Flip Side: Part 3 (8-19-17)

Back in pre-op, we were just waiting for them to clean up the OR and it would be my turn. The anesthesiologist came to talk to me and we discussed everything from my past medical history to any aches and pains I might have in my joints. I had been having some problems with my left knee and hip when I ran but I didn’t mention it. I saw Staci give me The Look when I didn’t disclose. I quickly looked away. Laura, my surgical nurse came to put an IV in. I have great veins but once again my left side decided, “No blood for you!” She got the needle into the vein at my wrist but my blood fountain refused to flow. She explained to me that anesthesiology wants the IV put in as distal as possible in case there are issues with swelling. It it’s too proximal, they can’t go more distal at that point. Well, my veins chose not to give a rat’s butt about what they wanted and she had to get permission to put the IV in my cubital fossa (great word for elbow armpit). I also had to answer the same three questions for a half dozen other people (full name, date of birth, what procedure are you having done today and where). I met everyone from the resident doctor in training (Dr. Knapp-who by the way, Staci could not keep talking about how funny it would have been if he was the anesthesiologist. I didn’t get it at first, but Dr. Nap, putting you to sleep, very funny), all the nurses, anesthesia, Dr. Kwong, everyone. So much attention just for me. I felt so loved. With the IV in, the OR clean, we headed in. Someone warned me it was about to be like a Nascar pit stop once we got in to the room and they were so correct.

As I was being wheeled in now fully undressed except for my crab socks, my anesthesiologist at my head, she said she was going to give me a little something. In it went and the realization that I don’t like anesthesia began. At first it hit my feet. It felt like pressure but from the inside. Then it moved into my chest, squeezing, pulsing and weird. Just as I was about to tell her that I was having an allergic reaction it dissipated and I felt nothing. She told me it was morphine and gave me another shot. Probably way more than I needed considering I eat pretty clean, exercise a lot of toxins away and hardly ever take medications, even NSAIDS. Now in the room, it was like Nascar. I had two people at my legs wrapping them with these massaging pads. Dr. Kwong and Dr. Knapp were consulting in the corner. My anesthesiologist was explaining that she was now going to put a mask on me so that I could get oxygen saturated. I did exactly as she asked breathing in and out fully. I’m sure I sated at 100%. She kept telling me I was doing a really good job and it didn’t seem patronizing. I started to think about being knocked unconscious and the major surgery I was having and a bit of panic set in. I just allowed myself to have the thoughts and feel the feelings and breath the O2. Then she said, “I’m going to take care of you” and that’s all I remember until I woke up.

I guess things took a little longer than anticipated due to training Dr. Knap and pathology being backed up. Staci kept all my “people” informed of what was going on. She rocks. Instead of 3pm, it was 530pm when I was rolled into post op. Everything is very fuzzy when I woke up. Staci had already had me authorize her being there to hear all the doctor’s orders and things because she knew that my mind would be in the La Brea Tar Pits. At the time, I felt like I was hearing things but time would reveal that very little came in as real. I needed to go to the bathroom and I felt like I was walking forward but I was crab stepping sideways. I also peed bright Mountain Dew neon. Dr. Kwong had warned me thank God. It eventually dissipated to Baja Blast blue green and then went away. Had to get rid of all that nuclear radiation. Dr. Kwong had also prescribed me painkillers and I wanted to read the instructional pamphlet before I just blindly took them. I was already concerned over my addictive personality and taking opioids, and I had talked to her about it. I figured if she still prescribed them, then they were what she felt I needed. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to read the instructions. Of course trying to tell Staci I wanted those all I could say was, “I want the…the…the words.” Good thing she could interpret anesthesia. I had little pain but did not like the way the anesthesia made me feel. In fact over the next few days that was what was the worst trying to get that out of my system. It was probably too much and I just really didn’t like it. Made me feel super slow physically and mentally.

Once I was cleared, Staci and I headed back to the hotel. Again, she was super right in having the VA set up a room for that night too just in case. I got into bed and sat there watching something on TV (I don’t remember what it was) and eating Triscuits, Greek yogurt, string cheese and my leftover Marionberry Poppyseed cake (the most divine food in the world according to my foggy memory). Staci gave me my meds every 4 hours throughout the night. Have I mentioned she rocks? Next morning, we packed up and headed to eat at the Greek place that Dr. Kwong recommended. It was also divine. Staci drove us home and I was greeted by my loving family. Dad was wearing his new pink watch and Dean had a pink sweatband around his wrist. The next few days I took it easy, walked a bit and weaned myself quickly off the narcotics. I really never want to have general anesthesia again.

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