Friday, June 26, 2009

What a needle-phobe does on surgery day

Of course there cannot be a major event in our lives that doesn't also come with some wacky stuff that only happens to us.

Remember my
Ugly Friend?

And the nurse's orders that I could eat and drink nothing after midnight before the surgery? Then how she promptly scheduled me first thing, so I had to haul my half-awake butt there at 6am?

Oh yes, then she gave me a surgical gown that was meant for the Incredible Hulk and exposed me in all the right places.

So, after all the usual questions and filling out the same forms for the third time... the nurse casually says that she needs to insert TWO iv ports.

All elevator music suddenly stops. Everyone ceases breathing. My mother's eyes widen.

Remember
this?

Somehow I get past the strange hum in my ears and ask in a half-strangled voice... "Umm, why do I need two?"


She politely explains that one is for the arm that will be operated on... they'll place a tourniquet to keep the local anesthetic in place.

The other is for antibiotics and the sedative.

I remind her that I have twice now asked if the sedative was required.
She tells me the local injection burns and the sedative helps.

Nah, I don't need the sedative.

"You can talk to the anesthesiologist."

Yes, Maam

~

So, two pokes later (minus the running around and screaming from the previous story), I finally get a chance to talk to Mr. Anesthesiologist.

Tip #1: DO NOT TICK OFF THE ANESTHESIOLOGIST

I did it with one simple question. (I'm efficient like that)

Do I really need the sedative?

He was immediately annoyed.

When I tried to explain that I'd rather feel the pain of the local injection rather than wake up hurling my stomach's non-contents... he brusquely replied that the sedative did not cause nausea and the local would be painful.

When I insisted on asking why (yes, why, why, WHY?) a sedative was needed... he could tell that the "it's just to help you relax" thing was getting him nowhere.

Little Miss Smartypants (that would be moi, in case you aren't familiar yet with just how obnoxious I can be ;) threw out a "well, I had a BABY without it". Which, ya know... made perfect sense in my mind. Cuz Itty Bit was slightly larger than my Ugly Friend.

I digress.

~

Mr. Anesthesiologist is clearly Ticked Off. He literally pushes his chair away from me, throws a "whatever you want" my way, and angrily walks off in a fit.

HUH?

Oh yeah... that last form I signed disclosed something about the surgeon and anesthesiologist making a profit from my treatment. Since I doubt administering sedatives is fun just for the hey of it (Well, maybe it is? My aunt once famously muttered something about "thousands of rhododendrons" as she drifted off), my first guess was that I'd promptly knocked his profit margin waaaay down by avoiding the Fantasia scene (umm, the Disney version, not the American Idol chick).

~

They wheel me in and strap.me.down. Seriously? Is this why they give the sedative? Cuz it was not unlike the lovely hopeless feeling of being strapped to the bodyboard after the accident.

Whatever.
I'm intent on being a most agreeable patient to prove that I'm right about the darn sedative. I'm tough, right?

Except Mr. Anesthesiologist is going to make sure that I know he's still annoyed.

He jerks my arm up roughly and starts cinching a tourniquet around my bicep. Now, I'm not overly proud of my eeny-weeny biceps, but he somehow manages to fold it over itself four times and pinch the heck out of my skin with the buckle. I suck in a gulp of air and mentally refuse to cave.

He doesn't bother looking at me, but instead drops my arm onto the metal operating table. Bruise #1.

Repeats the same with another tourniquet on my hand, and drops my arm again. Bruise #2.

By now the limb-smashing-into-metal commotion has alerted the nurse who fires him a look and pointedly steps next to him to stare at my arm.

Mr. I-Need-More-Fiber-In-My-Diet then grabs a humongous syringe with his left hand, and with his right hand singlehandedly RIPS.OUT.MY.IV.PORT.

Then jams the big sucker into a yet-uninjured space next to the previous poke that is now spraying blood everywhere.

Oh yeah... he was gonna make me sorry.

Is anyone counting? Yes, I have three stinkin' needles stuck in me so far.
One for the sedation I didn't need.
One for the local.
And one for revenge.

~

He pushes half the contents into my hand - swelling my fingers fat and making a bloody mess. About 5 seconds too late, he finally says sarcastically, "THIS'LL BURN".
Bring it on buddy.

The surgeon notices the rough treatment (arm drop again, Bruise #3), and half-apologetically smiles.

Ready to roll.

They stick a sheet up to cover the battlescene and I feel nothing but some tugging. The lights are super bright and Mr. Anesthesiologist is now at my other side - sulking and watching my vitals on the monitor.

Yours truly starts singing an obnoxious little smug song in her head.

I'm tougher than you are. I won, you lost. Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.

I blink and realize too late that the operating theatre lights have done a number on my peepers. A tear leaks out, slides down my cheek, and directly into my ear.

Annoying little bugger.

Mr. Anesthesiologist sees the entire thing.

No wait! That wasn't a real tear! You didn't win! I'm still nyah nyah nyah-ing!

No dice.
The guy actually caves. He pulls his mask down so I can read his lips.
His expression softens in concern and he says, "you tell me if you feel anything, okay?"

O-kay. Not feeling so good about the nyah-nyah-ing.

Seriously, it's over in 10 minutes and I'm flying out the door to recovery. Nurses are scrambling because no one ever refuses sedation and they don't know what to do with a live one.

"Why don't eat something? Your local will wear off soon and you need to get some Vicodin in you".

I am happily headed out the door with my mom/driver and hit up the Vicodin as instructed.

Which means I slept through most of the day, cuz I'm a lightweight like that.

You know how fuzzy it is coming out of a drug-induced nap, right? Try being sound asleep and having your 3-year old sneak over to you and rip off your IV bandage with fantastic speed. Lemme tell ya... I woke right up, hollered at the big dude who was supposed to be watching the little dude, and promptly cloistered myself in the bedroom for a safer nap.

~

If you're not too squeamish, can any of you medical peeps tell me why on earth they ran a single line of stitching through the incision, then poked it back up through the skin a half inch away on either side and just left it hanging out?

Cuz they didn't warn me. The tape came off pretty darn quick (yeah, living with a curious 3-year old tends to do that) and was tugging on these "loose threads" that I made the mistake of asking Mr. Daddy to help me remove. OUCH.

Now I am nervously suspecting that there is no way to get these bad boys out next week without cutting into skin again... anyone else seen anything like it? (In case you're wondering, nope, pulling one side does not move the other. Learned that the hard way)


I've been calling it my catfish. My sis thinks it looks asian. And my mother-in-law made me snort when she said it looked like that Diamondback pictcher's handlebar moustache :)

No, this is not the awful picture of all the bruising and the if there's a good side, this is it... from another angle, you can see that it's still swelled nearly as much as my Ugly Friend *ugh*

Probably the worst part is my unintended lack of blogging. I miss you guys and hope to catch up soon!

18 comments:

wife.mom.nurse said...

ok, looks like subcuticular stitches with the free suture ends anchored in the tissue at either end. This eliminates the need to make knots.

The stitch runs on the underside of the tissue. Don't pull on it too much. It is holding the healing tissue in place.Woven in and out like regular stitches...

The wound actually looks great. Hope it still looks like that today.

that anesth. doc sounds like an absolute JERK.

You go girl. Love the advocate you are for yourself.

Glad you are on the mend!!!!

~Julie

Paige said...

You're my hero! I would have begged for sedation! I agree about the catfish. : )

Following Him said...

I would have asked for another anesth dr since he was so MEAN! Golly gee...you did win though :) Hope those stiches come out soon and good luck trying to keep Itty Bitty from pulling the bandages!
~Elyse

McCrakensx4 said...

Glad that you are back and your little friend is gone and your wrist is feeling better. That Anesth dr is a big fat meanie! WoW! Way to take advantage of the situation. Hope you continue to recover nicly! Take care

And you are brave for doing it without seditation...I, on the other hand, am not that brave!

Pam D said...

Jerk. He better be dang glad he's a whole continent away from me. You're not a whiner, Rach, and I have a strong suspicion that you pegged the source of his antipathy towards you. It sounds as if he somehow confused the Hippocratic oath with the Hippocritical oath. Dear Lord in Heaven, this system is broken.
Anyway, you've risen yet another notch in my estimation, which puts you somewhere above the clouds. I'm praying that your healing is perfect, and that you NEVER have to see Mr. "Show Me the $$$" again. (what would he do if one of his loved ones had to deal with an attitude like his????).
Heal... heal.... heal....

Melissa said...

Wow I would of either wanted a differnet anesth doc or for surely had my eye on him the whole time! Wow what an awful thing to go through, it looks really good though and I'm glad that your healing quickly!

