Sunday, December 26, 2010


As many of you know I had surgery recently. Now this does not seem as if it would neither be at all fun, nor anything I would want to blog about. I want to correct those misconceptions.

Upon arrival at the hospital, I was ushered into pre-op, which is short for “the room where you are prepared for surgery”, and was instructed to take off all my clothes and put on a gown. Now anyone who has worn a hospital gown already knows how hilarious this is, those gowns never fit, have snaps in all the wrong places, and flap in the breeze - rendering any sense of modesty useless.

Once I had the gown on, a seemingly endless procession of medical professionals began to parade in and out of my room. Starting with the pre-op nurse. “Good morning Mr. Distaffen.”  she cheerfully greeted, “I am Clara, I will be your nurse while you get ready for surgery.” Now I think it is wonderful that each person in this procession introduced themselves and explained what they will be doing during my stay at the hospital. However, not wanting to be undone, I responded to each as professionally as is possible while wearing a silly gown that air-conditioned parts of my anatomy that do not normally experience air-conditioning, “Good morning, my name is Rob and I will be your patient today.” was my chosen response.  This exchange occurred with the pre-op nurse, the operating room nurse, the anesthesiologist, the surgeon, the unit nurses, the patient care techs, and some guy who was lost and looking for directions, “Hello, my name is Bill and I am lost, can you tell me the way to the post-pre-op-recovery-discharge unit?”

Finally, it was time for surgery and since I was “Fasttrack” patient, I went straight to surgery without anesthesia.

From all the stories I have heard about surgeries, going to surgery fully awake was neither what I expected nor a pleasant prostpect. My terror was allayed once I actually reached the operating room and was greeted once again by the anesthesiologist, who explained that all the anesthesia would be administered right in the operating room. She then placed a mask over my face and instructed me to breath normally as she gave me oxygen to breath. I thought that is what I breathed normally, but I was sadly mistaken. Only a certified medical professional can give you oxygen to breath, the rest of the time you breathe air. The difference between air and oxygen is simple, air is free and you can get it anywhere, from anyone. Only a medical professional can give you oxygen and it is expensive.

In keeping with being a Fasttrack patient, I awoke before surgery was completely finished. I vaguely remember them taking screws from my head and hearing shouts of ‘restrain him’. One thing I remember distinctly is a bead of sweat trickling down my face. I hate beads of sweat trickling down my face and I wanted to wipe it off. The doctors and nurses were unconcerned with my beads of sweat, they were more concerned with my loose screws. Unfortunately they did not tighten my loose screw, they just removed it completely.

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