Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"Follow That Hallway All the Way Down, Then Make a Left, Then Go to Pre-Admissions, but Don't Take a Number, Just Let them Know You're Here."

My surgery is a week from today, which makes my date of operation July 19. This morning, I had my pre-op appointment, where they carted me from room to room, taking my blood, telling me a whole bunch of information about my procedure and recovery that I can't remember even now, let alone a week from now. (I was a little out of it, because I was not allowed to drink coffee before the appointment.) They told me I can't eat or drink anything for 12 hours before I go under, and I can't drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes for 24 hours before the surgery. That, my friends, is what I consider torture of the nastiest kind. If there's any time in my life where I'll need food, cigarettes and vodka and/or wine, it's in the 24 hours before they cut me open. BUT, on the brighter side, the surgery is laparascopic, so I'll only have three teeny incisions... UNLESS they have to cut me open-open and, I don't know, remove SOMETHING from my insides... But scarring should be minimal, and I should be up and about in three or four days. But I'm going to go ahead and tell Billy and my family that I'm still in pain for, oh, about a week or a month or so, so that they are forced to bring me whatever food tickles my fancy, some good movies, and maybe a piece of jewelry or two.

Hey, if you're gonna be operated on, might as well focus on the advantages, too, right? Right.

In going in for my "Pre-Admission" appointment, I should've had the foresight to bring with me a book or a magazine, or something to keep my attention during all that time I'd be stuck waiting for my turn to have my blood sucked. Because all I was left with were some ancient copies of Ladies' Home Journal and Good Housekeeping, whose wrinkled covers suggested that they had seen better days. And that those better days were roughly three years ago, before they were man-handled by thousands of nervous pre-op patients. Other than that, the hospital offered little pamphlets and brochures on surgeries, hospital stays, patient's rights. Which brings me to the newest development in my Freak the Fuck Out Episode: Left with no other options, I thumbed through the hospital's FAQ brochure. It tells you about keeping your valuables in a safe place, using the safety rails of your hospital bed, asking for assistance when going to the bathroom after an operation, and asking the right questions of your doctor and staff before the surgery. And I quote: "Doing surgery at the wrong site is 100 percent preventable." Uh, duh. It went on to advise you to communicate with the staff to ensure your surgery goes according to plan. WHAT? I didn't even CONSIDER worrying about that. UNTIL NOW. Thanks a lot, Hospital Staff.

At any rate, as we all know, it's really not a HUGE deal of a surgery. It's just a huge deal to me because I'm a big baby/fraidy-cat (and according to Anonymous - who is, according to my sitemeter, from my area! He may even KNOW me! - an attention/drama whore), so naturally, this surgery is virtually the ONLY thing I want to talk about. Ever. About how I'm having surgery, how I'm scared of it...You know, regular drama queen stuff. I'm sure I'm driving everyone crazy with it: Mom, boyfriend, coworkers, you readers. I'm doing my best, however, to not work it into casual conversations with relative strangers. Like, when I'm getting coffee at the local gas station, I try not let the conversation go like this:

Cashier: "That'll be $1.15."

Me: "Oookay [distracted, digging in wallet]. Here you go. Oh, and I'll be having a bilateral ovarian cystectomy next week. Thanks!"

Cashier: [Bewildered look on face] "Uh. Okay? Have a nice day? [under breath] Freak."

So far, so good. I think, though, that the only reason I haven't brought it up to the gas station attendants/waitresses/salespeople I talk to is because I just know they'll say "Oh, that's no big deal. Women get those all the time."

So, yeah, I should be fine, physically. Mentally? Not so sure. I just twist and turn and freak out over everything, so as you can imagine, my hyper-active, overly-analytical brain is having a fucking FIELD DAY with this one. But, really, it should be okay. In doing this surgery, I'll save myself the risk of losing an ovary (or both) to, according to my doctor, an overly-aggressive cyst. (I picture that "Overly-aggressive cyst" as a cyst with a mustache and a deep voice and big muscles, possibly with a tattoo and a missing finger or two, with a scarred face, due to a knife-fight, of course.) So it's more preventive, really. I'm not so stoked about the fact that said doctor wrote "POSSIBLE OPEN" after each "Laparascopic cystectomy" all over my pre-op paperwork, hinting that it's more than just a distant, worst-case scenario option. But I know she has to write it. According to the nurse with whom I spoke today, my doctor is "meticulous" in the OR, which causes them to run late, so I shouldn't count on my surgery taking place right on time. Which irritates me, because it just means I'll be laying around in a stupid hospital gown stressing out for longer than necessary. But it means she's thorough. Which, when it comes down to it, is way more important than punctual.

But here's a fun fact I learned during all of this. Actually, I learned it yesterday when I decided to do the dumbest thing a pre-op patient can do: Visit to diagnose myself with all sort of horrible things! Anyway, I learned that ovaries are the size and shape of almonds! Who knew? Not me. They fucking hurt so much that I was under the impression they took up a good 3/4 of my abdomen, basically filling up all the space, about 2 inches above and below my belly button and all the way around my entire midsection, which would explain why I get cramps in my front, but also why my back hurts so damn much when it's that time of the month. But now I find out they're teeny-tiny. How can something THAT SMALL make me hurt SO MUCH and make me SUCH A HUGE bitch? Ah, the wonders of the human body.

But everything is now set for my admission a week from now. I have to revisit the lab the day before my surgery, "to donate blood. Just in case you need blood during surgery," (Thanks, Mr. Flobotomy. I needed to think about bleeding out, too.) but other than that, all systems are GO. And now there's nothing left to do but wait. And think of ways to pry sympathy from my loved ones for as long as possible.


Bite Me said...

If was having ANY kind of surgical procedure, it would be the only thing on my mind! Talk away, we'll listen. Anybody that says anything else can kiss my ass. Really, kiss it, freaks! ;-)

Sunney said...

Absolutely. We're here for the venting. Isn't that what blogs are for anyway?

tiff said...

I'm convinced that mayo clinic isn't for anyone with any kind of imagination.

Bry said...

My advice after having a lump removed from my left breast when I was 19...get the muscle relaxant. It's "like heaven' (if not the real thing), seriously, I felt like I was floating on a warm, fluffy cloud. But, seriously though, it is good to is normal and very understandable to fear the unknown.

Tiffany said...

Anonymous be damned! Really some people! (said in best Southern ticked off voice)

You just go ahead and vent all you want... We're listening. I don't see anyone else complaining. Quite the contrary in fact!

Waiting does suck though. I think you should get a bell! For after... I've always wanted to do that. Lay in bed and ring the bell to get people to bring me stuff?

Just me?

anno said...

Ditto everything. The notion that one person's problems don't matter just because other people also have serious concerns makes no sense to me.

Go ahead, vent. We love to hear it. If anyone offers comforting drugs, take them. Make sure everyone is lined up to bring you ice cream or spaghetti or whatever you feel most like having.

Cheetarah1980 said...

I'm going to beg you to NOT take tiffany's advice. When my mom was recovering from spinal surgery she insisted on ringing a damn bell whenever she needed something. Our relationship has yet to recover. For the sake of your future relationships, do NOT ring that bell.

And you have every right to worry about what's going on with your body. And if venting helps, then freaking vent away.