Monday, May 15, 2006

Let's play operation!

So, there I was in the hospital. I didn’t want to be, but who does?

At first I tried to study my chemistry. I had a final coming up and I was hoping to make it out by my final test. It’s amazing the kinds of delusions that pain and morphine will lead to.

One astute nurse, finding me struggling with my chemistry, said, “So, with all the stress in your life right now, don’t you think that may have something to do with you being in the hospital? I think you probably should put the chemistry away for tonight and get some rest.” At first, her comment annoyed me. What was I supposed to do? I was confined to ice chips for two days and had finals coming up. My work had sent me to Vegas so I’d already lost two critical days of cramming. How was watching crappy TV and sleep supposed to help me? It wouldn’t change anything. I was still going to get cut on and have a small part of my anatomy removed.

In the end though, she was right. I was exhausted. I had pushed myself too far and my body had rebelled. In the end I didn’t get much chemistry done. Mostly I just slept and watched crappy TV for two days.

Monday rolled around and I realized that it was already noon, and I had no idea when I’d being going in for the surgery. It was supposed to be that day. My previous experiences with surgery had convinced me that surgeons were morning people of the worst sort and so I had expected to have gone under the knife by now. Or at least by 1:30. Didn’t happen, though. Even the nurses weren’t sure until the last minute.

After sitting around worrying for a few more hours, I was finally wheeled in, bed and all, to the pre-op area at about 4:00 PM. Remember how I said that surgeons are morning people? If you can help it, never schedule a surgery for the afternoon. Not only are surgeons morning people, so are operating room staff. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of more exhausted looking folks in a hospital and not have them be patients. Honestly, I was a little concerned. Mostly I just had to pee. One of the most surreal moments though, was when one of the staff came over to me with what looked like a magic marker and wrote the word “yes” on the right side of my belly and “no” on the left side. “That’s to make sure the surgeon knows which side of you to cut on,” she said with a smile.

Okay. I was officially freaked out. I’d been studying anatomy this last semester, right? Even I remembered that my gall bladder was on my right side. Why did the surgeon need a reminder? Didn’t they go to school for this sort of thing?

Too late to back out, I was wheeled into the operating room, and subjected to abuse only a fraternity could think up. I woke up later with half of my stomach shaved and four rather large band aides on me. Oh yeah. I hurt. More morphine was given and I did little but sleep through the rest of the night.

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