Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

Yesterday I had my first *real* surgery experience. I had my wisdom teeth removed when I was 23, but according to some people, that doesn't count. I think anything that includes an IV should be officially categorized as a "major, scary, surgical experience." But that's just my opinion.

So. Those of you who know me well know that I am deathly afraid of needles. As it turns out, I am also a "passer-outer" which is the official medical term for those of us who see a needle going into our skin and immediately lose conciousness. I have passed out at the dentist, the eye doctor (that creepy glaucoma test where they press on your eyeball totally wiggs me out), the dermatologist, and the OB/GYN. You can imagine how much I was NOT excited about having my gall bladder removed - a procedure that definitely requires an IV, in addition to several surgical instruments being inserted into my abdominal cavity. Also, they would be REMOVING AN ENTIRE INTERNAL ORGAN.

Darrell had to work the day of my surgery (because it was the week of July 4th, he couldn't get the day off), so my dad took me to the hospital the morning of my surgery while my mom kept the boys. I swear I was the only person in the whole hospital, which was kind of nice, but a little creepy also. I went right into the surgical prep area, and met several very nice nurses who instructed me in all of the humiliating things I needed to do to get ready for surgery (pee in a cup, get naked, put on a horrid, ugly mumu that dozens of other people have already worn, and then try to hold it together so I wouldn't moon anybody). I proceeded to share my tendency to pass out (I have learned that medical personnel prefer that you share that information up front), to which they responded with extra TLC (numbed my hand before inserting the IV) and a delightful "you will know what's going on but you won't care" drug directly into my IV. Within just a few minutes, I was feeling no anxiety. I was even able to get off the rolling bed onto the operating table without my heart stopping (which would have been completely impossible without that drug - I wonder if it comes in pill form for every-day use?).

The next thing I remember, I was waking up in the recovery room. My vision was blurry and I had an oxygen mask on my face. The surgeon came to tell me some very important information that I don't remember at all. They gave me saltines to eat and apple juice to drink, but my mouth was so dry I couldn't even chew the saltines up. It made me think of that game you probably played as a kid (a favorite with youth pastors during all-night lock-ins) where you chew up a bunch of saltines and then the first person who can whistle wins. I couldn't have whistled to save my life. It was kind of comical in a "I can't breath and I'm choking and also my stomach hurts and who are you again?" kind of way.

Then it was time for me to put my clothes back on and go home. At some point (I don't really remember when), my dad had arrived in the recovery room. The nurse asked me if I wanted her or my dad to help me get dressed. Before I could respond, my dad had launched himself out of his chair and was halfway out the door. Guess that answered that question!

Fully clothed and armed with a prescription for high-powered narcotics, I arrived at home and went immediately for the couch. All in all I was gone from home for four hours. That is just amazing. Thank God for modern medicine!

1 comment:

  1. So glad your surgery went well!! I had a delightful recovery room drugged experience as well, but in more of a funny way... In college, I had to have surgery on my bladder, and when I came to in the recovery room, I told the nurse that it looked NOTHING like on Grey's Anatomy! :-P I wonder how many hilarious stories they have like that to tell at home, like we do with our kids at school?! :)

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