George Hates Surgery — First Time
So last week I’m at the doc and she’s doing the cough test. Always wondered what
that was about — you know guys… where the doc rams a finger up your testicles and says,
“Cough”. Now I know… she discovers I have a hernia. A hernia? I haven’t
picked up anything heavy, don’t feel any pain and what is a hernia? She explains
it’s a little hole in my abdomen. Yuck… anything coming out??? Nope but it’s
good to get it looked at by a specialist — these operations are routine, same day service
— in by 8 out by 4 — all work done on premise. I’m thinking this sounds good, put
a patch over the leak and I’m good to go. Two days later I’m dropping my pants
before this specialist. He gives me the routine — no problem… EXCEPT since you’ll
be knocked out for an hour — you could die. “But I haven’t lost one yet!!”
Those were comforting thoughts. What if I didn’t opt for surgery can I still jog,
bike ride and stuff… Sure, just if you feel something coming outta your stomach take
your two hands; place it over the spot and press it back into — that was as far as he
got. I scheduled the surgery.
2/26/04 8:00am — I waltz on in to St Jos. in Burbank. It’s around the corner from
NBC and “The Tonight Show” just past Bob Hope Drive. The place is nice, shiny — very
clean — I like that in a hospital. You check in and pay some money — not sure I liked
the part about “Do you have a will filed with the hospital?” They send you up to “Short
Stay”, I keep thinking “Short Ribs” cause I haven’t eaten or drank anything since the prior
evening. Everywhere — nice, friendly people working there. I get up there, check
in and get the famous medical gown. The one were your butt hangs out. Well… I
was determined to put this thing on so there’d be no butt viewing. I wrapped that thing
around, tied that sucker — done!! Hop into bed; turn on the tube to see a Bonanza rerun
where Little Joe and Hoss are asking Ben for permission to escort someone in danger.
Hmmm… I flip around and there’s “Tony Little” selling his Gazelle exercise machine.
He’s an odd one — this little stocky guy with a ponytail claiming to be America’s Fitness
Guru… I’ll pass. CNN is running specials on the Passion of Christ. O yeah — today
is Ash Wednesday. I watch. In comes a nice Philippino nurse with needles and
stuff. She starts to do her stuff, an I.V. and shots. Then she zeros onto CNN
and the “Passion” special. She’s all excited about the movie bla bla bla. Excuse
me — I’m down here!! Eventually she sticks me with all the needles and tubes and off
Few minutes later some orderly whisks me away. I’m lying on the gurney as they wheel
me down the hall — staring at the ceiling with that common movie shot of the florescent
lights whizzing overhead. I’m thinking — is there any other angle they could use in
those scenes? Nope — that’s it… florescent lights, one after another… Maybe
they ought to consider some murals, maybe little signs “Best Wishes for a successful surgery…
“Within a moment I get wheeled in, picked up and plopped on the operating table. The
mask goes on and they tell you to breath normal. I feel half a dozen pairs of hands
begin to work me over. The last thing I remember is someone saying — “this knot’s
too tight, cut it…” Lights out…………….
Voices — lightness — darkness…. Eyes open — eyes close. Groggy, groggy, groggy —
thirsty, thirsty, thirsty… I wake up only to go back to sleep. Go back to sleep only
to wake up — back and forth — back and forth. There is no sense of time other than
a glimpse of the clock makes me think its 3 plus hours later. A nurse comes by asking
how I feel. Maybe I said something — maybe not. Slowly you come back to consciousness
and realize you’re back in your room. You just lie there and recover. Nothing else
to do, nothing else you can do — just recover… You toss — you turn, again and again.
Total cotton mouth, you wanna drink all the water there is but it tastes so weird due to the
anesthetic still in your system. You don’t drink any… Slowly you begin to get your
baring. Nurse comes by and checks in telling your surgery went very well and you in there
for about an hour. She tells you to breath deeply in and out so to air out the lungs.
Move your legs to get the blood moving around. Amazing… Everything was very
organized—tight, like a Swiss watch. Total professionals… I was impressed.
I thanked anybody and everybody that came by. My life was in their hands and no one screwed
up. What more can you ask for? Then all of a sudden PAIN in my gut.
WOW — like that burning pain from doing too many sit-ups times 50. Your body is in an
adrenalin mode — it took a hit and it’s reacting. I wanna stretch out — or punch something
but you can’t move… You feel sick to your stomach but nothing you can do. As the
time passes you start getting a handle on things and then --In time you learn how to function
with the pain. The real sign you’re getting a handle on things is when you have to go to
the bathroom. It indicates that your body is functioning and that is a good. Now I
start thinking it’s time to vamoose the hell outta here. They check and since I did the
bathroom stop — I’m good to go. I had arranged for friend Melissa to pick me up.
Her boyfriend had a pacemaker inserted a year ago so she knew the drill. I give a call
and you know you sound bad when the voice on the other end goes “…George??” 30 minutes
later get wheeled outta the place. I suppose in another era — I would have spent the
night there but economics being what they are — turn the bed over ASAP.
Talk about being messed up—you’re cranky, thirsty and beat up. Every traffic light
is too long, nothing moves quickly enough. One criticism: I wish they’d tell
you what you will need around the house BEFORE you go to the hospital because AFTERWORDS —
you’re in no mood for shopping. Can’t sit or stand without thinking someone has
kicked you in the stomach full bore. Stopped for painkillers at Longs but after
waiting 40 minutes they don’t have them and don’t have generics either. O man… I
am getting crankier by the second. The good will accrued by St. Joe’s is lost at
Long’s. Melissa stops at Trader Joe’s and stocks up on juices and soups. We
hit another drug store. This time an Armenian woman is the pharmacist and asks if
I’m Armenian. Yes… You don’t look Armenian, maybe Italian. I’m 100%
Armenian… Do you speak Armenian? Ahhh…. No… That is why you don’t look
Armenian. Can I just get my drugs and go?
Once home I start feeling noxious. I take a pain killer then call Dr. bro in
Michigan. He tells me the drugs I took will make me really sick. Maybe line the
stomach with something first. Opps… too late. All the liquid I’d been drinking
just backs up I turn into a fountain. I hit the walls, the doors, floors — everything…
What a Mess!! And, the PAIN — wrong time to be turning my stomach inside out…
The phone rings. It’s Longs Drugs telling me I left my paperwork there — right, like
I’m gonna rush back there anytime soon. All this happens while the kitties just stare
at you. Ah yes… the kitties, those little darlings. The moment you sit, they gotta
pile on. Like they know this is their payback for that last vet visit. Kitties
that never, ever thought about being a lap kitty decided this is the time to convert.
Anyway… I crawl into bed and try to find a position that doesn’t hurt. It’s lights out
for a second time… Bizarro dreams going back to my early twenties with people I haven’t
seen in decades. Then it’s morning — AMEN… I feels a whole lot better. No
sick stomach — still really sore but I got a handle on it. The sun is shining. Kitties
are sleeping NOT on me. A great day to lay low… all is well in the world, so far…