Yesterday my husband had surgery and everything went well, for which I am truly and profoundly grateful.
Many people have been asking how he is (“Fine”) but I realized that nobody has been asking how MY day was. What’s up with that?
Since I’m sure my experience is AT LEAST as fascinating as any surgical patient’s, I thought I would share every detail of my incredibly long and stultifying day with you, my favorite people. I just know you’ll hang on every word!
- We wake up bright and early and zip over to the medical center, arriving promptly at 7:30 for R’s 10 AM surgery.
- Shortly after we arrive in the reception area, R gets a special one-on-one interview. It’s almost as though they were waiting for him! The interviewer is obviously really interested in getting to know him because he asks all kinds of personal questions, such as, “Who is going to pay for this?”
- Then he gives R a nifty personalized bracelet with his name on it and everything! Meanwhile, does anybody want to know MY name? What am I, chopped liver??
8 AM We are ushered to a private room where we wait. And wait. And wait some more.
10 AM Discover that surgery is going to be delayed. A lot.
Apparently, the patient scheduled for the first slot didn’t bother to find out her arrival time and waltzed in two hours late. (This must be a person who has never attended a meeting, gotten a haircut, or flown on an airplane.) Consequently, everyone else’s surgery has been pushed back two hours.
Still, the day is young and the procedure should only take an hour and a half so no big deal.
11 AM Suddenly there is a flurry of activity and R is whisked off to do all kinds of interesting things: Get stuck with IV! Have catheter inserted! Gag while tube is pushed down throat! Breathe into nasty mask! Get pumped full of drugs! Sleep!!!!
Here’s what I get to do:
- Walk down corridor through swinging doors to reception area and buy overpriced bottle of water from vending machine.
- Discover that no one is at the reception desk to buzz me back into the surgical area.
- Drink water and pace until Doogie Howser lookalike takes pity and lets me go through.
Once back in the room, I peruse e-mail, browse some online shopping sites without buying anything and drink more water.
- Answer call from surgical nurse who says things are going well (See what I mean? It’s all about HIM.) I will hear more when they finish in another hour or so.
- Go down to cafeteria to buy overpriced hospital food for lunch.
- Return to room.
- Eat half of flavor-challenged lunch.
- Peruse e-mail.
- Browse online shopping without buying anything.
- Watch Amazon Prime movie (“The Dressmaker” with Kate Winslet as glamorous seamstress returning to wreak havoc on the dusty Australian town which labeled her a murderer when she was a child.) Pretty good.
- Buy second bottle of water. Prop door open to avoid lockout.
- Surgical nurse says R is now in recovery and should be there for “about an hour”.
- The day is almost over. Breathe sigh of relief.
- Eat mini Toblerone as reward for all my efforts.
- R arrives back in the room, cheerful and groggy from medication.
- New nurse says he needs to rest for an hour and as soon as he can pee he will be discharged.
4–6 PM Wait for R to pee.
7-8 PM Continue waiting for R to pee. Show R pictures of waterfalls on iPad and run water in sink hoping his insides will get the message. They don’t.
- Doctor recommends inserting temporary catheter so R can go home. (Hey, what about ME???? My contacts are burning holes in my eyes, I’m hungry enough to eat more hospital food, and I can’t read with all these people hopping in and out!)
- Watch catheter insertion. Try not to hurl.
- Pack up rubber gloves, alcohol wipes, portable urinal, discharge papers etc.
- R is ensconced in special chair and escorted to my car by attentive nurse. Me? I get to walk by myself, thankyouverymuch.
- Realize my monovision is terrible at night. Can barely see road signs but luckily have a general idea where I am and R is alert enough to navigate.
- Arrive home without hitting family of deer strolling through neighborhood. Whew.
- Dose R with meds and tuck him in.
- Have teeny tiny vodka. After all, I worked hard today!
- Get up to empty the catheter. Was this a glamorous day or what?!?
- Say silent prayer to all the Carl and Clara Bartons out there. God knows, R has stepped up enough times to take care of me – it’s only fair I take my turn in the barrel.
- Zzzzz… until 6 AM.