Tuesday’s Surgery

By | Wed March 18, 2015

It was definitely a day full of drama, but I’m glad it all worked out in the end. I was amazingly calm throughout the wait.

It all really began on Monday morning when I called my surgeons office to let them know I had a fever on Saturday and Sunday nights. The fever cleared up on Sunday during the day, but came back with a vengeance on Sunday night (38.4 C), so I was concerned that I had an infection and or the flu, and that I might not be able to have surgery. My surgeon suggested postponing to Wednesday and ordered some antibiotics.

Then I talked to her surgery scheduler who told me that I had a surgery spot, that is an OR booked with my name on it, for Tuesday (9am checkin for 11am surgery). If I delayed to Wednesday, I would be 10th on the OR wait list, so not likely to get in, but they did have a cancellation for next Tuesday so that was an option. I asked her to go talk to my surgeon and my nurse, and to keep the Tuesday spot. By this point in time it was Monday afternoon and I was feeling OK.

I received a phone call from the Stanford surgery folks telling me when and where to show up. I thought all was good. I did not, however, hear back from the women’s cancer center folks (my surgeon or her nurse) and I didn’t think to call them before the office closed.

Tuesday at 9am I showed up for surgery. As I was being checked in, my surgeon’s scheduler called me. I told her, I was there and being checked in. She paged my surgeon to let her know. My surgeon and her nurse wanted to check to see that I was feeling OK. By 10am, I confirmed with the scheduler that I was feeling OK, so my surgeon came over to the main hospital OR, where I was, and drew all over me (pre-op markings). Since it was crowded and there was a delay with my OR, they put me back outside in the waiting area. While there, my surgeons nurse calls to apologize for the mix up thinking that the surgery had been cancelled. I told her that I had already seen the surgeon and things were good. Then the OR prep nurse came out (I thought she was bringing me back to prep me) to tell me that main scheduling had cancelled because I had a fever – to which I said, no, the surgeon already cleared me and drew lines on me. So the OR prep nurse went back in to check, and then gave me the thumbs up that we were good to go.

With all of that figured out, we sat out in the waiting room for another hour. At some point a clinical trial person came by to drop off the vials to collect my blood. Then we waited some more. It was after noon by the time I was brought back in to changed into a hospital gown.

The medical assistant drew my blood for the clinical trial – from the one good vein in my hand. I’m sure I mentioned several times that a line should be put in, not just a blood draw. I’m a hard stick at the best of times, so I thought that the anesthesiologist was going to be the one drawing the blood. While my blood was being drawn I had an asthma attack. Half an hour later the anesthesiologist shows up. She is a little pissed at the medical assistant for drawing blood on the one good vein in my hand, especially because it was only a clinical trial draw and not a doctor ordered one. Fortunately, the anesthesiologist was a miracle worker and found another vein in my other arm – she got it on the first stick – both hubby and I were impressed.

Ready to go, we got told the OR was not ready. The surgeon using it before my doc was taking longer than scheduled. Then it needed prepping. At 1:15 pm we were told it would be ready at 1:30pm, but then another glitch. The attending anesthesiologist (I think my anesthesiologist was a fellow) wanted a type and cross match in case blood was needed. Because I have antibodies in my blood, this would take over an hour even with a stat order. Not wanting to delay, they paged my surgeon to confirm that the blood testing was not going to be needed. So, with everything finally lining up, I was wheeled in at 1:30pm. I remember being wheeled into the OR and thinking it looked more like a supply closet than an OR. It was cold. I was stiff, so had difficulty getting onto the table. Once on, I remember the spinning of the room and giggling as the anesthesia took effect.

Here are a few pictures of my belly wound:

Looking at the picture below, I can see that on Saturday I did have some signs of infection. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture on Monday night or after my Tuesday morning shower.

What really surprised me was how much more mobility I have after the surgery. I had not realized that the toothpaste tube sized scar tissue and holes were restricting my abdominal mobility. Now I need to be really careful not over stretch and risk tearing open the wound (it is glued shut). In addition to the belly wound clean-up, my surgeon also fixed some drain scar tissue that was bothering me, and cleaned up my breast scar tissue, and did a bunch of abdominal liposuction. I’m already really happy with the results, and things will be even better when they finish healing. On the ride home from the hospital, I was reflecting on how I felt better immediately after this surgery then I did going into my last surgery. This was so much easier than the cancer surgery – especially because my body was so much stronger going into it. Today, I’m feeling good but aware that I am spending too much time in front of the computer in a seated position … my body needs me to spend more time lying down – so off I go :-)

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