat or drink for 16 hours, to pee in a cup. Being the compliant person that I am, well, let's just say I made it happen.

Now usually when you leave a urine sample at the doctors office, you leave your donation in something that looks like a two-way medicine cabinet. You open the door on your side, place your specimen cup on the paper towel and once your door is shut a healthcare professional can open the door on their side and do whatever it is that they do with your pee. I like this method. Very discreet and very hands-off. Not so at the hospital. I guess they figure the humiliation of a hospital visit should start early and often. Instead I had to parade my meagerly-filled cup to my pre-op staging area. Once there I didn't know what to do with it so I just sat it on the counter. As soon as the nurse and lab tech entered my area the nurse made quick work of grabbing a glove and using it pot-holder style to hand over my cup. I really think that in this day and age of medical advancements they could come up with a better pee-pee transport system.

With all of the lab work behind me it was now time to don a hospital gown. The nurse took a quick yet sweeping glance at me and grabbed the gown that had been pre-heating under a blanket. She sheepishly said "Um, I'll be back in a minute with a better gown for you." What she really meant was, wait while I go and get a plus-sized gown for the big girl. I didn't mind so much. I am what I am. Not that I in any way advocate being overweight. At some point I guess you learn to laugh, otherwise you'd cry.

My nurse returned promptly with my new and "improved" gown which I dutifully put on placing all of my other clothes in a bag for Don to keep watch over. I was then instructed to climb into the bed with the heated blanket. A heated blanket sounded rather nice at the moment ... until I crawled in. This heated "thing" was made out a fabric that can best be compared to fabric interfacing. It was quilted with large tube-like channels running through it and small holes that blew out warm air. This was a nice feeling for the first 10 minutes or so and then it became just stinkin' hot. Poking my feet out the bottom helped to keep the heat stroke at bay.

Nurse Number Two then came in to take my vitals and put on the blood-pressure tourniquet cuff. Can anyone tell me when did taking one's blood pressure become so darn painful? I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I have a bruise on my arm from having my blood pressure taken. I think every time I heard the automatic pump begin, my pressure probably rose 20 points. I then got the stickers for my heart monitor (which by the way also left some bruising).

Soon Nurse Number One returned to put in my IV but apparently the veins in my hands stayed home yesterday so instead I got an IV in my arm (which by the way left a VERY LARGE bruise). Finally, all the prep was done and Don got to come back to my pre-op staging area. He prayed for me which made me cry and then we laughed about hospital jargon until we were both crying. Phrases like "mild discomfort" and "a small stick followed by slight stinging." What they are really saying is pain like you've been kicked in the gut by a field goal kicker or a piercing pain by a 3 inch needle followed by burning throughout your extremities. Hey, if they can understate the facts, I can exaggerate them!

Finally, we got a visit from the anethesiologist and with it the final blow to my last remaining shred of dignity. Like each healthcare professional before him, Dr. Sleep rattles off a list of questions and conditions. Nope! I replied to all of them, I'm healthy as a horse (excluding my current status as a hospital patient). I must have gotten a little to prideful because he then asks for my weight...with Don right there in the room AGHHHH! I don't believe in keeping secrets from your spouse...except for that one. So in matter of seconds my closest guarded secret was out there, for Don and the world to know. Through 22 years of marriage I've kept him in the dark. But I'm out now and you know what? He still loves me. All *** pounds of me!

So, a final kiss from Don and I was rolled away to the operating room. I almost started crying when they wheeled me in as the memories of having the three big kids via c-section came flooding back. I just kept thinking I can't cry or I'll get all stuffed up and won't be able to breathe in the anesthesia. Within minutes however I was out for good and my next memory was waking up being rolled down a hallway. That was about it.

We were ready to leave the hospital about an hour later. Once at home, Don and Maria took great care of me. My friend, Emily, watched Maria all day (Caroline is in Branson) and another wonderful friend, Leah, brought us a meal. One pain pill at 8:00 and I was off to dreamland. I woke up this morning feeling great. By the way, I just got the call from the Doctor that all of the pathology reports came back fine. Thank you, Lord. All in all it wasn't a bad experience. I'm just glad it's over with and we can get on with the summer.

Simply stated: Beware on nosey anesthesiologists!