The last time I had real surgery (i.e. with general anesthesia – not that colonoscopy, sedative kid’s stuff), I was five years old (my appendix was removed), so this was all quite new to me. Here are a few initial impressions.
After going through registration and several preparatory processing stages in the hospital, where great pains (thankfully) were taken to ensure that I was the guy whose name matched the plastic bracelet on my wrist, I was ultimately rolled into the “Holding Area.” There, multiple people, including the anesthesiologist, yet again, verified who I was and that I had not been lying on the previous occasions about not having false teeth or about not wearing contact lenses. As a final check, the surgeon came into the Holding Area and spoke to me. We had previously met, so he knew that I was his patient and, as such, didn’t do the wrist thing. He did follow the hospital rules and physically marked the spot that was to be operated on. I guess that’s to make sure that the people in the operating room could stop him if he started working on my leg or something.
I was then rolled down a seemingly endless hall to the operating room. Upon my arrival, a masked, hooded and gowned lady greeted me with, “Welcome to Surgical Suite No. 18.” I said, “Thank you,” but I was thinking, “I’d rather be in Philadelphia.”
The first order of business was to move me from the rolling bed to the operating table. It went flawlessly, but there is just something unnerving about an operating table, as it looks like a slab on which meat is sliced (I suppose that’s what it really is), except, of course, that it is padded.
My immediate thoughts were, “Why is the surgical suite as cold as a walk-in beer cooler?” and “I’m not exactly dressed properly for the weather in here.” Trying to appear nonchalant, I glanced to my left to see a surgical nurse preparing an array of stainless steel plumbing type instruments that would rival any tool collection in Home Depot or torture chamber. Yeef!
I then stared straight up for a few seconds at the light over the operating table and thought that the damned thing must be as big as the lens in the Hubble Telescope. Yeef!
Finally, I looked to my right and saw a TV screen. One of the masked, hooded and gowned ladies cheerily said, “You’re going to be on television.” Not a moment of great creativity for me, all I could think of to say was “Cool,” but I was thinking Yeef!
By this time, more than a little overwhelmed by it all, I thought, “Just give me the farookin’ anesthesia, and let’s rock.” The anesthesiologist must have read my mind, for at that moment, he slapped a mask over my mouth and nose and, while I slept, the masked, hooded and gowned folks in Surgical Suite 18 rocked.
I’m happy to say they did nice work.