I had a pretty good time at the hospital, even though I didn’t get any red jello and was too groggy for puzzles or knitting or even reading.
We got to the Civic at 6:15 a.m, and a few minutes later I was in my hospital gown and in a bed, where a friendly nurse took my blood pressure and did some basic information gathering.
There was a Code 222 over the intercom. The nurse told me it means either a baby or a mother in trouble in Labour & Delivery. I found myself thinking about this baby and mother off and on all day. Every time I woke up or was drifting off, I wondered if they made it.
Around 7:30 they said it was time for GC to go, as they’d be sending me down to surgery soon. We said our goodbyes and I asked him to hand me the small bag inside the big bag I’d brought with me. It contained everything I’d need for now. He was to bring the big bag back later.
“You’re so organized!” he exclaimed, “An inner bag and an outer bag!”
I only mention this because nobody ever compliments on my organizational skills. It was a first. I beamed.
Then Richard the porter wheeled me away, and we chatted about his new snowblower all the way down to Surgery. He’s hoping for lots of snow this winter, since it’ll be his first winter with a snowblower.
He parked me in a corridor, smiled, and wished me well. People came and went, mostly pushing carts, and they all said good morning to me. What a nice hospital.
One of the people was pushing a microscope on wheels. My surgery is called a microdiscectomy, and the ‘micro’ part is because a microscope is used. If you’re like me, when you hear ‘microscope’ you think of one of those high school science microscopes. This microscope was as big as my bathroom!
A nurse went over my paperwork with me. I reminded her I had to be kept warm because of my Cold Agglutinin Disease, and that they couldn’t put an IV or blood pressure cuff on my right arm because of the nodes that had been removed.
Then the Anesthetist came along, and he was much nicer than my last anesthetist.
Next, I was wheeled into the gleaming operating theatre. There were about ten people waiting for me there. Plus the giant microscope. The nurse wrapped me in some nice heated blankets. I thought about my special Zoom blanket and wished I could have had that too.
Then they started putting stuff on me, like cuffs and leads. The Respiratory Therapy student was given the task of inserting my IV. He looked all over my arm, and then my hand.
“Hmmm,” he said.
“I’ve been told I’m a bit of a challenge in that department,” I acknowledged.
While the anesthetist watched, he tried to insert it in my hand. It didn’t work. It hurt, but I didn’t say anything. They injected some freezing and tried again, and again it didn’t work. The anesthetist took over. He couldn’t do it either. He tried in my arm. Nope. Meanwhile, I busied myself reading the wall posters about female incontinence and Kegel exercises. I did a few Kegels while I was at it, because I can’t think about Kegels without doing them. (I’m doing them right now. You too?)
Finally the anesthetist said he’d like to put me to sleep using the mask, and then insert the IV while I was out. I said okay. Mask. Deep breath. I thought about the Code 222, the mother and the baby. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Ho…………………..
And that was the last of anything for quite awhile.
The surgeon visited shortly after I woke up and I vaguely remember him saying it went well except for the IV being tricky.
I found out later that it took them an hour and forty minutes to get the IV in, and they finally had to put it in the jugular vein in my neck, and suture it for good measure.
My surgeon came back later with three other doctors and they told me that we won’t know for sure if was successful for a few more weeks. Also, they were out of beds. He’d had a choice of rescheduling my surgery or going ahead with it but not admitting me – just sending me to the Day Surgery Unit overnight instead. He chose to do that. (Yay.) So off to Day Surgery I went.
Then, more drugs and a rush of visions of art and good feelings of good people and good energy and GC and Duncan and the mother and baby, and more sleep.
The next few hours passed that way, just kind of dreamy and druggy.
GC visited for a little while and I was soooo happy to see him. He told me I was in Bed 13 1/2. Seriously, I was! He said my hair looked good, which it seriously didn’t. But I was groggy and couldn’t stay awake and then I was nauseous. So they sent him away and gave me three injections which knocked me right out again. (He came back for visiting hours but they wouldn’t let him wake me up.)
I had toast and yogurt and gingerale for dinner, but no jello.
Anyway, the night passed with many wakings-up and going-back-to-sleeps and thoughts of the mother and baby and pills and blood pressure readings. Eventually it was dawn and time to go. I went to the washroom and looked in a mirror and was shocked. I looked scary. My eyes were puffy and my face was grey and I had a bloody tube sticking out of my neck, and the surgical up-do was just plain BAD. I took the rubber band out, and tried to neaten it up a bit, but it was still pretty bad. I washed my face with a warm cloth, and that felt good.
Then they took the IV out of my jugular, and I ate breakfast and got dressed and chatted with my neighbour until GC came at 6:30.
It’s good to be home again. And I feel pretty good. I really hope the surgery worked. And that the mother and baby are okay.