This might get a little lengthy, so you may want to grab a coffee and make yourself comfortable.
At 8:00 am on Tuesday morning of last week, they wheeled me from the pre-op prep room to the operating theatre and my mind was awhirle with all the possibilities. As we entered the room, my surgeon, Dr. Pautler greeted me and introduced me to Da Vinci. Standing off in the corner of the room, was this large octopus with arms extended down, covered with a large poly sheet. He pointed across the room to the console where he would sit. I was curious about the bed they transferred me to which had a large foam mattress with large foam points pointing upwards. I asked him what the points were for and then woke up in my hospital room a 3:30 pm. The surgeon and Da Vinci had done their deed and I was past the stage that I had waited seven months for.
It might be interesting to relay my experiences over the next few days after surgery. The room was very nice with a view of a quadrangle between the four wings of the hospital with lots of air conditioning and heating equipment on the roofs. Along the edges of the roof were a group of about a hundred pigeons who periodically, at the call of the leader, took off in unison and swooped and dive bombed down into the quadrangle and eventually repositioned themselves along the roof edges. They were quite content with this until the periodical visit of a beautiful red tailed hawk, which seemed to command the position of king of the castle. The pigeons left in rather a hurry whenever the hawk installed himself on vent pipe extending from the roof. But I digress…………………. Sorry, I will now get back on track here.
It soon became apparent that checking my modesty at the door was quite correct as a couple of nurses descended upon me and prepared all the necessary accoutrements to get me comfortable. This included, but was thankfully not limited to, the inspection of the wound sites and my dangly bits. Let me rephrase that, my shrivelled dangly bits which will heretofore be referred to as my SDB’s for brevity. It occurred to me that they at least could have inserted a larger diameter catheter to make a half decent show of it, but again, I digress……………………….. and we must move on.
Nurse Jen was the usual brightly dressed cheery soul who made me feel quite comfortable, but I must, at this time take a minute to describe her companion, Nurse Ruth. Standing at about five foot nothing and cheerily dressed in a jet black top, jet black pants and jet black shoes, she weighed in at about 140 pounds. Her husky voice was at a “low growl” pitch which matched her attire. With a permanent scowl on her face and shoulder length stringy hair, her posture must be described to you to get the full picture. Her upper abdomen inclined forward from the vertical at approximately 15 degrees while her head then straightened to vertical. The side view from the small of her back down was dead flat. ( the no cheek version ), and she walked with short stubby steps, arms hanging straight down with no swing. Are you forming an image yet? Needless to say I dubbed her Nurse Kong from then on and soon learned that to remain on the good side of her and obtain maximum bang for my buck, I must pour on the sweetness augmented with, perhaps the odd banana. But I digress……………… and I know you all want to know about the medical stuff. But before I leave Nurse Kong, I must relate her advice to me upon leaving the room. In her exact words, “ don’t pull out the catheter or you will trash the surgery and, to get your get out of jail ticket, you need to fart before Wednesday. You should also get some rest”. With that cheery note, we moved on. But I digress……………. on the the medical stuff.
I then decided to grab a nap after completing my deep breathing, ankle pump, ankle twists RH, ankle twists LH, ankle extension and ankle pointing up exercises. Just as I drifted off into a nice sleep, I was greeted with what sounded like a low rumbling sound with grating ear piercing scraping noises. It seems that in the continued efforts of the hospital to upgrade the facilities, they were constructing a new fire extinguisher station in the wall right outside my room. The noise was an industrial drill needed to drill through the one inch marble floor covering and the underlying eight inch concrete superstructure for the insertion of water pipes. I soon determined that the drill was operating at low C, and immediately started humming in harmony the song “Windy” in the hope that the floor vibrations and the association with passing gas might get the plumbing moving. This attracted a buzz in the halls which diverted attention from my SDB’s while doing hall laps. This continued for two days from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. That combined with the visits of the nurses every two hours pretty much negated rest, but who was counting on that. But I digress…………………., on to the good stuff.
I was soon up and walking hall circuits which included a trip up to the nursing station at the end of the hall and back. Always curious, I continually searched for evidence of vines in the nurses lounge, but was unable to discover any. I soon became known to all in the hall. I am not sure if that was my continued presence or the fact that in order to push the IV pole and keep the other hand with the IV straight down, I may have occasionally flashed my SDB’s and rear adornments.
Just digressing a bit to SDB’s again, my care staff over my stay in the hospital consisted of seven female nurses, a female physiotherapist for walking and breathing exercises. A female resident Urologist and her female assistant and two female med students with the lone male being Dr. Pautler. It would appear that I was destined to have the SDB inspection entirely by female and made a note to speak to Dr. Pautler about a larger catheter. But I digress again………….. on to the medical stuff.
Food consisted of a liquid diet until I was able to pass gas. There were a plethora of exciting items that landed on my tray including water, apple juice, simulated Jello of assorted mock fruit simulations of flavour, cranberry juice and the main event, cream of whatever soup supplied in rainbow colours to facilitate the use of everyday descriptions, such as cream of celery when in fact, they all tasted alike, a good description being cream of cardboard. Now, jumping ahead a bit, I was treated to two suppositories, one on Wednesday evening, as you may have guessed that there was no passing of gas to this point, and one on Thursday morning. Both these produced a table spoon sized elimination with a small gas accompaniment. This resulted in me being upgraded from liquid to mush status in the food department and extended my stay by one day until a real gas event came along.
Thank goodness, that occurred at 3:30 am on Thursday morning, and the mush diet was firmly installed. BY Friday morning, discharge day, I was treated to Special K, my first solid food since the previous Saturday, remembering that Sunday and Monday of pre-op preparation consisted of Citro-Mag for bowel preparation and frequent visits to my new BFF ( best friend forever), the toilet. But I digress…………… on to the main food event.
As a special treat on Friday for lunch before discharge, I was served comfort food in the form of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Note that the soup is a refined version of cream of whatever with a slightly redder colour. I finished the soup and started on the sandwich. During my first attempt to take a bite, I found myself straining as I pulled the sandwich away from my firmly clamped teeth and quickly did an engineering force calculation which took me over the equivalent of a 10 Lb weight lift that I am forbidden to do. It soon twigged that since my last visit to a hospital in 2007, they had made significant advances in the perfection of rubber toast. It now had a more springy and elastic property that confirmed they were making real progress. Quickly, as my transport was coming to wheel me to the hospital exit for discharge, I formulated a plan to peel the two pieces of toast apart and use my tongue to extract the melted simulated cheddar cheese spread. This resulted in the toast reverting back to flat and partially cutting off breathing through my nose. ( Does that remind you of anything?) Suffice to say that the final overture in the food extravaganza was a bit of a letdown. But I digress………….
Thirty minutes later I was discharged and on my way home to Niagara-on-the-Lake and all the creature comforts of home.
I bet your coffee is cold……………………….
Keep well, Regards,