Monday, December 13, 2010

Hilarity in the face of surgery

I am a big believer that when one has an option, choosing to laugh is one of the best options out there. Don't get me wrong. There are so many appropriate times to cry, mourn, worry, etc., and I would never say that anyone should deny their emotions. At the same time, there are times the opportunity arises to choose either to go down the path of those emotions or laugh, or, while on the path of one of those emotions, to pause, look around, and stop for a laughter break before continuing on.

There is no doubt that this entire process has been hard. I'm trying so hard not to be anxious until the 22nd. I'm trying so hard not to be angry for all of the medical challenges I've faced in the last several years. And most of the time God has brought me to a place of peace. And sometimes I need to cry and rail against the "unfairness" of it all, though truth be told fairness is highly overrated, and I think life seen through our eyes is often more "unfair" than "fair" so I'm not sure why we ever thought life should be fair in the first place. But I digress.

Anyhow, three things happened on the day of the surgery to retrieve my eggs that I wanted to share them with you all. Enjoy!

1) Yes, I can sleep through a party
From the time I was young, my mother stated that I was such a deep sleeper someone could throw a party in my room, and I wouldn't wake up. Well it turns out, especially on the day of surgery, I can! I had some trouble sleeping the night before, however I set both of my alarms to get me up in plenty of time to be ready when my parents came to get me at 6:30 am. I had to be at the clinic at 7:15, and Aaron was working so my parents agreed to drive me. It is very important to be on time. Because of the medications, there's only about a 1.5 hour window to retrieve the eggs before it's too late. Well, it turned out Aaron got really sick the day before and called in to work, however because he was sick and we didn't want me to get sick, he slept in the guest bedroom. Now, recall that I said that I set both my alarms. I have been known to sleep through one alarm, thus I have 2, including one positioned far enough away from the bed that I have to get out of bed to turn it off. I finally fall asleep, and the next thing I know, all hell has broken lose! The light in my bedroom is on, both of my alarms are blaring, the doorbell is ringing continually, our dog is barking like crazy, my cell phone is ringing and Aaron is shaking me awake. Yes. I had slept through my alarms. Thus, when my parents got there and I didn't answer the doorbell, they began ringing it continuously. This caused Winston (the dog) to begin barking like mad. Which woke Aaron up. My parents also began calling me on my cell phone. And naturally I slept through all of this. It was Aaron shaking me awake that did it. I rolled over, looked at the clock and saw that it was 6:32. Oops. Options at this point: 1) panic, 2) swear, 3) laugh at the absurdity of it all. Needless to say, I chose option 3, although I can't say all of my family members did (in order to protect them, each of their choices shall remain secret!).

2) I'm the Queen of Pop!
We finally get there, I'm in pre-op, and the nurse anesthesist comes in to speak with me. Now, for those of you who aren't in the medical field I should share, it is a well known fact that certain personality traits tend to go with certain medical specialties. Pediatricians never really grew up. Radiologists enjoy looking at films more than patients. Surgeons have a god complex. Needless to say, anesthetists and anestesiologists are exremely precise people, and thank goodness for that! In the OR they are the ones who are actually monitoring what is going on with your vitals and changing medications in milliliters to help you either not wake up while your belly is cut open, or enter a permanent sleep. So, back to the anesthetist. She mentions matter of factly that she will be using Propofol to keep me alseep. Propofol, Propofol, Propofol, I think. Where have I heard that before? Then it hits me and I say, "Propofol? Isn't that the drug that killed Michael Jackson?" And so the nurse anesthetist starts into a 5 minute soliliquiy on how, (summed up) "Yes, but according to his doctor the amount he gave him was so small that, honestly it couldn't have rendered him unconcious. So the doctor believes that once he left the room Michael Jackson gave himself a bolus of the Propofol that actually killed him. And it also says clearly on the label that the drug is only to be used by trained personel in the operating room with proper monitoring and his cardiologist clearly wasn't trained in anesthesia and shouldn't have been using it any way....." Finally this comes to an end. And I look at her with a sweet smile and say, "Oh. Well, actually, I was just wondering if I was going to get a single, sequined surgical glove."

3) Let's talk about comfort (may be uncomfortable for some people if you don't want to hear all the gory details of the OR)
So I'm in the OR. They've already given me a bit of happy juice, relax me, and I'm getting into position. Then someone, I can't remember who at this point, says, "OK, now before we give you the last bit of medicine to put you to sleep we want to make sure you're comfortable." Now, many of you know, I sometimes I do we say...low filter to begin with. And I had been given some happy juice at this point, so any remaining filter is gone. So while any good patient probably replies (if they say anything at all), "Oh, ok." I say, with a smile on my face as the inanity hits me, "Comfortable? You want to know if I'm comfortable? Well let's see. I'm laying her on a surgical gurney in nothing but a thin hospital gown 12 sizes too big, under which I'm naked as the day I was born, and you've placed my entire lower legs such that my hips are at a 90 degree angle and my knees are at a 90 degree angle so that you can see directly the area that you need, although you have strategically covered me with a warm blanket which I do appreciate, but you are about the render me unconcious, and then insert a very long needle into an area no needles were ever meant to go and yank several eggs out of their happy ovarian follicles. So, comfortable? Well, not really!" Now, as this monologue progressed everyone in the operating room began laughing, which actually was quite comforting, as they all began to realize the absurdity of asking if I was "comfortable." Finally one nurse said, "Ok, really, we just want to make sure you're positioned appropriately because it's a lot harder to reposition you if you are unconcious." To which I replied, "That, I buy. Position away and then render me unconcious!"

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