Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pre-Surgery Meeting

So, yesterday I had a pre-surgery meeting at Kaiser. I have to give very huge thanks to JB for being awesome and coming with me; it made the experience almost entertaining.

We got there at 8:45 in the a.m., and the morning progressed like this: Check in with clerk, sit in waiting room, wait, fill out paperwork, wait, meet with anesthesiologist, waiting room, meet with registered nurse, waiting room, meet with another nurse, waiting room, meet with admitting clerk/nurse, pay for surgery, finally leave. The whole process took two hours, but we had been warned to expect this, so it wasn't a big issue. And the wait times between meetings weren't too bad. We got to see the same faces several times in the waiting room, as people who arrived at around the same time we did were cycled thru the system. Everyone had a buddy with them, tho some buddies stayed in the waiting room. Most folks were middle aged to elderly, tho there were one or two on the younger side. No one seemed freaked out, and it was kindof amazing to think "We're all here because we're going to get operated on soon." Oh, delicate bodies.

I think nearly every major ethnicity was represented in the nurses and clerks I talked to; that was kindof cool. Also nearly every personality type, which was less cool, but thankfully I got most of my questions answered.

The anesthesiologist was an older man, who definitely had an air of "I've done this a million times before." He explained the basics: no food after midnight the day before the surgery, the anesthesia will be delivered in such-and-such a way, you might feel pukey for days afterwards so stock up on Jello, etc. He told me to stop taking my herbal supplements. I got a pamphlet that is full of happy looking people being put to sleep. So to speak.
He told me all I needed to know I guess, tho I would have liked him to be a bit warmer in his delivery. I understand he has to give this information dozens of times a day, but there's a pretty big disconnect between his boredom and what I can only assume is most patients' anxiety.

Next up was the registered nurse, who was maybe clinically o.c.d. - she delivered all her info rapid-fire, while straightening her pens over & over. Her job was to tell us how the day would go, where we needed to be, and what we needed to do. This is when I found out that I might be discharged same-day. My surgeon had said he wanted to keep me overnight, but my paperwork says I will be outpatient. This was an issue all morning - the confusion over my one-versus-two-day stay. I think it will be straightened out that day - I was told so; if I am struggling and feeling terrible, they will keep me overnight. I want to be out of there asap, but I also don't want to go home if I feel like utter crap.

The other nurse took my vital signs and asked questions about my medical history. Not sure why, as all this should be on record, but whatever. She was a pretty cool lady - much calmer and more personable than the other two folks, but I only saw her briefly. She listened to my heart and breathing, and let me go.

The last person we saw was a grim woman who basically just typed up all the information I'd written down, while we waited and JB's stomach growled.

It all served to make the surgery feel pretty inevitable, which I think is a good thing. I had been worrying recently about not getting another biopsy, and the possibility of it not being cancer and having to lose my thyroid for nothing. But JB made a great point, saying that even if it weren't cancer now (tho it probably is), it could turn cancerous later, when it's harder to treat effectively. Plus, and this comes from me not him, tho we both know it's true, I am a total worrywart, so I will always look at the lump on my neck and wonder. I was wondering even before my diagnosis, and it certainly wouldn't become less of an issue after this experience.

So, yes, it sucks but it looks like surgery is for the best. I think it'll go well, and I think, hope, that I'll recover well and adapt well to the pill-taking.

We shall see. One week from today.

In happier news, we went to the Alameda County Fair last Saturday and had an amaaaazing time. I can't wait to go next year! I wanted to post video, but Blogger was being slow. (Actually, it's probably my internet connection.) Maybe tomorrow. Soon!

1 comment:

  1. The nodule that large cancerous or not needs to be removed as it can later compress the vital neck structures