Thursday, April 12, 2012

On the Bench!

Today is 15 days since surgery.  It's gone very quickly and most gratefully, pretty much without a hitch.  I'll give you all a very long recap of the last two weeks, and I'll be as graphic as possible.  I'm going to space it out over a couple of posts to save your eyesight (and lunch).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012: Surgery Day

I had to report to Montefiore at 8:50AM for an 11:50AM surgery time.  I actually slept well the evening before, but woke up at 4:30 that morning.  I took it as an opportunity to lounge in the tub and just try to relax.  Smoked a few cigarettes (A big no-no, I know), read some of my new book, cuddled with the dogs.

When you arrive on the surgery floor, you're brought back to the "waiting area" where you change into your gown, the nurses take some pre-op vitals and basically you just sit around.  My mom, dad and Ramon took turns spending time back there since only one person at a time was allowed.  The nurse working with me, Kathy, was just a nice, calming presence- she cracked jokes and harassed the staff for talking to me about food. I hadn't eaten anything solid in 3 days at the point, and nothing at all since about 8PM the evening before. I was HAPPY to hear about someone's jerk chicken and rice dinner.

Anesthesiologist came in to discuss what he'll be doing.  Dr. Choi, the surgeon, stopped by to see how I was and go over any last minute questions or concerns.  Back to waiting... Dr. Choi's schedule was already behind so 11:50 was now closer to 1PM.  As time drew nearer, Kathy allowed everyone to the back with me.  She attempted to "hide" my father behind the curtain.  That worked well.

Out of nowhere appears the Nurse Anesthetist and it's time to hit the road.  Kathy, the nurse, gives me a big hug and wishes me well.  Hugs all around and away we go.

You actually walk unaided to the OR.  It's a surreal experience, the halls twist and turn through the hospital like a maze and you're surrounded by all kinds of medical equipment and staff rushing about.  During this long walk I keep saying to myself, "It's not too late to say F this".  I walked in the OR and it's just plain weird.  There's huge flat screens on all the walls, a nurse is laying out the surgery tools- some looked like utensils you'd use to barbeque.  Other people milling about doing their jobs. 

In the center of the room is the table.  It seriously looks like they're about to crucify you.  It's narrow with two arm rests jutting out at the top.  Up on the table I go and they begin strapping me down.  The NA inserts my IV and starts some calming meds.  Laying there, I again say to myself, "It's still not too late".

Someone realizes I still have my nose ring in, I had totally forgot about it!  Groggily I hear them discussing what to do about it.  I reach up and pop it out.  A voice asks if the hole will close quickly, I slowly nod my head yes.  This calming med is good stuff, I'm barely conscious!  The nurse drops the ring into a specimen bottle and places it on the cart next to me.

Suddenly, I just need to close my eyes, more of the good stuff was pumping through my veins.  And I'm out...

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