Adventures in Surgery

On Monday, I had my surgery: removal of what was apparently a benign giant cell tumor on my left middle finger. It was a fabulous adventure, let me tell you.

  • On the way to the hospital, with my poor mom driving, we fell into a Twilight-Zonesque dream where you first can’t seem to find the place you’re going, then find it and realize whoops, there are two by that name and you have to find the other one, only to realize then that it’s the wrong one altogether, it’s the other other hospital… scary stuff. Freakin’ Kitchener is evidently a black hole for me.
  • At least I had my iPhone. Maps and Yellow Pages at my fingertips.
  • And it was a gorgeous, mild, bird-singin’ day. Not a bad day for a drive.
  • We arrived with, apparently, still plenty of time to get prepped. I guess they tell you to come three hours early so that those birdbrains who arrive an hour-and-a-half late will still be okay. In fact, it was cool because I spent virtually no time just sitting around with a saline drip.
  • I had my IV inserted (administered?) by a woman named Laura who’s clearly the “fun nurse”: she had curly hair all looped up and exotic liquid eyeliner and green eyeshadow that put my mom in mind of a pole dancer, and she chatted to us about all kinds of things in the short time she took care of me. We liked her.
  • Soon, I was being wheeled to the OR by a guy and a girl in scrubs (I’m sorry, I’m not sure if they were nurses, interns, students, or what). In those few minutes, I had a conversation with the guy, whose name was Josh, in which he expressed admiration for my profession as a French teacher, because he once spent twenty minutes looking after his sister’s class and knew he could never be a teacher. (Of course, he’s in a medical profession, which is full of things many of us wouldn’t be able to do, so there you go.) Apparently, his sister works in Parry Sound, in a school that’s the only one in the Board, so there is a Mac laptop for every kid to sign out and take home if they want. CRAZY.
  • Then I was in the OR, where the jeans-wearing hand surgeon was now in scrubs. He looked at the bump on my finger and said, “Well, that’s quite a piece of real estate!” He and the anaesthesiologist joked about how it must be “overuse”, from flipping the bird to the cops all the time. They must have sensed that I am an infrequent bird-flipper.
  • The anaesthesiologist told me about what he was going to do to put me under. I had experienced general anaesthetic before and always found it kinda cool, so I wasn’t nervous. He asked me, “Do you have any questions about anaesthetic?” at which point I realized I know almost nothing about how it works, so yes, I had all kinds of questions, but it didn’t seem the time to ask.
  • Clunk, my eyelids closed, and then I went very far away for an amount of time that could have been seconds or could have been infinite! That’s why I find it cool.
  • Woke up back in recovery, eyelids still leaden, hand thickly wrapped in gauze. Luckily for me, I’ve never had much nausea after operations.
  • They paged my mom on her blue hospital-issue pager disk.
  • As I awakened more, I was having some pain – even though I think I was still partly frozen – and one of the nurses gave me Percocet. Woo hoo! Don’t celebrities pay big money for those in L.A.?
  • It was around this time that I thanked my mom for moving to Canada with my dad four decades ago. How amazing to go to a hospital, be wonderfully cared for, get your problem fixed, get a snack and some drugs, and all for the price of taxes you’ve already paid.
  • My snack was apple juice, soda crackers with strawberry spread, and two digestive biscuits. It hit the spot after my fasting all day.
  • It’s funny about waking up from general anaesthetic; you feel so groggy that you make a conscious effort to sound like you’re awake and lively and intelligent. You try to say words in a way that will demonstrate your alertness.
  • This is apparently all for naught. After being wheeled downstairs by my mama, I called Sean at home, and he said I sounded all drugged up. By then, I had really thought I was pretty much back to normal – ha!
  • The drive home went much more smoothly, thank goodness.
  • My poor hubby had to change all the diapers on his own birthday the next day, poor boy, because I was one-and-a-half handed (some use of thumb and index finger).
  • On Wednesday, I went to the other hospital to get my bandage cut off, and got my first look at my finger. It was very swollen, still a bit frozen-feeling, with royal blue stitches, and I could see that the incision was made in a zigzag shape. Which means…
  • When I get my stitches out, I will bear a lightning-shaped scar! Isn’t that wicked?? I feel so much cooler already.

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