Joining the ‘I’ve Had Surgery Club’, Dues Mandatory
Posted on July 9, 2013
So there’s a club I wasn’t aware I didn’t belong to called the “I’ve Had Surgery Club” and it’s assumed everybody is a member. Well, it’s assumed everybody is a member once you’ve reached my age, the tender age of 33. And you’ll receive the most incredulous looks and sounds of astonishment when you answer one of the medical profession’s most basic questions; please list any and all surgeries you’ve had. When exactly in America did it become so commonplace that young folks like ourselves overburdened our bodies to the point where surgery was simply the next natural stage of our evolution? Here I thought the stereotype is that we all ate too much and we’re lazy. No wonder health costs are so staggering.
The entire experience was incredibly surreal. The first major decision I had to make was where to get my procedure done. I could go to the local hospital my surgeon worked out of and pay a whopping $10,000 or travel an additional 20 miles down the road to a surgery center he also worked out of and save myself $6,500 having it done there. It’s nice to have choices and if you just happen to be like me—someone currently without health insurance—those choices are important. For the record, yes, I will be looking into getting some form of health insurance, only with not working, it hasn’t seemed like a priority. Taking care of dad and then working on the house were priorities.
Ralph insisted on flying home last Thursday night and taking me to the center Friday morning himself. He was worried, but he doesn’t always say he’s worried. His emotions are interpreted by his actions rather than his words. The first thing the nurses did after taking me to my bed is close the curtain and tell me to strip. Under normal circumstances, one would think it’s going very well if one was on a date. I was not thrilled about this and even less thrilled that the hospital gown not only had two ridiculously flimsy ties in the back that allowed an inconsiderate draft, but that it wasn’t made of even 200 count Egyptian cotton. Perhaps I’d have gotten something comfortable like that had I paid for the hospital version.
The two nurses then inspected the area undergoing surgery—my bellybutton area—and shaved me to the point where I looked like a 14 year old boy. We’re talking about a two inch incision that apparently required my entire stomach be smooth. It’s got to be a surgeon aesthetic or their version of human feng shui. Either way, that area is going to itch like a mo-fo when it starts to grow back in.
Now, they neglected to tell me two things. First, they didn’t tell me I’d most likely be tied down or restrained during surgery. That at least would have given me a little thrill. Second, they didn’t tell me that they’d be putting a tube down my throat. Honorable husband told me after surgery that he thought I had a bit of blood around my mouth, which I thought was grape juice (more on that shortly). It was blood from two cuts in my mouth and I’m not entirely sure how I got those.
I did politely ask if the doctor might perform a bit of lypo while he was in the tummy area. He didn’t. Had I known he was going to stick a tube down my throat, I’d have also asked that they do a little something about my gag reflex. They didn’t. It would have been considerate if they had. And when it came time to give me what they called “something to relax” me, they put a little something into my IV and my vision immediately started to flip out. Remember the horizontal picture problems we used to get watching TV and the picture would flip up and up and up until we hit the TV (also known as emergency repair procedure number 1)? That’s what my vision was doing. And then I blacked out.
My vision was STILL flipping up like that when they woke me up. I was asked if I had any pain and to associate a number with that pain. I believe I told them it was around a 4, so they gave me some Dilaudid and asked me to sip some grape juice. I didn’t want the grape juice, but I recalled honorable husband making a thinly veiled threat of taking away my New Release Blu-Ray Tuesdays if I didn’t listen to the staff. For whatever reason, the grape juice burned like acid. I didn’t know yet that a tube had been stuck down my throat. They brought my husband back and he soon saw a look on my face that he recognized from many years back; I was nauseous and it wasn’t going to be pretty.
“Do you have something more than a little plastic bowl? He’s going to projectile vomit.”
“No, he’s not,” the nurse retorted.
Oh, yes I was and oh, yes I did. Twice. They had to take the blankets off of me because I coated them with grape juice. It turns out they had to give me three injections of anti-nausea medication before I calmed down enough to leave.
So was it worth it? I don’t know. I haven’t taken the bandage off my bellybutton yet. I’m in some pain, but not horribly so. Getting up is the hard part, but once I am up and moving around, it’s not so bad. Sleeping is difficult because I can really only sleep on my back when I’m used to sleeping on my sides. I imagine it was a good thing to have the hernia taken care of, but I’m still not so crazy about the membership dues or being made to feel I was overdue for joining this particular club.
