When You are Unconscious it Doesn’t Matter


Today I had a day surgery. Last night it poured freezing rain and it was still a frozen mess while my son-in-law drove me off to meet my fate. He’s a good driver, BTW.

When we got there I was bemused about the name of the unit.  Surgery Day Care – it has a certain cachet to it, don’t you think?  We have day care for kids and day care for dementia patients – now there is day care for surgery patients. Who knew?

Really, though, it was just plain old Day Surgery.  Maybe the person who designated the name was fond of the sayings of Yoda.  Day care surgery you will have. Healed you will be.

Beings as this was the place I had the bad experience with the other day I was pleased to find out that I had a mixed bag of experiences.  The anesthesiologist (aka the ‘gas passer’) didn’t know sign, but he knew Deaf and HoH and said I could call him by his first name, which was cool. He also was concerned about the ototoxicity of Tylenol and said he’d be careful. He always looked right at me and he had a great voice.

My prep nurse was awesome – again, didn’t sign, but was easy to teach to talk to me rather than around me. The ER nurse was a loss whether he was wearing a mask or not. Fortunately, Andrew (the anesthesiologist) really ran the communication part of the show.

My surgeon forgot about my hearing loss. We do the “I can’t hear you” thing almost every time we meet, but it is not like he’s my primary care, so I tend to be forgiving towards the ortho who is doing his best to put my various body parts back together with toothpicks and glue.  He tries hard and he’s honest with me – which is a huge issue for me. Just tell me how it is and will be.

I went out like a light in seconds – then it is really pretty unimportant what I don’t hear.  They had my knee marked (cut THIS one) so the appropriate knee was incised in various places to fix the tear(s) and get a light in to get a look around. I don’t know how many incisions since the knee is wrapped and then wrapped again in a huge ace wrap.

To add a thrill to the day my daughter could not come get me as planned as one of the kids came down with something closely resembling either flu or food poisoning. I texted one of my best friends to come get me and his car had a flat on the way. Why the dickens he drove on it until it looked like a black rubber Christmas wreath neither of us are quite sure about.  He changed it in the parking lot rather than where he realized he had a flat. Apparently it made sense at the time.

Nonetheless, he and I communicated by text – and when he’s with me he has a fantastic voice so no problems there.  He and my brother have the only voices I can recognize over the phone.

I insisted on walking out of the hospital since the surgeon told me I could.  The nurse and my pal sorta shook their heads and walked with me – yes it hurt, yes I’m glad I did it, and really, at that time I wasn’t using my ear. Walking on my ear would be rather difficult.  Instead, I was limping down a hall looking determined and testing my stability.

Got home to two nurses from VNA (Visiting Nurses Association) who were here to work with my daughter.  Amazingly enough, both of them were totally great for a deaf or HoH person.  My fav had a pocket full of homemade dog biscuits and the picky Baby Dog ate two of them.  Score.  Baby Dog was absolutely insane with joy when I got back, which is as it should be. While recovering I was dreaming about petting her – so the shared joy is mutual.

So, I had a successful operation on the torn bits of the knee, was able to communicate easily with a few folks and with determination with others. The operation was done under a general anesthetic so they could have been whispering in Swahili while listening to We Are The Champions by Queen and I wouldn’t know the difference.

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7 responses

  1. I have to tell you I am really enjoying reading your posts, and am thankful to have found it a couple of days ago! You are quite spunky, and forgiving at the same time. Do take care and be careful with that knee. (awesome dog picture as well :) ) peace, Kate

    1. Hi Kate,

      Thanks for stopping by. I love the ASL/ILY pumpkin on your blog. Mega kewl.

      I rarely hear the word “spunky” anymore. Thanks.

      Despite being assertive – almost to the point of aggression at times – I also have the inability to retain anger in 99.999% of all cases. It takes way too much energy. I tend to use humor a lot.

      Best,
      Marsha

  2. well I for one am glad your surgery went well :-) ……flat tires always come in three’s for me….there have been two years in my life where I got three flat tires each year…quite annoying to say the least.

    1. I do hope you stop to fix your flats promptly rather than turning them into rubber shreds. :) I suspect since we buy tires 4 at a time (generally) that they figure out ways to remind us of their potential longevity. – So far I’ve only one flat with this set, thank all that is holy.

      And I’m also pleased as punch that the surgery went well. Last night was far more painful that this morning – which I think bodes well for the future. I’m gimping around this morning, trying to determine if I want to stay on the floor where the bathroom is or gimp down to the main floor where the food is.

  3. I hope your recovery is swift and as painless as possible. At my hospital they call it “Out Patient Surgery”, which I thought was a bit funny when they started to put me “out” to do the surgery.
    They also will not start the surgery unless the person who is taking you home is there. Yes, they have to wait the whole time, but at least the hospital makes it as comfy as possible. There’s a quiet place they can lie down in recliners, read or sleep. (that comes in handy when I’ve had to be there at 5:30am before.)
    I’ve been lucky with my surgery personnel, but that’s probably because I’m usually there for surgery on my ears. : )
    They also let my husband back with me until I have to go back, he knows all my meds and such. However, I had it all on a paper…my meds, allergies…all the stuff they ask you so I wouldn’t have to answer the questions. That’s just too hard.
    I fussed at my husband because he kept talking to personnel and didn’t sign to me what he was talking about. We may not know much sign, but he could give me hints, even if it’s a sign he’s making up. He does that so much better at home. I wonder why.

    again, speedy recovery.

    1. LOL Wendy. At least Out Patient Surgery makes a bit of sense rather than Surgical Day Care.

      Thanks for the good wishes. Recovery is proceeding apace.

      You deserve better than you got. You can insist they provide CART for you at the doctor’s office and at the hospital. They can do it remotely, if necessary, but the ADA requires they accomodate you AT NO COST to yourself. That’s the law.

      And your husband talking to personnel without telling you what is going on is totally unacceptable. I’ve been a trained guide for the deaf/blind and while I’m not an interpreter my job (as is his when he is filling that role) is to be an interface for you. He is forgetting his job and being social. It’s not about him, it is about you. Wish we were closer.

      1. My dear, thank you.

        I have been hesitant about asking for any type of interpreter at just the doctor’s office, and have to admit I didn’t know about CART when I had my surgery. They were very nice though, and tried hard to make sure I understood everything. The intake nurse was MUCH better than the nurse who was there when I woke up! What a difference. I wouldn’t answer any of her questions, I kept saying, I’m deaf, I need my husband.

        The reason I’m hesitant at the doctor’s office is because I often have to cancel my appointments at the last minute due to vertigo or migraines…. my doctor’s are very understanding and do not charge me the late cancellation fee, but that might change if they have to pay for an interpreter when I don’t show up.

        I had a talk with my husband. He promises he will stand next to the doctor from now on. When he talks he is asking questions about me, or adding things that he’s notices, since he is my caregiver I understand this, but I NEED to know what he’s saying…I often end up repeating something he said. But I think if he stands close to the doctor i will be able to speech read and catch the rest with my CI’s. (ever notice how the acoustics in doctor’s offices are just horrible?) He really is a huge help. I’m amazed at how much he helps me….not just with hearing, with everything.

        You are a dear person, and teach me a lot! i’m glad I found you.
        wendy

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