The Surgery – Part 2

10:47 pm by

Part 2: The Early Hours

So we’re up, and I’m getting ready. Enjoying my last hours on both feet. Not enjoying cottonmouth or sleepy head or bad dream hangover. One final pic of the Cutsie Tootsies, and we’re off.

Cutsie Tootsies!

I thought Nurse Rached told me to be there at 6.15a. Doors to the surgery center don’t open until 6.30am. WHAT? Is she out to get me or something? Nope, I think I was just groggy. She said an hour before the surgery, which is scheduled for 7.15am. We couldn’t go out for coffee (I might’ve gone on some sort of coffee rampage if I had to be around anyone sipping the beloved brew – or any liquid – right about then), so we sat in the car: Mr Lici playing PSP while I did my NYT crossword puzzle. We’d had the “Advanced Directive” talk the night before, no need to revisit that depressing convo. My no-caffeine, no-liquid, bad-sleep headache had reduced me to monosyllabic answers to any question, anyway.

Finally, the doors opened. We signed in, sat for 10 minutes looking around the beautiful office (complete with coffee pot and two water stations – AGH, will this torture never end?) and chatting. I read Chip MacGregor’s hilarious “12 Deep Thoughts From My Mailbox” out loud to Mr Lici (I’d’ve cried with laughter if I had any moisture left in my body). BTW, he really is a nice guy, and deeply funny. I thought I detected a very quiet giggle from the receptionist’s desk.

Finally, they called me in. I had to don to requisite hospital johnny (Janey?), which had the requisite confusing ties but was also quite warm and without the requisite breeze in the back. NICE. Plus I got super cute socks! (You’ll see them later, in the post-op). I heart socks. OK, here’s a sneak peek:

So cute, so warm & my favorite color!

My nurse was the exact opposite of Nurse Rached. She was amazing, so professional and soothing and comfortable. Nurse Jenni (hereby designated as Best Nurse Ever) got me situated, then she rolled down my left leg super-cute sock and looked at me. “Which leg is being operated on?”

I suppressed the urge to bolt. AGH! It is Nurse Rached in a nice nurse disguise! After this, I made it a point to enunciate exactly which leg I was talking about whenever asked.

Still being somewhat in command of a clear mind, I said the right leg. She rolled down my sock and wrote NO on my left leg. (You know why, right?)

Nurse Jenni then hooked wrapped a weird pump around my left leg that stimulated blood vessel movement to prevent clots. It wasn’t uncomfortable – that part was yet to come.

Finally, they let Mr Lici in to see me. Turns out I had to take out my contacts “just in case.” I’m pretty sure I turned a slight shade of green, but she assured me I wasn’t going under unless the anesthesiologist decided I needed to. (AGH!) I informed her of my terrible veinage issue (i.e., no one can ever find them and I end up leaving blood draws looking like Pinhead attacked my arms); turns out, the new veinage preference is the back of the hand, where I’ve always my IVs (oh, and ouch). Fortunately, her needle was itty bitty and didn’t hurt nearly as much as the butcher-shop phlebotomist from J’s birth.

Sounds like I’m ripping on nurses here. Hold onto your own purple socks – I’ll tell you all about the fab nurses.

Before I took out my contacts, I noticed Pastor Greg was in the room with Mr Lici. He got up early just to come and pray with me before the surgery! I heart Pastor Greg! (His wife, Marilyn, is one of my most favorite people in the world, too; don’t go getting any ideas – I am not that kind of secretary.)

The Fabulous Dr G comes in and we chat while he goes over my records, and signs my right leg. “Rockstar,” he says. I make a mental note to add him to my Christmas list and maybe buy him a car with my million dollar check – oh, wait, wrong place and time here… the “starter drip” on my IV has kicked in.

Nurse Betty comes in to go over my pre-op. Same questions as usual – by now I’ve got the pre-op answers down to a science. Tynosynovectomy with possible partial plate repair, right leg, no meds this morning, no food or drink since 9pm, sign the consent, yes, I’m comfortable. Nurse Betty, in addition to being amazingly professional, is also adorable. It must be Nurse Ratched’s day off. The anesthesiologist comes in and we talk drugs. (haha.) PS: Note to guys: when you’re talking to people in a prone position, take care of the nose hair grooming, ‘kay? Dr N was really nice, though, and did a great job at keeping the pain and sedation at a manageable level. That may have been the IV thinking…

Mr Lici takes a pic of me just as the “starter drip” turns into a woo-hoo drip, then staff kicks Mr Lici & Greg out (Mr Lici gives me a goodbye kiss and does a great job of hiding any fear. Go, Mr Lici!).

"Give me a thumbs & a smile if you're ready!" I guess I'm ready...

The conversations between me and the nurses has deteriorated into “After that, will I mumble-mumble fall mumble fish tank mumble…” as the IV drip kicks into high gear. I hear something about saline and antibiotic and “IV sedation is better than gas, you’ll come out of this very quickly with a check for ONE MILLION KRONA….” I knew I shouldn’t have finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest last night!

They wheel me into the OR, I’m transferred to an operating gurney, and wrap my right leg in an operating tourniquet. (Something a bloodless operating field. Think about that for a while.) “Just relax,” Dr N says and then it’s…

fade to black...

