How a Simple 2 Hour Surgery Turned into Close to 7 Hours of Torture
Nurse: “Would you like something to relax before the surgery?”
Me: “What do you mean?”
Nurse: “We can give you something to calm you down.”
Me: “Oh. Well, I’m not much of a pill popper. Do I not seem un-relaxed?”
Nurse: “Well, we don’t know Katherine. We just offer this to patients if they would like.”
I think I had primped, tucked in, straightened all the fold in my lovely faded army blue hospital gown, the sheets on the bed and the white blanket. My wool socks were pulled up so taught that you’d swear I had sock garters on. Who wears those anyways? Seriously. Aren’t garter’s supposed to be sexy? For your nylons? Not knee high socks.
Me: “Ok. It will help my body relax which I think is a good thing going into this. Will I feel funny?”
Nurse: “I don’t know. Most people just feel relaxed and slowed down a little.”
We had to be up at 530am to get to the hospital for 6am. I had to undress, give my belongings away and wait to find out what time my surgery would be. There could be 2-4 on this day and they make the decisions the morning of which patient goes first and then schedule the others accordingly. I was told I was going to be first. 7:30am. I think. The nurse motioned me over to a waiting room with other sans make up, early bed headed patients in hospital gowns with a loved one beside them. Kinda makes it look like a psych ward depicted in the movies. Ok. half the people here are sane dressed and the other half didn’t get dressed this morning.
“And you look lovely in this pale sky blue. Who are you wearing?”
“Well, I’m not sure…’label says, Civic Hospital. It was fabulously loaned to me. I’m not sure who else has worn it before me. What procedure they had. They coulda died for all I know.”
“Ahh. And your jewels?”
“No jewels. Strict no jewel policy.”
“Your nails? That’s a fabulous colour.”
“Naked neutral by OPI. I don’t have any polish on! Strict no polish policy.”
“Why no polish?”
“I’m having a surgery.They need to see your toenails to check to make sure nothing major happens – your know circulation etc.”
“It is. Why are you asking me about what I’m wearing or my polish!!!”
I sat down beside my Dad. I picked up a book. It had a pretty picture on the front of rolling hills and cobblestone fences that looked like Ireland. I couldn’t read right now. I could only focus on not being able to focus on anything. I turned the book over to the back side. The author’s name was familiar. It was my first name, my middle initial and different last name but same starting initial. I thought that was interesting. And not a coincidence! I’d been told to write my story down on the page.
The hour or so went by. Seemed like there was no time.
The nurse called my name. I only use my full name for doctors, government, lawyers and such. Seems more dinfinate when I’m called in a situation like this. Yup that’s me. I got up and went to the nurse.
“Were you born on this date?”
“We just need to make sure it’s you.”
I’m not sure if that reassured me or not. I had to go in and out of a series of different rooms. I said good bye to my father.”
“Say a prayer the surgery goes well Dad.”
“Already have. ‘Will again.” and he smiled and winked at me like he does to let me know he see my in a crowded hall or a precarious discussions between a number of people.”
I was told to climb on top of a different bed and was wheeled into a wide and very cold hallway. Seemed like a back hallway of sorts. The lights were half dim and there wasn’t anyone around. Hmm. Where is everyone? Why aren’t there people here? What’s going on? Where are the surgeons? Is this the right day? Did they sleep through their alarms? Are they late? They can’t be late. I don’t want late surgeons. Maybe their hungover. Did they go out the night before? I don’t want hungover surgeons. They have to be in tip top shape. I thought this pill was supposed to chillax me.
I lay there in my gown split open the back. You know you would think they’d a come up with a gown that – yes, sure they need to open up in the back – but that closes when you want it too. Those cotton ties just don’t do it. Seriously. Or what if they bedazzled the ties. Where are the surgeons!!!
I had to go to the washroom. Who wouldn’t? I looked around for someone to ask.Nadda. I started to shuffle my feet up the bed while keep my legs closed and holding the back of my civic hospital “gown” trying to not to expose my backside (although I’m told it’s a cute backside who needs to be exposing it to this back hallway). No sooner had I figured out a way to get over the cold rail while managing all my parts (included folded arm chest because it was so bloody cold in this hallway!) did I feel a hand on my hand and hear.
“Ahh, ahh, ahh, ah. Where are you going Katherine?”
I looked up and came face to face with a large – extremely large – black nurse. She seemed sweet and concerned.
“I have to go to the bathroom.”
“Oh. You sure. Can you wait?”
“Wait? For what. I’m about to go under the knife. Would you rather I go now on the table?”
“Well it’s just that, umm…”
I sat there looking at here wondering what on earth would prevent me from using the ladies washroom.
“It’s just that we gave you that calmer down medication and you might fall.”
Ok then. Send someone with me, because I gotta go and I gotta go now.”
I got up without her looking for something else to say. I grabbed the back of my gown to crunch the opening slit behind me as much as I could. I can walk. I feel fine. I’m fine. I placed my one foot infront of the other.
My legs collapsed like jello. The one nurse pushed another much younger nurse to my aid and grabbed my arm.
“Hold onto me Katherine.”
Katherine, this is Julianne. She’s a resident nurse in training. She’ll be with us today. I’ll be teaching her as we go.
Sweet Jesus. First no one, then someone restricting my bodily functions and now a student! Ahhh!
I was a little more relaxed on the way back. I guess it was kicking in now. They helped me back onto the gurney while I still tried to keep the back of my gown clenched between my hand.
Few more people started to trickle in now. Coming down the hallway. They were laughing and some story from the night before and going in and out of a room my gurney was parked outside.
“Just a few more minutes Katherine. The surgeon’s will be here.”
“I want to speak to them before I go in. Especially the one I haven’t met. I can do that right? I requested that.”
“Yes, you can do that.”
‘Seems really weird to me to have someone operate on you that you haven’t met or even had a conversation with.
I kept trying to sit up, but my body really wanted to lay back down.
I stared down at a sheet of paper I had with me. I had drawn on it a list of the things that needed to be done in the surgery, the things that I absolutely did not want done (SAVE BOTH OVARIES. DO NOT REMOVE) etc. I had loosely drawn my reproductive system. I had been doing various forms of holistic modalities in an attempt to heal, help, cure whatever had been going on.
I lay there looking at the sheet to make straight the questions I had and the points I wanted to make. KEEP MY OVARIES. I kept reading the same lines over and over again not making it down the page. There had been talk that they have to remove one of the ovaries as too much endometriosis and overtaken it to the point where it was more endo tissue then organ. This was not acceptable to me. I told the doctor no in the office months prior.
“You do have another ovary Katherine.”
“I know I do. And I still want to keep both it at possible.”
“Your other ovary can make enough eggs if you want children.”
“It doesn’t matter. I want to keep both. Left and the right.”
This was the conversation we had had months prior.
I was feeling a bit sleepy. I stared at my page.
Some voice came from behind.
“Katherine. Dr. _ is here.”
“Oh you must be Katherine. It’s nice to meet you Katherine. I’m glad to be here today scrubbing in with Dr.___. He’s informed me quite thoroughly on your case. ”
I opened my mouth to speak. I just smiled.
He caught eye of the page I had that was for my eyes only. It was for me. My visualization purpose. My well wishes and desires for the surgery. It wasn’t for anyone to see. Very personal.
His hand reached for the page as I was about to open my mouth to go over everything.
“Oh, is this for us Katherine? Is this a list for us?”
I reached out to grab the page from his hand.
The medication took my hand back. I was jello.
I smiled. What harm could be done? I didn’t want to seem foolish though. Silly.
More people were gathering. The energy was high. People were talking, getting ready, flying medical jargon and forth like a Grey’s Anatomy episode. Still moments of mundane would creep in. It’s ok on Grey’s Anatomy; it’s a show after all, it’s meant to entertain us. This is my life though! No mundane here please. Everyone on task. On target. Sound like you know what you’re doing please. The staff were laughing and making jokes. No wait, this is a good thing. They’re in a good mood. I want them in a good mood if they’re about to cut into me.
“We’ll come back and get you when were finished getting ready Katherine.”
They all left me in the hall and went inside. It was cold, dark and lonely. Barren. They really should put some nice leafy green plants in those back hallways. You know, some swaying palm trees or something…while patients wait.
Part II to be continued…’Enter Dr.McDreamy and the wardrobe malfunction…
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Kate Flood’s Va Jay Jay
• Locale: MadHus Cafe, perched on a slouchy vintage 1970’s brown & orange velvet couch.
• Feel’n: Tired. Hungry. I need a massage. Feel’n good to have Part I of this post out. ‘Still want a stellar literary agent.
• On Deck: ‘Was an open Mic. Not a bad one. A really good one. Now I’m listening to: Custard Pie (Click link to listen) by Led Zepplin.