Monday, March 11, 2013

Surgery Details

The first part of the surgery procedure has been completed. The second and final stage will be held early on Wednesday morning. I'll need to wake up at 5:30 in time to be at the hospital by 6:30. Buses don't run at that early hour, so I suppose I'll need to call a cab to pick me up.

I'm looking forward, in particular, to shedding the battery pack and embedded wires. The wire leads are currently implanted into my lower back in two separate places. The surgeon will use the same incision sites undertaken a week before to install the small pacemaker-like device pictured above.

Here's a recap, for the curious. Last week, I arrived for surgery a full two hours before the procedure began. A couple of days before, I was reminded to not eat or drink anything after midnight. Groggy because of the lack of coffee, I sleepwalked through the laborious check in procedure at the hospital. Fortunately, it wasn't long before my name was called. I was ushered inside from the waiting room, a journey that always feels for me like I am a rat in the middle of a maze.

Paperwork has to be signed in duplicate. Because of the risks involved with anesthesia, a variety of legal and medical safeguards are in place. A list of current medications, plus daily dosage is checked and rechecked. Three separate nurses spoke to me. One inserted an IV, the process by which the sedative would be administered. The anesthesiologist assured me that the surgery would be safe, but that I might have a headache after I woke up. This proved to be true.

I changed into a gown prior to surgery, though fortunately it was somewhat thicker than normal. Conscious of the fact that I wore no underwear underneath it, I tried my best not to bare my testicles to the rest of the civilized world. It's a bit difficult trying to carry on a normal conversation with someone while in such a state of vulnerability, even with a person who probably sees testicles on a regular basis. I might have said this before, but I think I understand now what it is like to undergo a full gynecological examination.

I was asked to wear special socks prior to the procedure. They had a raised tread on the bottom side, against the soles of my feet. I assume this was in place to cut down on the possibility of me slipping when eventually sitting upright on the floor in the recovery room. Shortly before I was moved from the lower level of hospital bed to the slightly higher level of the operating table, I lost consciousness.

This is what usually how it happens with me, or so I've learned. I worry for a brief moment that I'll have to somehow make a difficult upward climb, one where I must flop onto the padded cushion. Instantly and quite unexpectedly, I am out like a light.  

The surgery proceeded without a hitch. I was given a supply of Perocet for pain and an antibiotic to ward against infection. Sometimes the injection site itches like crazy. The real challenge, I have found, is in showering. Most of my back can't get wet under any circumstances.

I haven't had a full shower in several days, though I know I will again very soon. I've at least been able to wash my hair, though I must kneel over the tub on the hard tile floor to do so. Two more days until the second stage. Following that, everything will be in place and full healing can begin. I hope it takes less than a week, but that may be wishful thinking.

It is fortunate that the urology surgeon is a very attractive woman. I am less upset and fearful while in her company, distanced as I am from my worries. That is, as long as she is in the room. Her presence is a colossal distraction of sorts, at a time when distractions of any sort are most appreciated. Even so, she has made incisions into my lower back and left behind lingering pain and discomfort. I don't begrudge her for doing her job. If I feel a little resentful from time to time, the feeling soon passes.

From past experience, I've found that I usually end up babbling about Quakerism in the recovery room. The nurse who is specifically present to keep a watch on me plays the role of captive audience. My delivery and content must be interesting enough, because no one as yet has complained. As any reader of this blog knows, faith is important to me. It makes sense that one of my most important passions is constantly on my mind. That being said, I wonder what I'll start going on about at length this next time, particularly well before I am fully conscious.

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