Saturday, December 18, 2010

In Surgery - Part 1: Going the Distance

Brian, the anaesthetist, is looking at my chart and calling me orthopaedically challenged. We both chuckle a little. I'm laughing mainly because I'm a little bit stoned and freaked out lying there in the operating room while everyone goes through their paces - crossing off their checklists and arranging equipment.

I like Brian - he has a sense of humour and a bit of devil-may-care about him. I've met a couple of anaesthetists in my time and they're all a bit quirky, in a good way, I think. And hope. The better part of their days involve whacking people out -that takes a certain character. I'll be awake for this procedure, so Brian must strike that delicate balance of pain relief, distraction, and alertness. Perhaps his little joke is a test to see how well his cocktail is working.

I have a nerve block for my arm and something for my head to relax me a little. I feel fine. Dr.G is all business but takes the time to make sure I can see the scalpel action on the tv screen above me and says he'll keep me posted throughout. I'm having a *minor* surgery, an arthroscopy, just to check the state of my lunate and sort anything that might need sorting. It's the first step towards real treatment for my Kienbock's and I am relieved.

The OR crew are relaxed and seem to know each other well. They share some jabs and jokes. I can see my opened wrist on the screen above but there's nothing too impressive there, certainly not the blood and guts-fest I had anticipated. Just the whitest bones you can imagine. The only significant thing I remember is Dr. G saying your lunate is in great shape. Why, thank you, I think to myself.

The entire event lasts no more than a hour and while I'm waiting in recovery, I watch Dr.G visit all his post-ops. I see more evidence of him being a good doctor, of him being a good man. Dr.G spends many minutes with an older man who is not sure what he needs to do next and many more minutes with an older woman who just wants to talk. When he gets to me, he is happy that there is no visible sign of damage to my lunate and hopes that this KD will stay in its infancy. He did clean up some fragments while he was in there. Fragments of what I will always wonder. It occurs to me that I may never have known I had KD in my right hand had I not lost the use of my left.

This is all good news. After a month or so, after my right hand heals and regains some strength, I'll be ready for the surgery I really need. I am thrilled. The nurse finally gives my husband and me the thumbs up for discharge, a prescription for painkillers, and 2 Tylenol 3's . The nerve block will wear off in about 12 hours she says, get ahead of the pain. I have no idea what she means. Yet.

My husband races with me to the ferry and we arrive just in time to see the Spirit of British Columbia pull from the dock. I'm groggy and tired and not too bothered by the 2-hour wait ahead of us. Hoping to catch the ferry, we decided to fill my prescription once we are home. The nurse said we had 12 hours, I remind Eric.

Within an hour, I am kneeling on the floor below the front passenger seat, breathing deeply and moaning a little, as if in labour, propping my bandaged arm on the seat. Nerve blocks don't wear off, they switch off. On. Off. I never get my 12 hours.

This is my recovery learning curve and there is no going back. My surgeon, my family, and I are
Going the Distance:
Cake - Going the Distance .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

No comments: