Back to my waiting room, and more fussing with Nurse McGravity. Again, I said my name, my birthdate and what surgery I was having. I was doing okay but my husband was getting nervous. I could tell because he was making dumb jokes about the computer system in between grimaces.
Dr. Raja came by, looking all rock star and everything. He is clearly well-liked. He was patting people on the shoulder and people were preening for him. He came over and warmly said hello, and then took out his medical sharpie and in true rock star fashion - autographed my breast.
I felt so groupie-like.
Then came a flurry of paperwork. I had to give my husband the power to decide what to do with me if something went wrong, and then sign a zillion things that I had no time to read, and probably didn't want to anyway.
I do remember having to put my little initials into hand-drawn bubbles in every spot where the word "right" appeared. Right mastectomy, AS. Right sentinal node biopsy. A.S. Right axillary dissection. A.S. Right tissue expander. A.S. I did that in quadruplicate on numerous pages.
Really, how often do they cut off the wrong body part to have to force people to say their names, birthdays, surgeries to everyone they meet, to force the doctors to put their initials on said body part, and then have you sign numerous forms confirming what is to be cut off? Is it really that big a problem?
I'm guessing no. I'm guessing one drunk or stupid doctor cut somebody's right kidney out when it was supposed to be the left 15 years ago, that hospital got hit with a multi-million dollar malpractice suit, and now every hospital in the country forces their patients to go through this rigamorole.
In comes the anesthesiologist, and I recognized him right away. A year ago, in August, I had an appendectomy, and this was the guy who put me under back then. That was my first surgery ever, and all I remember being concerned about back then was that I not get a scar.
And, I didn't. Is that irony?
Anyway, the Drug Doctor and I chatted a bit back then - that had been an unplanned surgery so he had to be sure I hadn't eaten, etc. He found out I worked in a school and told me his wife was an art student hoping to become a teacher. I told him how hard those jobs were to come by.
So, this time he had that file and looked at it and said, "Oh, I've seen you before." and I said, "Yep, your wife was looking for a job." He said, that yes, and she had gotten one and "I'm amazed you remember me."
I mean really, do people come into contact with anesthesiologists so often they can't remember them? I told him that he sees many patients but I've only seen one anesthesiologist in my life. (I suppose that will change though). Anyway, he said that everything had gone smoothly last time and they'd just do the same thing this time, I said that sounded good to me.
So, they put my little hat on, and then the nurse came in an injected something into my IV that would relax me. I kissed my husband and they started wheeling me in. The nurse asked me if I was relaxed and rather than smiling at her, tears slid down the corners of my eyes. My breast, which had gotten me attention, had gotten me boyfriends and a husband, which had fed two babies, had my toddlers nuzzle against them, and which I'd hoped to rest my grandchildren's little heads against - one of them was going to be gone. I'll never be the same. I wiped my eyes and then....darkness.
My here and now
1 day ago