Stay tuned for Part 3, where the patient:

  • Becomes a Fan of Twilight
  • Finally gets a sip of water
  • Realizes a skirt would, indeed, have been a great clothing option
  • Gets a ride in a wheeled La-Z-Boy
  • Still isn’t patient
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The Surgery – Part 1

7:00 pm by

Note: Sorry for taking so long updating. I was lucid but loopy (oh, yes, friends, that is possible) all day yesterday!

Tuesday (pre-op day) was crazy busy. Housecleaning, bill-paying, catching up on work, answering emails, pre-making meals (well, menus, anyway), squaring everything away. Need proof of the craziness of Tuesday? I had a list!

Here’s my to-do list:

HAHAHA!Hahaha! OK, once I found the lost list, it looked more like this:

TheĀ  most awesome Dr G had told me at last week’s pre-op appointment that I couldn’t eat or drink anything (including water) for 8 hours prior to the surgery – contrary to what I was I told during the pre-op phone consult with the surgery center the day before, where I’d been told I couldn’t eat or drink for 12 hours. Yes, folks, 12 hours. If you’ve ever had to fast before a blood test or hospital procedure, you know how bad even 6 hours without water can be. It’s like your body goes, “WHA? I can’t have water? I will protest by giving you a perpetual case of cottonmouth the instant you know you can’t have water! That’ll show you!”

Haha from Consumerist.com

This nurse, by the way, was the same one who’d told me, during the same phone call, that I couldn’t wear my contact lenses to the operation. I was all, “Whatchoo talking about, Willis? I know someone might’ve told you I watch the surgeries on TLC, but I can assure that I will not peek while Dr G slices into my tootsies!” She said, “Ha-ha (no, really, she said “Ha-ha,” in that ‘I’m laughing but not’ kind of way perfected by the Nurse Racheds of the world). Actually we’ll be taping your eyes shut as a precautionary measure.” WHAAAA? Dr G reassured me that I would not be going completely under, I’d have IV sedation, which is a whole ‘nother ballgame. Dr G is the deliverer of very good news.

At around 7pm, the anesthesiologist called with even more very good news: I was not to eat or drink after midnight. WOOT! I celebrated by drinking a half-gallon of water, chased with a one-liter of H2O goodness. I’m not very bright sometimes.

Since the surgery was scheduled for first thing in the morning, Mr Lici made me go to bed at 9pm. (Mr Lici sez: “Yes, you are getting up at 5am. You always forget something and make us late.” What he meant was, “<evil cackle>You are getting up at 4.45am! Boo-haha!”) Whereupon I promptly guzzled another half-liter of my new favorite beverage while reading a really good book.

And since I always have bad dreams right before a big day, and my dreams are Technicolor (seriously, they’re like movies, and I can remember everything. This can be fun if the dream is about, say, Italy. The dreams following, say, a viewing of that movie where the couple set up a camera in the bedroom to capture the ghost at night – not so much). Cue tonight’s triple feature:

Dream 1: The boys are spending the night w/the Megs family because we have to get up so early. M is a notorious early riser, and also a notorious early alarm clock. He lays in his sleeping bag, where they’ve camped out in the living room, and sighs… and sighs… and sighs – until Megs comes down and clocks him with a pillow. (Not that he doesn’t deserve a pillow thunk for waking the entire house before dawn, but Megs would never do that.) In the dream, Megs calls us at 4.30am with the news that she has to take M to the ER with severe stomach pain. I jump out of bed, only to find that The Toe That Would Not Heal (henceforth known as “The Toe”) had become The Toe That Fell Off (henceforth never to be mentioned again). Screams over the closing credits as I nearly fall out of bed on for my first trip to Bruiseland via the hope chest blocking the path to restroom.

Dream 2: I am lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV and blissfully getting all of the answers wrong in my NYT crossword puzzle. (1 Down: this can be a jar. Fred. 76 across: German mister. Fred.) Mr Lici came in and calmly handed me an envelope. I, assuming it was the Advanced Directive papers I’d (of course) forgotten on the table, opened it to find out he wanted a divorce. Cue more screams over the closing credits, then we move straight to…

Image courtesy of New Line Cinemas

Dream 3: I’m in the same bed, still hooked up to the IV and doing another NYT crossword. (24 across: another word for blog. Ego. 10 down: Greek eggs. Ego.) A doctor comes in and hands me an envelope. WHAT? Now my anesthesiologist is divorcing me? He tells me what I’ve a champ I’ve been during the surgery (WHAT? I had the surgery already?) and ask me to open the envelope, which contains a check for ONE MILLION DOLLARS. I look up and suddenly realize that the doctor who’s telling me they had to amputate The Toe is DR EVIL. Mr Lici comes in, ready to pounce with his laser-beam sharks, when –

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

It’s time for all good dreamers to wake up and dream of coffee they can’t have!

Read part two, wherein the patient:

  • Says goodbye to cutsie tootsies
  • Nearly ransacks a Starbucks
  • Meets the best nurses ever
  • Isn’t patient
  • Gets a tattoo

XO,

~A

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