Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Hospitalization - Surgery

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.

Damn lawyers.

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.


  1. You're an excellent writer. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm rooting for you. I had my double mastectomy on 6/12/09 and am on chemo cycle #6 out of 8 for triple negative breast cancer. I have a blog...www.julieolsensjourney.blogspot.com that you are welcome to read/follow if you like. I post often about my treatment experience and related matters. I also have a blog about my 16 month old son which I started when I was on bedrest during my pregnancy...www.babyolsenchronicles.blogspot.com.

    Anyway, you have a super attitude which is so critical in this journey. You're doing great! Hugs! -Julie

  2. Hi Julie,

    I think the age your son is now is about the cutest age they go through. Of course, all ages are cute when you are dealing with them (yes, even the teenage years) but there is something about a toddler.....sorry you are facing this with such a young one - that has to add to your burden. I worry about my 12 year old having to see me this way but at least he understands what I have to fight for.

    I'll check your blogs out. Thanks!

  3. Hello Ann! Welcome Home, I hope you are feeling well. For all the chaos this brings, doesn't it feel good to know the cancer is removed from your body?

    Anyway, to answer your question, my "exchange" :) is scheduled for 13 Jan 09. I have be 6-8 weeks out from my last chemo which is on 12 Nov 09. I feel the light at the end of this tunnel....hang in there my friend - you will too....allow your son to inspire you.....

  4. Hello Ann,

    Trish forwarded your blog to me. I have forwarded your blog to my two girlfriends that are going through breast cancer treatments as well. Sharing and encouraging can be so helpful. Sending positive thoughts your way for total healing and a speedy recovery.

  5. Hey - 'pleased' to see they only took your breast and not your cracking sense of humour. I know it wasn't easy and this is tough time. Take care - Px

  6. Hi Ruth,

    I'm sorry your friends are "in the club" but I hope they enjoy reading about it from another perspective.

    And Paula, there are days...... :)


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