I had to be to the hospital early today. The OR was scheduled for 7 AM. I was told to show up at the ER door at 5:15 (the Outpatient doors do not open till 6 AM).
A little back and forth revealed something interesting...
"You should be here at 5:15, the procedure is scheduled for 7.", says Liz (the nurse).
"AM or PM?". I ask.
"Oh, in the morning, of course. The bad news is you will need to go to the ER to get in. No other doors are open at that time, not till 6."
"I had a 3:15 PM appointment today. Was told I could come in at 2:45 to get the paperwork done ahead of time, and it is now 4:30 and I still haven't seen the anesthesiologist.", I casually mention.
"Well," she says "Try to get here between 5:15 and 5:30... but no later than 6."
We got there at 5:10. There is surprisingly light traffic in a city of 20,000 at 5 AM. I spent a lot of time waiting.
All of the questions asked yesterday at the pre-op testing appointment are asked again, two more times. Making a grand total of 5 times in 2 days (or 7 times in 3 if you count the doctor's office visit on Wednesday). Remarkably, my answers have not changed at all. Though I detect a slight, but steady, rise in blood pressure.
I am asked to sign a consent to allow three nurse trainees observe. I should have charged $20 apiece but they are pretty and I am male so...
The OR nurse drops in and tells me the doctor has arrived and is changing from his street clothes. He'll be in to mark the correct knee (I hope) soon. I say, "as long as he isn't still sobering up..."
Her quick reply sets me straight, "That was pretty much done 2 hours ago."
Within a half hour, all is ready and I am wheeled into the OR...
... And I wake up in Recovery. In excruciating pain. Severe and agonizing. At least as powerful as I felt in the moments after I broke the blasted knee. But persisting longer. Much longer.
Steven, the Recovery Room nurse, offers me drugs. I offer him my first born if he will hurry. He demands cash. We are jesting... I sincerely hope.
Two doses of dilaudid in 15 minutes reduces the pain level to tolerable. I no longer feel I will pass out. I discontinue pinching my thigh and digging fingernails into my right palm in vain attempts to distract my mind from the knee pain.
Cottonmouth sets in. I ask for some water. Steven hesitates, it is too early to allow me to ingest anything. Steven likely does not like to clean up after the choking and vomiting. I insist that I only need some to wet my mouth, that I am dryer than the Sahara. I am given a sponge swab by the prettiest of the observer nurses. It helps.
Later I am allowed first ice chips and then shortly thereafter cold water to actually drink. I decide I will live after all.
I am home now and the pain is still there but lessened. I can even hobble about (very short distances) without the crutches. Yes, I can now put pressure on that leg.
Life is good.
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago