Monday, October 13, 2008

Operating procedures

As I mentioned, I had some outpatient surgery under general anesthesia last week.  I thought some of you might find it interesting if I posted a bit about the stuff that they did to get me ready for the surgery.  

We got to the hospital at about 7.30 in the morning.  The registration process was held up a bit because I didn't care for the wording on the general sign-away-your-life form, but we eventually came up with something to add to it that made me more comfortable.  Then I needed to go have blood drawn, as there had been a misunderstanding about that the day I had gone up for all my pre-testing.

After those delays, I put on my bright pink hard-hat (there is lots of construction going on at the hospital and patients have to wear hard hats on their way through the construction zone), and we headed back to the pre-surgery room.

Of course, one of the first things I had to do was change into one of those lovely hospital gowns and place all my belongings in a plastic hospital bag.  Then the fun began!

I'm sure I don't remember everything they did before the surgery, but here are some of the "highlights:"

Mixed in with the other preparations were questions from a couple of nurses about various things (Rx, vitamins, allergies, etc) and well as some forms to sign.  It was interesting that they were obviously used to folks signing the form without any questions, because me asking questions surprised them a bit.

They put leg wraps on my legs to prevent blood clots and such.  They were made out of very lightweight material and velcroed around my legs from my ankle to my mid-thigh.  Once we were in the OR, they hooked the wraps up to a pump of some sort to keep the blood moving. 

Another nurse hooked up my IV.  I appreciated that they asked on which side I would prefer to have the IV.  The IV was the entry port for almost every thing with which they injected me.

Everything, that is, except the heparin.  That went into my upper right arm, and good gravy it hurt!  The nurse warned me that it would sting like a bee sting, but wowsers, she was right!  It's not sore any longer, but I still have a bruise there.  The heparin is an anti-coagulant, which was slightly funny to me after all the admonitions to avoid aspirin, garlic, or anything else that might thin my blood.  

Once I was all "suited up," Dr. S came in (and Jonathan came back to the room, so that we could both talk to him).  We addressed our questions and concerns about the surgery, receiving answers that varied in their "satisfactory" level.  Then both Dr. S and Jonathan disappeared and I was wheeled into the actual OR, where I scooted over from the gurney to the operating bed.

The OR was freezing!  I was already cold, so I was very thankful for the warmed blankets that they layered on top of me.  I don't remember much from the OR, as I think they got the put-her-out drugs going pretty soon after we got in.  I remember being bundled up and strapped in (for which I was actually glad - that bed was small, and I didn't want to land on the floor!).  The nurses were chatting with me, helping me to be relaxed as I fell asleep.  They said that if you're relaxed on your way out, you'll wake up relaxed as well (which proved to be true for me).  I remember them asking for my children's names, and I got stuck for a bit after #5.  I think I managed to get out the names of Blessings 6 & 7, but that was about it for me!

When I came to, I was back in the room where they had done all the prep work.  It took me several minutes, I think, to even recognize where I was.  And really, from the time I woke up until after we got home is pretty much a blur.  Dr. S came in and talked to me, the drugged one, but neglected to go out and talk to Jonathan.  I'm not sure how that happened, but by the time I got around to trying to remember what the Dr. had said to me, it was Friday afternoon and I knew both he and his nurse would be out of the office.  So I called today and got the scoop from wonderful nurse Tammy - she's a gem.

So that's my experience with operating procedures.  If you made it through my account, I hope you found it interesting!


Wayne and Genene said...

Thanks for your perspective, it pretty much coinsides with my own recollections of past surgery. It's great you had "good" people to prep you for something to which you weren't looking forward. God is faithful even in the small things. =}

Jessie said...

Glad everything went well and you are recovered/recovering.

Eryn said...

are you recovering nicely? i am glad it went well.

Laurel said...

Yes, I'm doing better and better. Thanks!