It’s the day after Thanksgiving, but I did want to send out a thank you to the universe for my health, and also for all the wonderful people in my life. I’m back home and recovering from my medical procedures, and I want to say how extremely grateful I am for all the support and caring sent my way. Thank you everyone, I feel truly blessed and humbled by the level of love surrounding me.
The hospital experience was something else, however. It’s a good thing I don’t have a fragile top ego, because it surely would’ve been punctured by the indignities dealt out there. Don’t get me wrong, for the most point I was treated wonderfully, and my nurses and doctors were great. But it’s just a really unpleasant thing for anyone to have to go through.
First of all, I was paranoid about having a bad reaction to the anesthetic. I knew from other family members’ experiences that this was quite likely, so I discussed this with the surgeon, the nurses, the nurse aides, even the poor guy taking my height and weight. Most importantly, I was careful to mention it during the pre-op meeting with the anesthesiologist. He assured me there were anti-nausea drugs they could try, though for people who suffer from motion-sickness (as I do) it was likely not to work. But I did feel a bit more reassured I had done everything I could after discussing it with Dr. R, the anesthesiologist.
That is, until the day of the surgery, and Dr. R was nowhere to be found. “Mrs. Whitney, I’m Dr. C,” said the anesthesiologist as he introduced himself to me. And I was so taken aback that I actually shook his hand before it hit me. “No! I mean, I’m not Mrs. Whitney.” (Trust me, I’m not even close to looking like a Mrs. Whitney.) So he disappeared, but he was back again several minutes later. “Sorry, Ms. A, I’m your anesthesiologist, Dr. C.” So I had to go over everything again with him, but as it turned out, they were right — it made absolutely no difference at all. I was sick as a dog, couldn’t even keep down water for a full day.
They were willing to help with the pain, though. Well, one nurse was willing. She gave me morphine. *g* But I was willing to bear a little more pain, so after a couple of shots of that in my IV, I asked her for Tylenol instead. (It turned out she gave me Tylenol plus oxycodone, which explained why it really took the edge off.) But when I asked for some pain-killer from a different nurse, he told me he wouldn’t give me any more morphine, because after I left the hospital and went looking for more, where would I be able to find it? I didn’t say anything because I’m the one who’d actually requested to be taken off morphine. But his vision of me as a drug addict scouring the streets desperate for narcotics after only two shots of it was slightly irritating.
And speaking of irritating, I hate those compression leg sleeves — you know, those wraparound thingies which squeeze your calf..HARD..every few seconds. Being tied to them meant I had to call the nurse to release me every time I went to the bathroom, which, being hooked to an IV, meant every hour. I understand the hospital wants to prevent blood clots, but I was only scheduled to be there a couple of days. As Fizzy pointed out, if that were a danger spending the weekend in bed would be dangerous!
Edited to add: I nearly forgot another incident that male nurse got a dark look from me. He was looking at my abdominal incisions to see how they were healing, and pointed out how I was still swollen from the air trapped underneath. Then a thought suddenly occurred to him. “Or…uh…do you normally look like this?” Well, hell, if I did it would’ve been the wrong time to ask that, wouldn’t it?!
But the most memorable incident came when I had to strip and put on the little paper gown for surgery. (By the way, though I went into surgery in the paper gown, I woke up in a cloth one. I’m trying not to visualize how and when that happened.) I had tied it shut, because the pre-surgical room was filled with other patients, and it flaps open in the back. But before they put me on the gurney the nurse made me untie it. “We need you on the operating table bare-bottomed.”
Um…okay. I think I managed not to blush, but I wonder if I went under with a little smile on my face?