Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Alien - Part Six: Deja vu

When we arrive at the hospital on Wednesday two hours before the new surgery at least we know what to expect. Repeating each step of the process we greet the familiar staff with, “It was so much fun last week we decided to come back.”

I’m settled into a room in short stay. Janet, the nurse from last Tuesday, stops by to say hello while Kathy checks my vital signs. Then Janice appears at the door. Recognizing me as soon as she walks into the room, she laughs and says, “Oh no, not you - I should have gone to lunch.” She patiently works her magic on another IV.

I wait for an hour before someone comes to transport me. This time I’m in the “big kid” pre-op and surgery instead of short stay surgery. No sampling chocolates in this serious environment. I notice the humorless LPN who rolled me into pre-op the last time tending patients on the other side of the room. My LPN is cheerie, but the mood in the room is not light. Five or six beds with anxiously waiting patients are tucked in between cubicle curtains.

Anesthesiologists start swarming around the charts at the nurse’s station. One finally comes over to me and I give him my speech about nausea and dizziness. He seems only slightly interested when I ask him to look up the anesthesia from last week. “Sign here so I can treat you,” he says and then leaves. I have an uneasy feeling – I prefer the reassuring young woman to this guy. Once again I am rolled down the hall into a brightly lit room - this one larger and less cluttered. As they slide me over to the narrow operating table I see the anesthesiologist and feel a sting rush up my arm from the IV.

There are voices and people moving around. I can’t keep my eyes open, I feel dizzy. The same voice from last time tells me the surgery is over and before long someone is wheeling me down the hall to the elevator. It feels like the dips and turns of a wild amusement park ride.

Gary meets us at the elevator and follows my bed back to the room. Unlike last time I can’t keep my eyes open, can’t stand to have the lights on, and the thought of crackers and juice makes me queasy. My head feels like it will explode from the dizziness. Waves of nausea wash over me. People scurry around, but I can’t open my eyes to see who they are.

Six or seven hours later with an anti nausea drug in my system I start to feel like I might live. It takes another hour before I meet the discharge criteria. At a few minutes before nine-o-clock in the evening I’m the last short stay patient to go home.

My sense of humor returns the next morning after a crazy dream filled night on the sofa. In a message to my network of supporters titled “From the Dizzy Dame” I blame the anesthesiologist’s heavy handed cocktail for the tailspin after surgery.

As much as I didn’t want to go through the process again it was worth it. I can tell right away even with the gauze in place I am no longer a lopsided double D. At last I’m firmly on the road to recovery. Halleluiah!

1 comment:

  1. I've just read all 6 posts of The Alien. Bob & I are very concerned for you. It's been 14 years for me, but I can go right back just by reading your story. My lump was removed with clear edges and lymph noids clean. After 8 chemo sessions and 6 weeks of radiation here I am today. I'm sending good thoughts your way.