(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)
It was with Lynard Skynard’s “Free Bird” and this last thought that I ended the last article, Part 2:
The last thing that I remember were these words from the stereo system:
If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on, now
‘Cause there’s too many places
I’ve got to see……….
Off to Happy Valley, USA I went……………………
“Mr. Hammack, wake up, wake up, the surgery is over!”
As rum-dumb and as groggy from all the anesthesia as I was, that was even better music to me ears than Lynard Skynard was to me some 4 1/2 hours previously! The unknown was over. None of the possible “side affects” seemed to have happened to me! I can hear, I think that I can somehow slur an answer out. So maybe no heart attack, looks like no stroke happened, and I am definitely alive!
As they rolled me out of that daunting surgery room, one of the surgical nurses told me that we will be rolling by my family and that they would stop briefly so I could say “hi” to them. Yeah, right, like I could be coherent after being under the influence of “the good stuff” for more than 4 hours! However, I do remember stopping briefly at the waiting room, seeing adults that closely resembled my family, muttering brilliant verbiage that probably was totally undecipherable, but nevertheless undeniably brilliant!
Once in the recovery room, I could tell that there was some concern over my lack of recovery. The recovery room nurse was hovering over my left leg, applying pressure to my groin area, and expressing concern that the bleeding will not stop there! He was also making calls to the surgery room or the cardiac floor for assistance. It was slow in coming, in fact I was in the recovery room for over three hours. The normal recovery time is about an hour.
Needless to say, the stress that my family and friends were feeling was tremendous. There were starting to be some frayed nerves precipitated from the lack of communication between the recovery room and the family waiting room. Among my family and friends, there was this overwhelming felling that something was something definitely wrong, because I was so long in the recovery room.
On the other hand, I was horizontal in recovery kind of stuck in a holding pattern, like I was arriving at JFK, ATL, SFO, or ORD (Chicago)! And on top of it all, I didn’t really didn’t give a dang! After all, I was still rocking in my head to some goooood Lynard Skynard that led me down the path to Happy Valley, USA! Surely nothing could be going wrong. Nevertheless, there was concern in the recovery room over my left groin bleeding.
After more than three hours in the recovery room, the nurses were able to get the bleeding in my left groin stopped, and with that accomplished I got to go to my hospital room. Now the time is about 8pm Friday evening, 12 hours after I first signed into the hospital! To say that this has turned into a very long day is a gross understatement to say the least!
As my family and friends assembled one at a time into my room there was noticed a collective sigh of relief that this procedure was now over for them, as well. They could see for themselves that I had made it through a very long, arduous, and intricate surgery, in turn making their Friday a very long and anxious ordeal!
From my standpoint, it was a welcomed relief to be back in my hospital room, seeing my family and friends, knowing that all of the worst was behind me. However, for those of you who have stays in the hospital for any length of time, arriving back in your room is only the beginning of what is in store for the patient! You can NEVER rest in the hospital.
Stay tuned for the “Friday night from Hell”, and Part 4!