OUCH!!

Actually in the bigger picture that’s overstating things.   Yes, about 10 hours post surgery that part of my body hurts when you look at it, but that’s why God invented vicodin.  My traversal of the surgery production line was quite the story. I was dropped off at 6 am and proceeded to the check-in desk, laptop, iPod, and Blackberry in hand.  The first verbalization of the attendant stopped me dead in my tracks: “Do you have your pre-surgery checklist?” Pre what?  I was never given or sent one – I was merely told not to eat or drink anything after midnight and to show up at 6 am.  That was the sum total of my pre-surgical logistic counseling.  What if the checklist said something like “Do not eat cashews within 48 hours of your surgery, or your brains will come out your ears when the sedative is administered.”  Seems like a reasonable fear since I, Mr. High Protein, did eat unsalted cashews the night before.     I told the attendant that I received no such checklist, and her mute response, hospital speak for “You idiot, you blew a simple administrative detail on one of the most important days of your life,” was deafening.  I was told to take a seat until my name was called.  In due course a tall, somewhat elderly impeccably dressed man called my name, among others.  He took one look at me and said “Where’s your wrist band?”  What wrist band? Could he be referencing the wrist band everyone else in my group was wearing?  “No wrist band here!” he bellowed to the attendant, who eyed me over her bifocals as she prepared one for me, as she should have before.  I didn’t know hospital speak for “Who’s the idiot now?” so I held my piece. I arrived in my surgical prep room to find that I was sharing it with a boisterous, obese man.  His first action, prior to our introductions even, was to complain that his surgical gown was too small, “as usual.”  After changing and configuring, with considerable effort, the surgical gown/outer robe combination, our nurses arrived and proceeded to collect detailed information that was already in our medical records.  Had I said “hello” to the custodian, he would have asked me for my name and date of birth.Shortly after my nurse started I felt the need to make a bowel movement – a real blessing straight from heaven since I had been constipated for several days, and pushing out stools the consistency of granite is not a good mix with fresh hernia surgery.  I was completely distracted as she spoke because I was worried my window of opportunity might slip away… but I weathered the storm and successfully conducted business thereafter.  Score one for the home team. Eventually I was taken down to the “ready” room – which was a virtual conveyor full of patients on gurneys wearing the same hat I was wearing.  A person in scrubs approached and asked me to say my name, date of birth, surgeon’s name, and what the procedure was to be.   She introduced herself as a person pursuing her master’s degree in anesthesiology, then gracefully answered my plethora of questions.  In my case only local numbing would take place, complemented with sedatives administered via IV.  I asked how the IV piece would work, and she said she would tweak the dosage if I “needed more.”  I asked how “needing more” felt, and how I would express “needing more.”  She explained it would likely be more of a body language thing than me screaming out in agony, which made me feel better.  Later the anesthesiologist himself showed up,  and after asking the usual battery of questions, wondered if I had any more for him.  I didn’t, so I was turned over to the barber for shaving.  I was tempted to ask him what it was like to shave pubic hair all day, but I showed uncharacteristic restraint.Finally, a nurse showed up and marked the surgeon’s initials in the area where the surgery was to take place.  I thought about asking her to add a heart with an arrow through it, but again, restraint was the order of the day. At long last I was wheeled into the actual surgical suite, and it blew my mind to think that all my conveyor buddies were being wheeled into similar rooms at roughly the same time.  They transfered me to a skinnier bed, put on my oxygen mask, tweaked the IV, then woke me up.  It was done.  Unbelievable – absolutely no sensation (or memory, at any rate) of discomfort… and none of the nasty side effects of general anesthesia.Thus far, since then, my day has been occupied with resting, avoiding our 2 year old and our dog, and occasionally getting up to inch my way around the house at a glacial pace.   I’ll try to report more on the recovery phase when I get the chance.

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