September 8, 2012 by rebelwithalabelmaker
Wednesday I had my operation for my legs. Don't worry, it was a small operation, according to Gary, who is clearly thinking of it from the other end of the scalpel because in my world anything involving two needles, four sticky monitors and a gas mask is a big operation.
"I mean 'small' as in how long it takes" says Gary.
"It took fourteen seconds, by my count" says me.
"You may have missed some parts." says Gary.
"Why would I care how long those parts are?" says me.
They gave me the choice of a spinal, or being put to sleep. I asked Gary what would be better for the surgeon and so less likely to result in screw-ups causing death. He said that screw ups causing deaths are "highly unlikely" (oh why do they never say "impossible"?) in this type of surgery, but that it's easier to operate if the patient's "not too chatty". I figured that since the patient in my operation was going to be, you know, me, the only way to achieve "not too chatty" would definitely be general anesthetic.
Of course, all of them emphasized that I should pick whatever anesthetic was most comfortable to me, and that risks of either one were minimal. Gary said "you're safer in the OR than you are driving to the hospital". Except I did not drive myself to the hospital (or home from it), and I'm not sure that the risk comparison holds true for other drivers.
It was fun to get to see the room (one of the rooms) where Gary works. Everyone was very nice. The head operating nurse even squeezed my hand when I looked nervous and said "You're doing a great."
"Thanks." I said. "My job is pretty easy."
Then, as an afterthought, "I think you're doing great too." Because she was. Nicest nurse ever.
And then the anesthesiologist came in and joined the resident and introduced himself as the other half of the the anaesthesiology team and I introduced myself as both halves of the patient, and he asked which way I divide (left-right or top-bottom) and I said definitely left right because everyone had been asking "right leg" over and over all morning.
And I also said "I throw up a lot" which is not how I usually introduce myself to people but Gary said to be sure to mention it to the anesthesia guys.
Favourite part of operation: Hands down, when the surgeon took out a marker right before the surgery and started labelling the dysfunctional veins. I told Gary that I should have put witty labels on all of my veins prior to surgery, which I'm sure would have been hilarious, but Gary said blah blah sterile field. I don't know about that, because they say you have to take off makeup, undergarments, and jewelry, but they say nothing about any witty labels you may be wearing.
Least favourite part of operation: That they ask you if you have any final questions in a room full of your husband's work friends. You see, I had a final question to do with the instructions regarding exercise, which were:
"No exercise whatsoever for six weeks–no yoga, no biking, no jogging… What, do you mean by 'trapeze'?… No, definitely do not do that. No exercise of any form. Why do you keep asking what I mean by 'any form'? I mean don't exercise."
You see, there are other types of exercise that I wanted to ask about that I was pretty sure Gary didn't want me discussing in front of his work friends… also, perhaps, he does not want me posting about that on the internet, so I will change the topic.
Posting something on the internet and then changing the topic is almost as good as not posting about it at all, I find.
So, in my haste to cover all of the important points of the day, I didn't clarify what kind of surgery it is. They were pulling out my veins, which you'd think would cause problems for circulation but it turns out that what's important is pumping the blood out and one way or another it will find it's way home. Like kids. Although so far it seems to mostly be pooling in large bruises under my skin which makes me look very brave and stoic. Which is nice because I like to be all "I am suffering in silence" but the trouble with that is if you are silent, how is everyone expected to notice you are suffering?
This is why I blog.
Of course, I can't actually post a picture of the bruised leg (I know, tragic) because the surgeon insists that I wear the World's Least Sexy Garter Stocking for 48 hours. Frankly, the surgeon is very bossy. No trapeze, wear this stocking, no eating after midnight before your surgery. And then I'm supposed to wear these other stockings for two weeks and only wash them in cool water and hang to dry and I said "but how will I kill the bed bug eggs?" and he said "Pardon?" and it turns out that he doesn't read my blog. Which is a good thing because now I can post whatever I want about him and so I can tell you that my surgery team was very good looking–even before I had any drugs. It was like Grey's Anatomy. Which frankly didn't give me a very happy feeling, because I don't know if you noticed but never once on that show do you see a simple surgery going fine. I have to say, they are all very pretty but I don't think they know what they are doing.
I don't actually watch Grey's Anatomy. I tried to in the beginning, but found it annoying to try to hear over all the giggling from Gary. I told him to be quiet because I was trying to learn about what the world of surgery is like, but that only made him laugh harder. I guess it's good that he finds it unrealistic because a) in the real world, we like drama free surgery, and b) it was nice to lie on the operating table reasonably sure that nobody had just been using it to conduct clandestine affairs. No exercising on my sterile field, thank you very much.
My main complaint about the day: When Eric had his ears done he got a popsicle. I got toast. This is age discrimination.
On the other hand, I got morphine, which it turns out is even better than popsicles.
Anyway, when I first woke up somebody asked me to come by and rate my pain on a scale of one to ten, and I said "four" then I thought "why did I say four, this is very painful" but then the guy started talking about giving me an epidural to get the baby out and then he turned green and flew away. The next nurse was much more–opaque.
She said "Are you in pain?" (kind of a stupid question, really), and then "Would you like something for it?" (also a stupid question in my opinion, but I guess she needs to ask). And then she pressed a button and I looked over to see my best friend ever, the Oh-Dance-A-Tron from when I had Hepatitis A last September (I wonder what will bring me to the Hospital next September?). Turns out it's a very versatile little critter and in addition to odansatron it dispenses morphine which is also a Good Thing.
And then the nurse looked down at the chart confused and said "I'm supposed to page Dr. Groat when you wake up" and was clearly trying to figure out whether or not I have cancer, but I explained that he's my husband and she gave me post op instructions to not do any housework for six months.
Perhaps she's trying to make up for having had an affair with him. That happens a lot in the world of surgery, as I understand it. According to the TV.