Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Surgery

Well I'm home and I have survived!  There really is no place like home.  And specifically, your own shower and bed!
I'll tell my hospital experience in a couple of blogs because it's going to be quite long, I think!  So let's start at the very beginning...

Monday morning my alarm bleated at 5:50am.  I had to have a shake before 6am so I jumped up, downed the shake and went back to bed for another hour.  No point wasting valuable sleeping time!  We got to the hospital at 8:30 as instructed.  After checking in and parting with large amounts of dollars for my hospital excess I went down stairs to the next check in. Paperwork.  We sat and waited.  And waited.  And waited.

At 10:00 we were called in to an interview room to speak to the nurse.  He ran over the obvious things and then went to get the anaesthetist to meet me and give me the once over.  So in rocked Dr V.  What a character.  Loud, to the point and obviously very skilled in his field.  "How are you feeling?" he asked me in a thick South African accent.  "I'm terrified" I replied making sure I popped out my doe eyes and batted my eyelashes so that he would be extra gentle with me.  "Yes, you should be.  You could die." he said looking me dead in the eye and smiling.  Fuck.  I'm going to die, I thought.  He noted a couple of "big juicy ones" (veins) that I had and drew some circles on me.  Then said "Ok.  See you on the table!" and he was gone!
20 minutes later we had another meeting with the nurse, at which point he filled the circles Dr V had drawn with numbing cream and a water proof dressing.  Then Dr R (the surgeon) popped in to check that I had been on the diet and understood the complications (that blasted leak thing).  He said that the surgery could be a bit late because his first op was on a woman with a BMI of 71 and that it could be a challenge for him.  Holy shit!  My BMI of 39 made me look anorexic! If she was 170cm tall, she would have nearly weighed 200kg.  Whoa.  Anyway, he disappeared and Ben and I had to (very, very quickly) say our goodbye.  As I walked away,  I got teary that I didn't have time nuzzle into him and breathe in his smell to linger with me for the rest of the day, or to kiss him properly and tell him how much I love him and that he was my best friend and also that it was ok to remarry if I died, and that I wanted 'time of my life' from dirty dancing at my funeral, and that the password for the bank account.... oh you get the picture.  Deep breath, swallow hard and keep going was what I thought. Millions of people do this every day.  Harden up princess.

I was directed to the shower where I had to scrub using their "special sponge", a betadine soaked sponge which is far from my sweet scented palmolive naturals I'm used to.  Then I had to don the stylish white gown and regulation chux undies.  I pleaded my case and was allowed to keep my own undies on (because they were basic and cotton and could be cut off if necessary - thanks for the tip, Jess!).  I was shown to my bed and told that when it was my turn I would be called.  I was given my sexy 'teds' compression stockings and fought with them for about 10 minutes to get them on!  I was given my pre-med tablets and very quickly went to sleep, waking myself up snoring several times!!
An hour later (now about 1pm), I woke up and wondered how much longer I would have to wait.  This isn't good for me, this waiting thing.  I watched an episode of Offspring on my phone and checked Facebook a thousand times.  I listened to a nurse yell at an elderly couple who had both been in for day surgery and both lost their hearing aides. About half an hour later, they were found in the husbands pocket. Just the back and forth banter was hilarious!
At 3:30 I was called.  They wheeled me down the hall and around the corner where I was asked (for the third time today) what my full name, date of birth, allergies and what I was having done today.  They wrapped me up in a nice snuggly warm blanket and put some pressure thingo's on my legs which inflated and deflated to keep the circulation going.  

Then I was wheeled into the theatre.  I was again asked what my full name, date of birth, allergies and what I was having done today (I couldn't bring myself to answer 'gender reassignment' but I wish I had!).  I couldn't see much but I was introduced to all the doctors and nurses in there.  In rocked Dr V again.  He whipped off the dressing and began to insert the cannula while proclaiming "You've got a ganglian (big calcified lump on my bones of my hand) here, but we'll try and go around it and try not to lose any troops!"  I giggled.  "Success, the battle has been won!" he proclaimed loudly.  "Did we lose any troops?" I asked, he giggled. "No troops were lost!  Come on Johnny boy, let's do this!" He called to the surgeon, who's name isn't Johhny.  A nurse put an oxygen mask over my mouth and nose.  "This is it, isn't it?!" I asked.  "Breathe deeply and we'll look after you..." she said soothingly with a gentle smile.  She's nice.  Was my last thought.  

Shit I was glad when I woke up, despite the intense pain right in the centre of my sternum (which I had been told about) and Dr V yelling "BREATHE, ELISSA, BREATHE!"

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