The week of surgery arrived. It was scheduled for Thursday. On Monday, I had to get an pre-operative EKG done.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION : Years ago, when I was 9 months pregnant, I started having severe dizzy spells. I was already under the care of several doctors, my high-risk obstetrician and rheumatologist due to the lupus. They both felt I needed to see a cardiologist. Enter the wonder doc! This petite dynamo came into the room, after several other professionals said they didn’t know what was happening to me, and diagnosed me with a patent foraman ovale – aka a hole in my heart. She was awesome! Where others got lost, she found the answer. It was seriously cool. BUT this meant that I couldn’t have a normal labor and delivery. Everything was planned out for an induction. No one wanted my labor to start on its own. In the end, after about 18 hours of labor, no progress was made and we met our beautiful daughter via c-section. Anyway, having that PFO means that all I.V. tubing needs to be carefully checked for bubbles, (to avoid emboli), and I have to do periodic EKGs.
Ok, back to the present! The test was done and blood work sent out. At around 6 p.m. that evening, I received a call from the nurse at my internist’s office. She explained that I had to get a chest x-ray. They’d faxed the order to a local radiology office and they were expecting me the next day. Let’s remind our loyal readers that this gal was going through HORRIBLE withdrawal while going back and forth to all of these doctors. But since my surgery was going forward, that meant the pre-op requirements had to be met.
On Tuesday, I stumbled out of bed and somehow got to the office for the chest x-ray. The woman at the reception desk searched through all of the orders and found nothing in my name. Ummmmm, seriously?!?! You can imagine how upsetting this was. I could barely stand up straight, now I had to deal with this mini crisis. Of course my internist’s office was closed that day – I kid you not – and the surgery was in 2 days! Timing is everything, so I did what anyone else would have done: called the surgeon myself a and asked if I really needed the chest x-ray. As a nurse, I knew better than to ask such a stupid question. Blame the lack of morphine. So, being the clever gal that I am, I demanded that they send a new script or I would have to leave the office and crawl home to bed. They sent a new order. Crisis averted.
Over the course of those pre-op days, I felt like I was getting sick. Back to the internist on Wednesday to be checked. I called my surgeon’s office and left word that I wasn’t feeling well. Turned out that the message wasn’t passed along until late Wednesday night. This is where things get interesting. Thursday morning rolls around. My husband and I took a car to the hospital. We waited. And waited. Finally the woman at the reception desk called to find out what was going on. She looked over the desk at me, phone receiver in her hand and said, “The procedure is cancelled? She’ll have to reschedule? Ok. Thanks.” I vaguely remember shouting, “No! No! No! You have GOT to be kidding me!” This was all as I began to sob, doubling over. My poor husband was standing next to me. Standing upright again, I raced out into the hall. I was overwrought. It felt like my lungs were collapsing and the room was spinning. There was a family standing in the hall, talking about their relative who WAS having his procedure. They stopped and sort-of nervously stared at me as I paced, trying to catch my breath. After what could only have been 5 minutes but felt like an hour, I returned to the pre-op area. My husband was still by the desk, quietly listening as the receptionist explained -repeatedly, apparently-that there wasn’t anything she could do. I say that because my husband said absolutely nothing to her while I was melting down, but she clearly felt like she needed to defend her role in all of it. She didn’t, obviously. We collected our coats, I thanked her between tears and left.
As we walked down the hall, I was hysterical, dh was super-calm. Once we got back to the first floor, he guided me to a quiet corner of the lobby so we could call my surgeon. My “I’m not feeling well” message only reached the surgeon the night before and he didn’t want to take ANY chances since the procedure involves my spine. The medtronic rep said we had a two-week window to get the surgery done and it scared me to wait too long. If we passed two weeks, the catheter leading from the pump to my spine could dry out and need replacing. The nurse promised that she’d take care of everything herself and told me to go home and rest.
After the pump was shut off, it really felt like a death to me. It’s hard to explain, but it did. Not being able to replace it and feel better made me simultaneously sad and furious. But there was no other option. At least that’s what I initially thought.
Maybe I didn’t need the rug after all…….I’ll leave it there for now.
Peace and painlessness,