June 26th, 2011:

The Brief Oblivion of the OR

About 10 a.m. the next morning a strong and chatty female hospital attendant helped me climb onto a gurney, which she wheeled down various halls and onto the elevator to the OR area in the basement.  I was placed in a large recovery room/holding station, a veritable warehouse of breathing bodies on gurneys—all of us either getting ready for operations or recovering from them. I was there for maybe 20 minutes and then was wheeled into the hall where the operating team came to greet me.

Dr. Lin apologized for not taking me the previous day, but it would have been another team who operated on me. My anesthesiologist stopped to say hi and a congenial female doctor (older than all the young studs) on the team introduced herself. One minute I was basking in happy attention–the next, I was out cold. I don’t remember a thing until they wheeled me back into my room!

After the operation was the first time I felt any real pain, and even then it wasn’t bad, or I had a high threshold for pain. Besides checking your vitals, an attendant was continually coming into my room asking about my pain level. I had told them “2” until after the operation when I was about a “5″ or “6.” I took Vicodin later that day and was able to eat that night. I felt OK and told Heidi she didn’t need to get caught up in traffic to come visit me; I would be fine. I enjoyed watching the activity in the room. Another young patient had come in for the fourth bed and she and I chatted a little. Next to me, Fran had recovered a bit, and the young woman in the third bed was discharged and left with her grandparents.

My handsome anesthesiologist stopped in to check on me and asked about my reactions. The night before I had asked him about the sore throat from the throat tube used during surgery. He must have felt challenged to do it gently: I only had a slightly raspy voice, and I thanked him. We talked  about music—I asked what kind of music was played while I was under.  Some rock and some Beethoven, he told me. I asked if he knew the band Incubus, since I’d done one of their first interviews. He seemed impressed—I wasn’t just any old fuddy-duddy!

I slept well with the meds, which aided my forced position of being on my back with my arm, in a cotton sleeve, hooked up to the “coat hanger” for IV’s, etc. I felt cheery because I figured I’d be leaving the next day.  I had also heard from my children, and that always perked me up.

Before Heidi picked me up the next day, a young female physical therapist took me to a special room to show me how to go up and down stairs one foot at a time and how to hold the one crutch she adjusted for me. I was given a bottle of 60 Vicodin generic pills. Considering how woozy they made me feel and how little pain I had, I knew I would hardly use them.

 

Upcoming: Living alone and dealing with a right arm cast and a right leg cast.

 

 

 

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