I had my surgery done at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Dr. Figenshau was the lead surgeon.
I had my consultation with Dr. Figenshau at the West County campus, and the surgery and post-op stay at the main facility next to Forest Park. Like a lot of major hospitals, the main campus of BJC is a confusing city-block sized pile that always seems to be under construction. The day before surgery, my wife and I had driven to St. Louis (2 hrs from home) and stayed the night near the hospital. We didn't stay there, but there is a hotel attached to the 'north' parking garage (the Parkway) that is connected to the hospital and makes special arrangements for patients and families.
The morning of surgery, we found our way into the North parking garage off of Forest Park Avenue. We wound up parking on the very top level, and this was February 17, 2015, and extremely cold with snow. We made our way into the hospital, and found the directions very clear to the area we needed to find. The overhead walkways connecting the buildings were well marked. As we made our way to the main building for checking, we heard a voice behind us that said, "you're going the wrong way to get to Effingham!". I turned and saw a nurse I've known for years, who is now working there. She asked why we were there, and I told her. She wished me luck and told me that I wouldn't be on her unit, but she'd check on me anyway.
Arrived in the surgical check in area, was given a pager, and my wife filled out an information card and got a nametag to wear. It didn't take long and we were called, along with 5 or 6 other patients and families, and taken up to the surgical prep floor. Put in a cube with a gurney, and was told to get in the gown and out of street clothes. From then on, everything flowed efficiently. The prep nurse came in, then Dr. Figenshau and his residents and a surgical fellow. Soon after came the anesthesiologist and his assistant. about
11:30, there was an animated conversation at the nurses station about
how the charting system had just crashed, and they were moaning about
having to hand chart everything.
Just before 12, the nurse-anesthetist came in and we talked about
what was coming. She asked if I wanted to be out then, or wait until we got to the OR, I didn't really care, so the next thing I knew it was 4:30 pm and I was in the recovery room.
Got to the room at 8 pm, on the 17th floor of Queeny tower. I had the bed by the door, so no view...not that I would have cared. The night shift nurse and aide were great. I didn't sleep much, and had some pain issues. Someone checked on me every hour or two. In the morning, the first person I met was actually the breakfast guy. He apologized for bringing me cream of wheat...all that was allowed on my liquid diet. He did give me several tubs of margarine to help it go down. He promised that if I was on a real diet for lunch, he'd do better.
The day team came in and introduced themselves after breakfast, and apologized because the charting system was still down, so it would take longer for everything. Soon they came in, took off the oxygen and told me it was time to walk. They got me out of bed and we started the parade around the nurses station. Nurse on one side, aide on the other, IV pole in my left hand, cath bag in my right hand. Butt hanging out, we walked around the floor.
An hour or so later, the aide took me for another walk...and told me that I was on my own after that. Noon came, and the food guy came back..meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots. Not bad. Sometime during the morning Dr. Figenshau came in and looked at my dressings, and introduced his Residents again. Around 3, the Fellow came in and told me I was released. It took an hour or so to get the paperwork done and an orderly with a wheelchair came and got me. Wife went to get the car and bring it around, and they helped me in and sent me home.
On post surgical day 5, Dr. Figenshau called me at home to ask how I was doing and to give me my post-surgical pathology report.
Impressions? BJC is a great facility. Everyone was friendly and professional. I got top-end care and feel like I got everything I needed.