My mom, dad, and I left for the hospital around 7:45 to drive into the city. We hit major traffic, so I was already a basket case about being late. As we made a right turn onto Canal FROM THE RIGHT LANE, some fool from Iowa in a pickup truck decides to make a right turn from the center lane. His truck clears our car, but unfortunately the enormous trailer he is towing does not. No one was hurt as there was minimal impact. It was like it was happening in slow motion. So now, we all climb out of the car and start taking pictures. Except the driver of the other car. My dad had brain cancer about 3 years ago and after the radiation he stopped shaving and cutting his hair. He looks a little like a crazy person, and my mom and I are big ladies. I think the Iowan was scared shitless.
At this point we are about 15 minutes late for my arrival time, so my mom and I jumped in a cab and left my dad to wait for the police. (I felt incredibly guilty about that, so my mom called my sister who works down the block and she went to wait with my dad.)
We get to the hospital and the only elevators that go up to the surgical center are being weird and just not opening. I took this to be the final sign from God that I should go home and cancel surgery. My mother, who is a bit more level headed just pushed the button again and the elevator came.
We went upstairs and I signed in. No one cared that I was 30 minutes late. I talked to the guy at sign in and gave him my ID and insurance card. He also made a copy of the healthcare proxy I filled out for surgery 4 years ago that my mother carries in her wallet to this day. (Level headed and ridiculously organized.)
About 10:15 they called me back and showed me to a private room with a gurnery, a huge recliner, visitor chairs and a tv. The nurse gave me a hospital gown, cap, and socks. I changed and my mom and I waited for the procession of medical personnel who started rolling in. They all asked the same questions: name; surgery; doctor's name; my birthday. One of the nurses I spoke to took my official surgery day weight. 292! Down 18 lbs. from pre-op start day. I was thrilled and told Dr. Ren when she came in because I am a nerd who seeks approval from authority figures. She was happy and said it showed dedication. I preened like a stuffed peacock.
The next nurse in was Ann and she told me that she would be with me the whole time. She and the anesthesia resident asked more questions and then told me it was time. My dad called during all of this and was on his way uptown to the hospital. My mom must have told them about the accident while I was in the bathroom because Ann-the nicest woman ever-stalled for about 5 minutes which was just long enough that he made it upstairs. I got to kiss him goodbye before I went in.
Saint Ann held my hand and walked me to the OR. I climbed onto the table and they got to work. The nurses put warm blankets on me, strapped me to the table, and then tilted it down. While this was happening the 11 year old anesthesia resident gave me a shot of lidocaine and then put in the IV in my left forearm. Once that was placed they started putting stuff in the IV. I remember saying, "Am I supposed to be feeling really high right now?" and thinking "Shit, I kissed Daddy, but did I kiss Mommy? She must feel so slighted." Next thing I knew someone was asking me if I had any pain or nausea. YES. She gave me something for that.
I was in and out for about 90 minutes. My parents came back to see me twice in recovery and I believe the first thing I said was "Sorry for not kissing you goodbye, mama." She reassured me that I did kiss her goodbye and she never would have let me walk away if I hadn't. I remember feeling so relieved by that and falling asleep again. Then they moved me to my room on the Women's Rehabilitation floor.
Arrival Time: 9:30
Surgery Time: 11:15-12:22
So amazing how 3 hours can just change everything about your life and feel like 2 minutes.
Like many of TV's greatest shows, I am ending the season on a cliffhanger. In other words it is 5:53am and I think I might be able to get back to sleep. I'll post the rest of this no doubt spellbinding saga later tonight after I visit with my grandmother who is convinced that I will be skinny when she sees me. I sense a lot of disappointment this afternoon.