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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pre-Surgery Day-The Last Supper & Visit

Mmm-mmm good.
With Doctorpalooza over, I wondered what was in store for me next. No sooner did I have that thought then the curtain flew open and there was an elderly lady in uniform blinking at me.  "Where is the patient?" she asked. "Right here" I answered.  "Right where?  Have they gone for tests?". I too a deep breath and explained again I was indeed the patient. "Oh you don't look sick" she said.  I told her to check back tomorrow after surgery and she'd change her tune. She laughed and seemed satisfied enough that I was a real patient so she gave me a water and a little cup of juice. She told me  she'd be back in awhile with dinner.

I wasn't sure what they were going to let me eat.  I had been given the impression by the admitting booklets I had received in the mail that once at the hospital, I wouldn't be getting much more than liquid to drink. It was a little while after shift change and I had a new nurse who came in to do my vitals and ask me more questions about my health. Apparently they were waiting for an EKG machine tech to show up for yet another test for me. She let me know I could eat until 10 and after that just clear fluids till midnight. As far as I knew thought, I was only getting whatever the elderly lady brought for dinner-wasn't sure where the food I could eat up until 10 was going to come from (if I wanted to eat). She also mentioned in passing that she'd need to do an enema or I could do it myself. For the record, I don't think enemas are the kind of topic you mention in passing, particularly to someone who more than likely has never had/done one before. She said it with such pep I almost thought I had misheard her. But she did say it.  I just pushed the thought aside and hoped maybe somehow it wouldn't happen.

I was left alone for about another hour. I will admit my mind started racing a bit-this whole thing seemed surreal and more than a bit crazy.  I wondered if the recipient was at the hospital and how they were feeling, if their family was there too and how THEY were doing. I also started sitting on the bed so that I would look like a patient and avoid explaining myself to the next person to peer through the curtain. At one point Dr. S stuck his head in but then someone said something to him in the hall and he left without saying anything.

Dinner arrived towards the end of the hour. Turkey mushroom stew with the weirdest sparkly mini cubed potatoes. Vegetable soup and crackers.  A tray of yellow and green beans (probably the least weird and most flavourful thing on the tray) and a melted cup of ice cream.  Everything tasted alarmingly the same (including the ice cream). I wasn't expecting gourmet but I was reminded how...simple and bland yet bizarre hospital food can be-and there was a lot of it! I only really knew what I was eating because of the menu slip that came with the meal. And I know food.

A little while after dinner Charlie and Charlie Jr showed up.  Charlie seemed pretty nervous.  It had taken him forever to figure out where the building was and how to get there so he was frazzled. What I hadn't realized either was that I was on a full lock down ward and he had to jump through a few extra hoops to get into see me-more frazzling of Charlie. That was a little unexpected and  one of many eventual confidentiality related "bad decisions" made by Foothills. But again, we'll get to that later. Charlie Jr was thrilled with the ins and outs of the room, the many buttons on the bed and the equipment in the room. We were all intrigued by the cool power generation building outside my window that seemed to have a 10 story wall of water as one of its outer walls.

Eventually it was time for them to go. I walked them out. Charlie Jr hit a door he shouldn't (due to the lockdown factor) and set off a little alarm which got him/us a snarky remark from a nurse and a glare from another worker nearby. More frazzled Charlie. I knew he was really getting worried about the surgery. I assured him he'd get a call when I was out of the OR and he could make his way to the hospital (he was going to work for a bit the next day to keep busy after taking Charlie Jr to school). I was surprised I didn't get teary watching them walk away. I cant explain how I felt really. It was a strange combination of feeling hugely out of place on that ward, nervous in a good way about the day ahead and uncertain about how the rest of the evening would go. I felt a bit lonely and a little tired. Time just didn't seem to be moving fast enough-I kind of wanted it to be the next day already.

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