(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)
July 9th, that was the day, and for many reasons a day that I will never forget!
What started out to be a typical summer Friday turned into anything but that. I was told to report to the second floor, outpatient surgery, at 8am for pre-op and processing.
I make sure that I am at the hospital with about 15 minutes to spare so that I can find my designated place to register. I got through the registration process reasonably quickly. However, there were a few things that I found quite puzzling. When I first get to the registration window and tell them who I am, they gave me a slip of paper. I look down at this piece of paper and I notice that I have been designated and relegated to be known as patient N. That is a little unnerving to know that I have been reduced to just one letter, “N”, until I finish registering. So there you have it, I am now patient “N”!
Really is there that much concern that my privacy would be compromised or stolen at a hospital? After all, in just a few hours I am going to “Butt Naked and Spread Eagle” up on surgery table for the whole world to see!! Additionally, I am going to have TV cameras, work tools, and wires threaded up and into places that have never been open to any one or anything! Having myself “Butt Naked”up on the surgery table is the kind of privacy I am really much more concerned about, rather than exposing my identity to others around me! To me that was an exercise in nonsense.
Anyway, off I go now into my little cubicle for the finer part of this pre-op adventure. To start with, I am instructed to get out of clothing and slip into that fine hospital floral patterned, backless, knee length, and I might add, with ties and snaps, designer gown! Man did I look great in this hospital contraption!
Next in this process is the part where you get the IV inserted into your arm for the impending surgical process. Sometimes it can feel like she/he is inserting a telephone pole into your veins. However my “needle girl” was obviously skilled at searching out and inserting that seemingly footlong IV into my left forearm. It was almost pain free!
It is approximately 8:45 am and now all the pre-op items have been accomplished! It appears that I only now I only have about 1:15 to wait for the procedure to actually start. Which, in my head, I am thinking that in about 30-45 minutes they will be rolling me out of this location and heading me towards my destiny meeting with the Electro-physiologist, the surgery room, and the medical technicians that will be assisting him in this 4 hour, inter-artery invasion into my beloved heart.
Now the clock is ticking. I am keeping a very close watch on the clock that I can barely see at the nurse’s station through the skinny slit in the curtain dividers. Ten o’clock comes and goes, no gurney coming for me. Odd, I am thinking, the procedure was scheduled to begin promptly at 10 am! Oh well they will be rolling into my small confines shortly, so I just hang out with the family.
It was 11:15 am before the bell rung for me! It wasn’t a sense of panic that I felt, but there was some sembelence of “this could be more serious than I originally thought” running through my brain. The NASCAR boys might equate this thought to, “he’s having a helmet fire” right now!!
Stay tuned for Part 2!