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Glad that’s over with!

February 28, 2005, 7:10 PM

Today I had a small surgical procedure done at Augusta Medical Center. Let me tell you… they’ve got quite an operation going in there for outpatient surgery. But it was quick and relatively painless. So that was good. And I arrived at AMC at 6:30 and was out before noon. So that was really good. And now I’m at home once again.

It’s interesting… it’s like a television studio to an extent. They have all kinds of furniture that they change out in your little cubbyhole throughout the time you’re there. We got to AMC and they called me and took me into the outpatient center, and we went to one of many of those cubbyholes. It was fitted with two chairs. There, they wheeled a little computer over and verified all of my information.

Then I went to a second little cubbyhole. This had a stretcher in it, and a chair. They gave me the hospital gown, and it was time to change into it. They closed the curtain and I changed. I did pretty well for the most part, but had quite a time with the sleeves, mainly because I had no idea what I was doing with them. As it turns out, the sleeves snapped up the sides. I don’t know what I was thinking when I was trying to put that thing on. Of course, I also had to figure out which end was up in the first place on that thing. But I managed to get it on, tie the string in the back, and then screw up the sleeves. If you can imagine this, I had my arms sticking out the sides of the sleeves. I thought maybe this thing was supposed to look like a Roman tunic. I had no idea. Then, figuring that didn’t look right, I unsnapped the upper snap and put my arm through the two snaps (vs. the top of the sleeve and the first snap). I was satisfied that it was right. Or so I thought.

Then the nurse came in and fixed up the gown for me. Turns out that they were real sleeves, and you weren’t supposed to stick anything through where I stuck my arms. All of a sudden, a resounding “DUH!” went off in my mind, when I realized how the sleeves were supposed to go. But we gave it a good try. The nurse also said I needed to move over to the stretcher.

Now as it was snowing today, and heavily, too, things were a little slow. And since my surgeon was coming from Charlottesville, which is a good 30-some miles away from the hospital, it took him a while to get in, since you’ve got to go over Afton Mountain to get there, which is always treacherous in snow.

So I had to wait a bit for the surgeon to show up. Meanwhile, the anesthesiologist came in and discussed what they were going to do and got the IV started. It took them two tries to get that in place. And for the anesthesia, they did a spinal with sedation. But first we had to wait for the surgeon. Once he showed up, it was showtime.

When he showed up, we were on our way! They rolled me on the little stretcher down to the operating room. While we were underway, I asked the surgeon how his trip went. It went well for him, but he said there were a lot of accidents, and one vehicle flipped over. When I asked what kind of vehicle it was that flipped, he told me it was an SUV. Figures. I’ve seen so many cases where these people in their SUV’s think that just because they have a car with four wheel drive that they’re invincible. And then they drive like they think they’re invincible. And these morons end up flipped over on the side of the road.

So then we got to the operating room. Okay. Now we rolled off the stretcher and onto the operating table. My biggest concern was falling in between the stretcher and the table. As I told the hospital staff, it reminded me of the phrase used on the London Underground (the Tube): “Mind the Gap”, which is intended to encourage patrons of London’s subway to use caution in stepping from the platform to the train. A photo of this in use can be found on Oren’s Transit Page.

So after we got me on the table, I was sitting up on it with my legs hanging off. Here, they administered the spinal. Didn’t even feel it go in. Then they got me all positioned on the table how they needed me, and then administered the sedatives, and did their thing. To me, it felt like I was in and out of the operating room in five minutes. That’s a good thing, since it had to be longer than that. That meant that I was out for it, and did not feel a thing. Yaaaaaaay. I even asked them when I awoke, “That’s it? You got it out? All right!”

So after surgery, they put me back onto the stretcher and wheeled me off to the recovery room for a bit. From there, I was in there for a bit while they made sure I was stable. Checked my blood pressure. Checked my blood oxygen levels using a finger clip (pretty neat!). Took my temperature in my ear. Good deal. Then once they were satisfied I was stable, and after the spinal wore off, it was back to the first little cubbyhole again. Now the second chair was gone, which made room for the stretcher. Good. So there I was. They also got my father to come back in. He was the one who took me to the hospital, in the snow.

Now, after not having anything to eat or drink for a long time due to the procedure, they gave me a Coke, and some crackers. They also later gave me a ham and cheese croissant, which really hit the spot. And then I retrieved my cell phone and earpiece from Dad, and got on the phone. First person was Mom. She was glad to hear that I made it through all right. Next was Sis down at Virginia Tech. She was glad to hear that I made it through all right. Then I called Katie from work, and told her I was all right. She was glad to hear that I made it through all right. Then I called Donna Sue at Wal-Mart to let her know that I made it through the procedure all right and to let all others concerned about it know that it went swimmingly, since I’m off work for two weeks because of this procedure.

So yeah, that was good. I talked with Dad a bit and I watched some TV (CNN, of course!). All in all, not bad. I was a little sore, but not bad.

Now they came back with a rolling recliner. And so they got me off the stretcher, and on two feet. From there we went over to the restroom. I did my thing. When I got finished, they had removed the stretcher and got the recliner in place, which they put me in and put the foot rest up on. Very nice, indeed. After a bit in that, where I talked with Dad some more, got a call from Mom on my cell, and also played Ms. Pac Man on my phone and also IM-ed my friend Susan via my Schumin Wireless screen name.

Then they said it was time to go home, and I was ready. So they retrieved my clothes, and they helped me get back into them while Dad brought the car around. Then they got a chair to wheel me down with. However, they soon realized that it was a pediatric chair that they pulled out. I asked if it was necessary to wheel. So we walked. No big deal.

All in all, it was an interesting morning. And they’ve got it together, let me tell you. One thing I noticed was the fire alarm situation. First of all, AMC has a voice evacuation system, due to its being as large as it is. But what I found strange was that in the place where all the outpatient surgery patients go to be prepped and then for afterwards, they had Gentex strobes. In fact, that whole second floor area near the outpatient center was Gentex. The reason this was so weird is because down the hall where they did the surgery, it was all Wheelock, which was also the case for the rest of the parts of AMC that I’ve been in. Go figure. But the Medical Office Building has Wheelock, the first floor was Wheelock, the place where they did all the lab work was Wheelock, but the one area was Gentex. Strange.

Now, though, I’m home, and in very little pain. So life is good.

Web site: Mind the Gap in Japanese, Cantonese, and Mandarin

Song: Whatever the heck is playing downstairs. Some female singing. I don't know.

Quote: "You got it all out?" - Me at the end of the procedure.

Categories: Fire alarms, Health issues