Let me first say that I hate hospitals. I realize they are a wonderful thing, but I prefer to avoid them. I spent a lot of time in hospitals as a kid. Not because there was anything wrong with me, but because I had an accident-prone baby brother. Accidents involving bikes, cars, fire, wood chips, glass — for someone who has been known to faint at the sight of blood, it wasn’t the most ideal situation for me (probably even less so for my brother.) But I was cautious, and for the most part have managed to avoid being there for myself.
But now, my turn.
So, as I mentioned the other day, in an attempt to jump the wait list for my operation, my surgeon put me into his emergency room operation slot yesterday. The idea was that I would stop eating and drinking the night before and then sometime before 11:30 yesterday, they’d let me know whether they could fit me in.
Uncertainty made me into a wreck, and I was really hungry as well. I went to work, partly to distract myself and partly because I didn’t want to take a day off if the whole thing fell through.
But at 10:45 they called me and said there was space. At this time, I was both happy and relieved to be getting this over with and completely terrified of the surgery itself.
So I went to the hospital and checked myself in. They checked and triple-checked my name and birthday and what I was there for. They got me to put on the pale blue gown and housecoat, the hideous emerald green knee socks, and the disposable booties, and they locked away my possessions.
And then I waited in the room with all the other sick people whose faces showed various levels of pain and fear. My husband got off work to come hold my hand, which was nice, because I was a mess.
They called me to the back, where it took about half an hour to get an iv drip into me, because I am a stress ball and my veins hide deep in my arms at the sight of a needle. Commonly heard by me from nurses, “Oh good. There’s a nice big vein. This is going to be easy…. Oh, it’s gone.” So that was fun. And here’s the thing with ivs, in case you’ve never had one: they hurt. Not a lot, but it’s like having someone constantly pinching your wrist with their fingernails. Hard. Ever since the first time I had one, movies where people escape the hospital and tear out their ivs in the process make me gag. This is not a thing I could ever do. If I were ever to commit a crime, they wouldn’t have to put me in jail. They could just stick an iv in my arm. I would never go anywhere.
And then I went back to the waiting room to wait. I waited like that for over two hours, fear building every minute.
There was a TV playing crappy daytime TV. It was the most inappropriate channel that anyone could ever choose. If I were a suspicious sort, I would think the nurses were mental sadists. But they were lovely, so I’m thinking it was just that no one notices. First up – General Hospital, featuring some psycho surgeon who was killing patients. Awesome. Next up – The Doctors: Fear Factor Edition. Seriously, WTF? In this episode, I swear to you, they actually did a live surgery on someone. I didn’t watch, but my husband did. He thinks they might have even been taking out someone’s gallbladder. I kid you not. And then was Dr. Oz, who I hate, but it was ok, because he was just selling some hypertension diet.
And then a nurse comes out, holding a mobile phone and looking for me. Finds me. Pitying look. “Bad news.” Hands me the phone. It’s my surgeon’s office. Someone came into emergency. He is needed. It is life or death. I’ve been cancelled. My surgery will wait for another day.
So nothing happened. Besides the iv. Besides the stress. I am mentally exhausted and I still have an evil gallbladder. It has been given a reprieve. But we will still do battle soon. And I will win.