The Surgery: Part II

The pager was buzzing. Now we had to make our way to patient registration. A nice lady behind a desk explained to us about the procedure and how our insurance would be applied to the charges. She verified some information with me and then we got to fork over the money. I’m going to go on a tangent right now and say that my husband and I are very blessed to have great insurance benefits through his employer. Thank God or otherwise, we would be facing an enormous mountain of medical bills for a very long time.  Back to the nice lady…at this point it must have been close to 11 a.m. and twelve hours had already gone by since my last drink of water and bite of food. We were finished after a few more minutes of questions and instructions, before we headed back out to the lobby to wait. The next step was for the nurse to call me back and they would set me up for the surgery to begin. I remember the TV was on and the morning news was blaring from the speakers. I vaguely remember the newscaster saying something about there being snow in 49 out of the 50 states today. I had a headache at this point and was ready to have the surgery over with. A nurse comes out and calls our number along with another person’s number. The news isn’t good – the doctor has been delayed (she didn’t say why) and is about 2 hours behind schedule. So much for my 12 p.m. scheduled surgery. My husband asked her if there was anything she could do to get me fluids or food, since I was not feeling well due to lack of water or food. She said she might be able to get me back to a bed sooner but I would still have to wait. Time dragged on. I was shifting around in my seat, trying desperately not to think about the thirst I had or the growling of my stomach turning on itself. However many minutes passed, I don’t know but not soon enough, the nurse finally calls #3. That is me! I was shuffled off (my husband was allowed and came along) from the lobby to talk with the lady who would be my nurse for the rest of the day. She took me to a small room, barely big enough to hold a desk and a chair, to ask me a few more questions and make sure my armband had the correct patient info on it. Yes, this is my name and age on the armband and yes, I am feeling very sick right now, thanks for asking. I was hungry, thirsty, frustrated, tired, grumpy, anxious, and nervous. A few more minutes of waiting and before long, I was dressed in a hospital gown with hospital socks and laying in a hospital bed with an I.V. hooked up to my arm. I could almost instantly feel the liquid (I don’t know what it was but hopefully it was just water) being soaked up by my body and started feeling less sick. The only thing that didn’t change were the awful hunger pangs in my stomach. They couldn’t give me food and the I.V. didn’t make me feel any less hungry but nonetheless, I was better off than sitting in the lobby and eventually passing out. The nurse had me settled in and said the wait was going to be long. At least she was honest now. She wanted to know if I wanted to watch any movies or listen to music. I declined and tried closing my eyes to rest and not think about the next few hours. My husband left to grab some lunch and the ice machine which we had left at home that morning, not thinking I would need it until we got home after the surgery. He eventually came back and sat by my bed until it was time for surgery. We waited until 5 p.m. until the anesthesiologist came and said he would take me back to the operating room. My husband kissed me on the forehead and I really can’t remember if any other words were exchanged. The anesthesiologist walked me through some double doors and opened another door to the operating room. Everything looked just like you see on TV or in the movies. It felt surreal. The culmination of almost 5 months of injury, pain, instability, and virtually no ability to do much other than swim with a buoy had come to an end. I stepped up to the operating table, cold and sterile. The anesthesiologist called in everyone else and a surgical technician was giving me warm blankets and strapping my arms down….that was the last thing I remember.

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