I love watching hospital shows on TV. There I’ve admitted it. Somehow watching all these other people writhing around with exotic ailments while frantic doctors and nurses rush about doing very complicated things is soothing to me. Perhaps it is because I have been in an actual hospital as a patient only three times in my entire life, and 2 were having a baby, which is quite different. Back then, after the actual birth, about which the less said the better, it was almost like a visit to the spa, minus manny peddies. One whole week in bed, with visits and flowers and cards. The babies came to visit too, and were then trotted off to be seen to, out of sight and hearing.
Nowadays nearly everyone I know has joined the Hospital Scene. It doesn’t sound like TV. But they are having interesting operations, long complicated operations, having things put in, taken out, replaced, cut off and sometimes added to. Even my highly conservative and hitherto quite healthy brother has joined the ranks! It’s as if they were in some sort of special club, with it’s own vocabulary, getting around on their walkers, scooters, canes. One friend even carries oxygen slung over her shoulder in a jaunty manner. However is one to keep up?
And now at last it’s my turn! My very own surgery. I, too, got to do the rounds of pre-op visits to doctors, labs, getting blood work, EKG, x-rays, and various other things just like my friends. And everyone of these things seem to be done in a different building. The whole idea was somewhat daunting but I was not lacking in advice from those who had gone before. I did however detect a slight note of “this is such a minor thing”, which gave me the idea that one was still not going to quite make it into the charmed circle with such a minor operation. But at least I had a foot in the door.
So at last came the Great Day. Off I went, driven to the front door by the ever faithful Gary, nervously clutching my paperwork. I got there at 8:30 in the morning, which I gather from downtown Hospital friends is extremely civilized. I sat shivering in my hospital gown for less than an hour before being ushered to the narrow bed where they prepared me for the operation. Legions of people came and went, asking the same questions, ticking things off on different colored sheets of paper, until I wanted to ask them if they had ever heard of actual computers. Hospital TV people have iPads. What’s the matter with this place? I began to wonder if they kept asking these questions in order to get a more interesting health history for me. Surely I have had something drastic done to me somewhere along the way? Perhaps a pacemaker? Alas no. Hypertension? Sorry not that either. What about nuts or bolts in any part of your leg or arm? Nope not me. I suspect they were getting rather frustrated. Not only had I had no serious hospital visits before this, no operations, not even a broken arm, but I didn’t take any real medication. What kind of patient was this?
At last they gave up and rolled me into the fridgid, dazzling operating room where luckily I was not compos mentis long enough to get any colder than I already was and fleeting thoughts of a meat locker drifted away. As my charming Chinese nurse had told me, “you just go in, they put a mask on your face, and you go hallelujah.” As she threw up her hands in the manner of a gospel singer to illustrate.
As far as operations go, it was a bit of a downer. Not that I wanted any drama mind you. Still, as fodder for a story, it isn’t much. I was back home in four hours. Most of that of course was sitting around, or lying around as the case may be. There were no complications, not counting the part about having to sit rather like Cunegonde on her donkey. I didn’t even rate really good drugs! At least I thought I might get an hallucination or two with some Percocet or some such. But what can you do with Tylenol 3? Well, it does help the pain, just no fringe benefits.