7/19/2008

Reflections on My Surgery – Part One



As stated previously on this blog, I had back surgery on July 10th. It was my second back surgery and one with which I am still in the process of trying to recover. I had to be in the surgical prep area by 6:30AM. I was asked a variety of questions; are you allergic to blah, blah, blah, what is your religious affiliation, and so on. It was standard procedure and I expected it. What I didn’t expect was for the administrative assistant to tell me that surgery is not an exact science and if the unexpected were to happen, do you have a living will. Well, no…I do not. But, I should have. Anyway, she made me write one up right there. Under no circumstances was I to be kept alive under artificial means. I was already nervous…but, damn, now I was nervous to the 4th power.

I was then directed to my little cubicle where I would change clothes, dress in hospital gown. I laid down on the very uncomfortable hospital bed, where upon the nurses would extract blood from me at a rate of what appeared to be a liter every 15 minutes. Well, it seemed that way to me. I had a variety of people come in and talk to me. The anesthesiologist came in, talked to me what he planned to do and if I were to wake up during surgery (Dear God, I didn’t need to hear that), try and blink my eyes as many times as possible to let them know. He was worried about my sleep apnea. Now, I was worried about my sleep apnea. I had the priest come in and pray with me. I had family in to talk and the one friend I had there came in and talked. All this time, I was wishing we could get going. But, if things followed pattern of last time, it would be that afternoon before I had surgery. Pretty soon, they started giving me Demerol. Let me tell you, after getting that in my IV, I no longer cared about the back surgery. I was on cloud nine, twelve, sixteen and on, and on.

About 15 or 20 minutes after 9AM, the OR nurse came and told me I was about to go to OR. I was completely drugged out by this time on Demerol. I asked why was I going to to OR. He laughed and asked how much Demerol have they given you? I remember being wheeled very quickly through different corridors, passageways and then the OR. It was very cold in that room…too cold I thought. It was here I finally saw my surgeon. He was friendly. Usually he had always been very professional with me and no small talk. He seemed very at ease, and that, conversely, put me at ease. The anesthesiologist came to me and asked if I was ready. I asked him, “Do I have a choice?” He laughed and put the mask over me. I remember him saying, “Are you getting drowsy?” I think I said, no, not really. He then did something with the machine next to me and then he said, “nighty night.” And that was the last thing I remembered until I woke up in the recovery room.

More on what transpired in my next entry.

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