I was scheduled for surgery exactly two weeks to the day from my ill-fated fall. It was practically two weeks to the minute by the time I was wheeled into the OR. But more on that later. Right now I want to prepare those of you who have not yet experienced the joys of having hardware put into you for the road that may lie ahead.
Truthfully, it wasnít that bad. Or as I have gotten really good at saying, it could have been worse Ė though I guarantee you may wonder how so when I am done.
I was told to be at the hospital for 6:30am for pre op testing. The ambulance picked me up at 6, gave me a ride in the orange chariot from hell and got me to the hospital for 6:15am. They wheeled me to EXACTLY where I was told to go, Admissions. But the woman at the desk sends us to the second floor, where the very nice nurse rants at them for having NOT followed instructions. WAIT! They did follow instructions, I insist. No, pre op testing is downstairs. But we were told to come up here. Nope, pre op testing is downstairs. You need to follow directions, she tells them. Bite me, I sayÖ okay, I didnít say it, but I thought it. But I DID tell her that they followed directions, as I shoved my piece of paper that said Ďgo to admissionsí in her face. CHANGE OF TUNE. Well, she needs to follow directions downstairs. Ah! Now we gripe about the woman downstairs. But at least she is leaving the medics alone. Meanwhile, they have wisely resorted to ignoring her as they wish me well and go on their merry way.
The nice nurse then informs me that it will be a while because sheís got other patients to tend to. Meanwhile, I am wheeled into a room where I can watch all the OTHER patients enter fully clothed then exit in johnnies as they head down to the OR. 6:30 and Iím waiting. 7:30 and Iím ready to puke. What is taking so long? 8:30 and I am convinced my doc is going to KILL me because I am holding him up. Nope. Itís not like that at all, the nice nurse informs me. Iím not scheduled for surgery until 11:30. GET OUT! Sheís serious. And she canít for the life of her fathom why they would have me get there five hours early. Ah, but she doesnít know all the joys of being me! Nothing about this adventure has been simple so why the HELL would it start now. She does the pre op testing and turns out to be one of the sweetest nurses I have met. (And you thought I was being sarcastic when I was really doing some clever character foreshadowing.)
Now itís 9:30 and the nice nurse, Jean, has made it her personal mission to see to my comfort because some other inept being had me there five hours before surgery. Finally, an hour later, she gets them to move me down to the holding area outside the OR. Yes! This will be done before I know it! NOT QUITE. At least the holding area was cool and relaxing. And while I knew I still had an hour left to wait, I was grateful to be in a cool area because the other was hot like HELL.
My gratefulness lasted a WHOLE hour, which is approximately how long it took one of the nice nurses in the holding area to inform me that doc is running behind on his surgeries. His first one for the day took two hours longer than he anticipated and his second one just got wheeled in. I am number three. Well, how long is this surgery that heís starting two hours later than scheduled? He allocated himself two hours for it, the nice nurse tells me. And how long did he allocate himself for the surgery that took him two hours longer than he anticipated? Two hours. So I could be here for another four hours? No answer. Hmmm? (Note to self Ė DO NOT MURDER DOC BEFORE SURGERY. WAIT TILL AFTER BREAKS HEAL COMPLETELY, THEN HUNT HIM DOWN, KIDNAP HIM, AND MAKE HIM WAIT FIVE HOURS FOR PRE OP PLUS TWO EXTRA HOURS FOR MISCALCULATIONS WHILE BEING SURE THAT HE FULLY UNDERSTANDS THAT I AM GOING TO CUT INTO HIS FLESH THEN USE A BLACK & DECKER DRILL TO INSERT SCREWS AND OTHER FINE HARDWARE INTO HIS TIBIA AND FIBULA.)
But alas, the spiritual side of me kicks in (yes, I do have one), and I decide that maybe there were unforeseen complications with his first surgery, and he worked very hard to make sure he gave that patient the best care possible. Wouldnít I want him to do that for me? Of course I would. (note to self Ė nix plot to torture doc Ė he was doing a good job, and he is handsome. Hmmm? Is he single? Note to self Ė find out marital status of handsome doc.)
The hours pass as I quietly meditate, all the while watching countless others get wheeled in and out of surgery. Was I jealous? Quite a bit. Did I let it upset me? I tried not to. Instead, I called my mother and best friend to let them know I have not yet gone into surgery. My friend handles it well. My mother becomes completely unraveled and wants to know what it taking so long and informs me that she it very nervous about this, and itís very upsetting for her. Hmmm? Thought I was the one going under the knife. (note to self - this is harder on your mother than it is on you, or so she keeps saying.)
I try to ignore the fact that Iím very thirsty and starving; especially since acknowledging it wonít get me food or water. Hours pass and finally two nurse anesthesiologists (on was being trained) come over and start my IV. WOO HOO! I must be going in sometime soon. NOPE. Another hour passes and someone comes over to remove my cast. WOO HOO! I must be going in sometime soon. NOPE. More time passes, and Iím losing count of the hours (not really, but counting them sure has gotten a lot harder). Then itís twenty question time. And as a matter of fact, Iíd already been asked these same twenty questions during pre op and when the nurse anesthesiologists were over, but what the heck, Iíll answer them again. Itís not as if Iíve got anything better to do. She finishes her questions and leaves me. Guess what? Iím still not going into surgery.
A gentleman arrives (in a Johnny) and goes into the holding cell (note to self - the holding area had become a prison filled with CELLS. Is this some sort of pre traumatic stress trauma? hmmm?). The nurse begins her spiel to the man about doc being A LITTLE behind in his surgery(ha ha ha ha) and I resist the urge (against my better judgment) to tell him to RUN FOR THE HILLS AND GET OUT WHILE HE STILL CAN! Deep breaths, calm thoughts, itís almost time for me to go in, right? Then the day nurse says goodbye. Itís the end of her shift. Ah! Iíve now been here longer than she has. Over a full shift. This really sucks. But stay positive. Repeat your mantra. I am at peace with the universe. The universe it a kind and loving place.
Alas, a whole team of people comes over to me, checking my IV, asking me the same twenty questions that Iíve already been asked three times, maybe four, but whoís counting. Yes, I still know my name, birthday, my doctorís name, and why Iím here. Then, I mention that Iíve been waiting for nine hours (okay, it was about 8 Ĺ at that point, but whoís counting?) Did they think I was going to get in TODAY? How about a sedative? Well, we donít know when the doctor is going to be ready for you. I donít care when the doctor is ready for me! Iím READY for that sedative now! You just canít do this! Make a person wait for nine hours! Iíve been good! Iíve been very calm this whole time! Ask Joann! Iíve been calm, havenít I? Oh sheís been great. There, I want a freaking sedative! Well, we donít knowÖ I donít care what you don't know. This is wrong. Itís just wrong. Nine hours is too much to ask of any human being. Just give me the drug. Any drug, as long as it calms me down. I canít do it. I'VE CRACKED. THERE. ARE YOU HAPPY? (crying hystericallyÖ so much for positive thoughts and happy places)
Finally, they give me a sedative and wheel me into the OR. Whereís my doc? Shit! Someone else is going to cut me open. Whereís my doc? Breathe into the mask. Deep breaths. Finally, I was OUT!