Cindy McNeal said...

number one: stitches / stitch looks good. It will pull out when you are all healed. Number two: you, my friend should have asked for a different anesthesiologist and Number 3, being that you didn't I think you should scare the *&^% out of him and just tell him you are thinking (but not quite sure yet) that you may need to sue him. And just kindly mention you already got the names of the others that were NOTICING his behavior.
Im glad your ugly friend is gone. To bad your ugly anesthesiologist isn't gone. For good. I think all anesthesiologists are assholes. Excuse the language. When my son had surgery on his ears, I had talked to the doctor. I was comfortable with that part because I had time to ask all my questions. I was nervous about the putting him under. I only needed five minutes of this anesthesiologists time. Just to make me feel better. So I told this to the anesthesiologist about to put my son under. He looked annoyed. What is you questions and can you shave them down to two minutes instead of five... I don't have five (is what he told me). I said, the only part I am scared of is the putting him under part. Is the medication that puts you asleep, pre-measured by the child's weight or is there a way to give them to much? (I Realize this is a dumb question, but I am a mom, and I was scared) HIS RESPONSE TO ME WAS: A Pilot knows how to crash a plane but he takes classes to avoid that! He gave me a crapy look and said, IN OTHER WORDS yes, he could be given to much and die, but I have gone to school to know how NOT to do that. And he walked through the double doors stating to his nurse, what a %^&*()# insult. NICE HU? I kicked myself that day and to this day for not kicking the double doors open, followed by kicking him in the balls and DEMANDING a different anesthesiologist . I should have stood up for my son when I really needed to. All I could picture during the surgery was him being mean and rough with my son because I made him mad. It broke my heart. It was the longest surgery ever. NEVER EVER again will I tolerate that. If I could go back I would have rescheduled. That is my biggest regret in raising my kids so far. That one moment that I felt like NOT GOOD ENOUGH OF A MOM. Maybe if I had said something he would have had better bed side manners to another mom in the future. :(

chicamom85 said...

I am sorry about the crappy doctor, that is really too bad. I am glad it is over for you though and I am sure you will be fine now. I on the other hand would have taken your anesthetic and someone elses. You are brave.

Anne

Sara said...

Wow, Rachel, you are way tougher than I am. I am so impressed! I've had good experience with Madeline's anesthesiologists, but I've seen some real jerks in my experience. Yours takes the cake though.

K said...

you are a brave girl!!!
( I am impressed )
Ughhh I dont know why we get so bossed around

He And Me + 3 said...

You are one brave woman and that doctor was a complete jerk and he would totally be hearing from me about his unneccessary behavior. So glad you are doing better. It does look like a catfish:)

Kameron said...

You are way more polite than I would have been. At the first sign of that attitude and the first rough jab and drop of my arm, I would have said, "Hey a$$hole, if you don't start acting profesional I am going to rip you a new one!" That is ridiculous. I'm glad it's all over and I hope your ugly friend is gone for good!

Foursons said...

Wow, I'm shocked. I don't understand why the nurse or surgeon didn't speak up for you. They are all creeps if you ask me. Glad you're getting better, hopefully the pain is subsiding and you're quickly getting back to your old self.

The Royal Family said...

Hi I found you through the RW&B swap, just running around looking for bloggy friends. I cannot believe this story, how rude! Ouch! Sorry ...

those are my random thoughts. I am excited about the swap, see you around!

The Buzz,
Brandy

Megan said...

What a jerk! I can't believe he treated you that way just because you didn't want sedation! Jeez! Glad you made it through!

NO idea why they would leave a string stitched in like that. That's rather odd.

Pam said...

What a complete a**!!

All of that was totally uncalled for. I'm with some of the others...a complaint is definitely in order. Imagine if it were Itty Bit. My Mother and sister are both nurses dealing directly with anesthesiologists during births and other surgical procedures. They have BOTH had to report reprehensible behaviour (numerous times)and did not think twice about it. However, there are alot of people who will sit back quietly and never say a word; regardless of whether or not they disagreed with the offensive tactics.

I'm stepping off the soapbox now and will end this with concurring on the "catfish" observation. Too funny.

Stacy said...

I really hope you are feeling better now! What a jerk of an anesthesiologist, too! Those darn lights got you, too. Darn it!

Lisa said...

Okay, like everyone else, I think you are a better person than me because I would have "sicked" Mr. Daddy on him the minute I got finished ripping him a new one. Moving on. Hope all heals as it should, and I am WAAAAY behind on blogging, too, if it makes you feel any better. :)