K’s Anatomy

Who doesn’t love having surgery (without the silly drama)? I had a really good experience with my first surgery since little-kid tonsillitis. I opted to use a surgeon out of Cooley-Dickenson Hospital in Northampton where they have a spankin-new surgery wing donated by the man who founded Yankee Candle. It was nice. The whole experience. Of it all, I’m still most-impressed with how they treated Mike. There was never a question, never an issue of who he is or why he was at the hospital with me. Even after surgery, Dr. Go immediately found Mike and explained my prognosis and medical mystery (more on that later).

The day began with a way-too-early wake up call at 4:30 am. After getting dressed with loose fitting sweats and no deodorant, we got to the hospital in time. The gentleman greeting folks was helpful and informative and got me checked-in as the first surgical patient for the day. I’d be led into my room to change into one of those hateful johnnies, or in my case, a mini-skirt… enjoy THAT image ;-)

Nurse Dee did a fabulous job getting me shaved all over so my vitals could be recorded and the IV inserted. All-in-all a very smooth process. Even the jokes about not having hair on my dome. When we were done, she asked me if I wanted Mike in the room.

The surgical fun continued as umpteen people asked me to spell my name and recite my birthday. The anesthesiologist came into the room announcing HIS birthday, “Hello, I’m Dr. Feelgood, my birthday is two-nine-fifty-three. The joke was on him. I responded, “Ha! My name is Keith Paul and MY birthday is two-nine-seventy-five. Doc looked puzzled before he laughed, admitting he hadn’t yet reviewed my chart and had no idea we shared our birthday. He then doped me up on a relaxer.

My two surgical nurses–Heidi and Puma–came in cracking jokes as if warming me up for the doctor. Dr. Go came in to explain the day and what we should expect, so maybe these gals should consider moonlighting as stand-up comedians.

They wheeled me into the operating room where I shimmied onto the operating table. As I watched Dr. Go adjust the overhead lights, Dr. Feelgood knocked me out with a sedative. No countdown for anything. Bam!

During the surgery, Mike enjoyed a very colorful breakfast at Hadley’s Cafe Esselon. Ask him about it.

Next thing I know I’m lying in recovery as a nurse is checking in on me. Turns out I “missed” quite a ride.

Dr. Go quickly reported to Mike, sitting in the waiting room watching the surgery board, which eerily resembled an airport arrival board, to explain what had happened.

Instead of the routine cut-stab-poke-suck procedure that was explained to me, Dr. Go ran into a surprise.

(FLASHBACK: All of this was prompted by a nasty gallbladder attack I suffered last fall).

That surprise being a very nasty-looking, inflamed organ covered in scar tissue, holding three golf ball sized stones. On seeing this, Dr. Go was shocked that I was able to walk into the hospital on my own. She even had to scrape the thing from my abdominal wall. Convinced I had been experiencing regular attacks, she recounted the tale to Mike who reassuredly informed her  I had had just the one attack.

The entire procedure took about 2.5 hours, twice as long as expected. Dr. Go had to drag the gallbladder through an enlarged incision in my navel.

The “worst” part of the experience was the grief Mike got at CVS. Apparently they do not operate on a networked database, where my insurance info would be stored since I have had prescriptions filled at another local CVS. The pharmacy technician struggled to understand the script is for me and the insurance is in my name.

It was a good surgery. Recovery has been great (I love percocet, BTW) and I’m slowly regaining strength and even eating pizza. Hey, it was one slice.