Now, those old Columbia Music clubs where you joined for a penny? That’s my kind of club!
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
15 Responses to “Joining the ‘I’ve Had Surgery Club’, Dues Mandatory”
July 29, 2013 at 9:41 am
July 29, 2013 at 9:52 am
I should have brought books to sell.
July 29, 2013 at 9:56 am
You were very, very brave through it all, Kris, and never let Ralph forget it for an instant. In fact, if you play your cards right, you might be able to use your trauma to good effect for some time to come. (“Go to the store for groceries?…Of course. I can bear the pain of carrying several overloaded grocery bags all by myself. No prob…(Wince in anticipated pain)…lem.”)
July 29, 2013 at 10:01 am
He made sure when he was home for the three days that I had something to eat and drink. If I was getting up, he demanded to know why despite the fact the instructions told me to get up and walk around. Then he’d be off to make tea and I couldn’t help but mention “This is new for you, isn’t it?” Oh, he gave me ‘the look,’ but he knew I was right, too. lol
This was also the first time I’ve referred to him as my husband in public. I was asked several times by different nurses as to who was there with me who would be driving me home. I kept telling them “my husband.” It felt odd to say because we’re not in the habit of saying it unless at home, posting on social media or out with friends. Not an eyelash was beat when I did say it, though.
July 29, 2013 at 10:03 am
I wish you a speedy, pain free recovery. Take care xox.
July 29, 2013 at 8:11 pm
Better today, so no complaints. Just trying to do what the doctors say and not make things worse by screwing up the recovery. That would get me in some baaaaaaad trouble with the hubby.
Thank you for the kind thoughts, Lloyd. =)
Kathy Cole says:
July 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm
Kris, I hope you are feeling better! I belong to the membership of Surgery Virgins. OMG, it would have been nice if they had done a preop counseling session for you! Bless Honorable Hubby! Good for you in referring to him as your hubby! Best wishes and I love your story and books. xo
July 29, 2013 at 8:13 pm
The anesthesiologist did come up and talk to me before the surgery and explained that he’d be keeping me under for the duration. I thought that was great, just not helpful when he doesn’t mention I’ll also have a tube stuck down my damn throat. That was a little annoying.
This downtime does give me a chance to work on the second Spacehunters short story and Gaylias 2. Whew!
Joelle Casteel says:
July 29, 2013 at 7:40 pm
Hey you made it through and that’s the good thing. But no, you’re not online on not many surgeries. For the longest time, my only yes on the “stayed at a hospital” was about giving birth to my son (which I managed to some home avoid a c-section). So when I had my surgery about 5 years ago, I was amused by everything I didn’t find out.
Hm. 33. Now I’m trying to figure out how I either never met you when we were teens- unless you didn’t go to Affirmations- or just never met you.
hehe I still go with nurses can be hopelessly dumb… she should have listened
July 29, 2013 at 8:15 pm
heh heh heh 33 today. It could change tomorrow. lol
And yes, the nurse should have listened. I honestly couldn’t figure out why the grape juice tasted like battery acid when I was drinking it. Didn’t really matter because that’s exactly what came right back up. Funny thing is she called earlier today to ask how I was doing and if I had any questions.
Guess I made an impression with my explosion.
Joelle Casteel says:
July 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm
yeah for the Kris and Patricia show- or is it Patricia and Kris? Not that you two could agree.
I think sometimes with medical health personal and significant others, they just gotta listen. There’s just some things like a “I’m going to throw up” expression that I think our SO’s learn about us lol
so did it change, your age I mean lmao, so it’s now yesterday’s tomorrow 😀
Patricia Logan says:
July 30, 2013 at 5:51 am
Add about 10 years to that, and you’d be about right, Joelle. Heh heh heh
July 30, 2013 at 10:06 am
heh heh heh It’s a well-known fact that Patti has a difficult time adding simple math. heh heh heh
Really, woman? And I use that term loosely. Ah, another term that describes you. 😛
Keep it up, Logan. I’m on a roll today after what you said on Facebook.
Katy Trick says:
July 30, 2013 at 8:09 am
Welcome to the club, Kris. Albeit, late, but an honorable member now just the same. So glad you are recuperating well. One less worry for Pookie, now. Take it easy and heal well. (Ralph has a list of things waiting for you, I’m sure).
July 30, 2013 at 10:07 am
Sadly, I’m behaving and following doctor’s orders. I barely listen to my husband, so you know this is killing me.