I learned two vitally important things yesterday from my day surgery at City Hospital. This may sound really trivial to most but to me it was so important that I can’t wait to tell my family Doctor. Before I go into it you should know this. City Hospital is virus free meaning they don’t admit any Covid-19 patients. Our other two hospitals are handling all the cases so far, even with this latest spike. This is a good thing because of the backlog of surgeries that have been building up. My specialist is more than happy to be back in surgery trying to make some headway on her backlog.
All the protocols are in place and the hospital ‘feels’ safe to me. I am most impressed with the medical staff, they made me feel like I mattered. Usually I know I matter but these are extenuating times and its easy to get overlooked and lost in the shuffle. There’s a killer virus out there and we are all trying to cope with a life we couldn’t have imagined only nine short months ago. Each medical staff person that interacted with me was so friendly and helpful and compassionate. Even when they were trying to kill me with a malfunctioning blood pressure cuff.
The only thing that I hate the most in this whole world is that blood pressure cuff.. and liver. This has always been so, for me, going back many years. My family doctor knows this and the last time he brought it out he said “ok now picture yourself on a beach somewhere, with a good looking man at your side” (he does know me so well). I retort “its not going to work, I need to concentrate to keep from hitting you!” This is the truth and NOTHING hurts me more than that blood pressure cuff. I feel like my arm is going to explode and why doesn’t anyone believe me? I cry actual tears from the pain and do my best to hold them back, I have bruises to prove it, I’m not a baby. The third time, and second machine later, I looked up at my compassionate nurse and told her matter-of-factly “that’s it, you turn that on one more time, I will have to hurt you” and I meant it! Sadly though, she was the boss of me, and I couldn’t go down to surgery without that reading.
Once downstairs and getting ready for the OR the anesthesiologists come and introduce themselves, yes I had two of them. One was in training and on her final month, she introduced me to the needle protruding from my hand. This scenario played out again with my specialist, she having three bodies in tow, they were also learning. It has been so long since I have interacted with anyone, I happily welcomed all these new people into my little bubble. I felt like a rockstar, really, until that hateful blood pressure machine made another appearance.
Once in the OR I am hooked up permanently to that dreaded cuff. It gives a reading that I really liked because it didn’t hurt, turns out it was another malfunction. The pain was about to begin. Btw every person in that room was introduced to me by name. I apologized in advance that I wouldn’t remember their names, hell I couldn’t even remember what I had for breakfast. They said it had better not be anything, because you know the drill. They were all very friendly, little did I know I was in for the most excruciating ride of my life. Going in for a deep sleep and waking up deliciously in la la land, everything fixed, was my plan. Well so much for “the best laid plans” this was not happening according to MY plan.
The blood pressure machine on one arm and drugs being shot up my other arm, it was a tossup which hurt worse. I wish I was exaggerating but sadly that is not true, they didn’t understand why my other arm hurt as much as the cuff, but it did. When they proceeded with instruments into my body, I felt everything. What ever happened to putting me under, it’s something I have been trying to figure out. Long story short, the pain was bearable compared to that dreaded cuff. They kept asking me when I cried out and I was able to reply “not as painful as the cuff!” and it was true.
I go into recovery and there was Mary Anne, an angel sent from heaven. She goes to hook up that freaking cuff again, omg is this torture never going to end. She proceeds to put it on my lower right arm “are you allowed to do that?” I ask incredulously. “We prefer the upper arm but this is ok too” she says. It hurt, I’m not gonna lie but it was a bearable hurt that I could live with it. More important is the fact I didn’t want to lash out and hit her.
This was the most important thing I learned yesterday. I already forgot the second one, it happens, I’m a senior remember? I WILL NOT forget this one though! Hallelujah I am reborn and I can’t wait to enlighten my family doctor. Its the little things in our lives that make a big difference.. just sayin..
ps: all that pain medication they pumped into my arm that I didn’t think worked at all? I am happy to say that I had absolutely no pain whatsoever once home, even today I am pain free : )
A shout out and a heartfelt thanks to all the staff at City Hospital and especially to my specialist, you made me feel loved and cared for and that’s a fact.