Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma'am!

My trip to the doctor today made me chuckle, and I decided it was time to blog about my recent stroll through the health care system. My surgeon, a lovely Indian man, walked into the exam room and said, "Oh you! You had the really nasty gall bladder!" He said it so gleefully I had to smile. I was glad my gall bladder was sufficiently disgusting to break up the monotony of all those regular screwed-up gall bladders he's had to remove. After waxing lyrical about the overabundance of stones in said gall bladder, he looked at my incision, poked at my belly a little, and said, "Go back to your life." Then before I could blink, he was out the door. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am.

I wasn't mad. Inordinately disgusting gall bladder notwithstanding, I know I'm not special. Just another patient on his table, and the more of us he sees in a day, the more cash rolls in. And honestly, who really wants to spend any more time in a doctor's office than you have to? What's funny is that my surgery pretty much went the same way.

I arrived at the hospital last Tuesday at 6:30 am and I was back home by 10:30 am. I was still groggy from the happy drugs when the recovery room nurse handed me my clothes and asked me if I was ready to get dressed. I wasn't. "No hurry." Two minutes later another nurse was helping me sit up and get into my clothes. Five minutes after that I was in a wheel chair being deposited onto the portico while Bruce hustled to get the car. We pulled away from the entrance, and I'm pretty sure we both said, "Damn."

My surgery was routine for everyone involved...everyone except me. Assembly line gall bladder removal. Again, I'm not complaining really. Having spent two days in the hospital over Thanksgiving weekend after my initial attack, I wasn't anxious to spend a lot more time there.

Anyone who's ever been admitted to the hospital knows it's not a good place to get any rest. Sure, you're confined to a bed, but like clockwork, every time you close your eyes, someone comes along to poke, prod, stick, shake, rattle, and roll. Unless, of course, your IV machine starts beeping, and then no one comes until your head's about to explode and you're weeping with frustration.

The second night I was there, I got a roommate at 1 am. It took them an hour to get her settled. She was transported by ambulance from a hospital one county over because they didn't have a surgeon to take care of her kidney stone. Interestingly, our hospital didn't have a surgeon to do it until 4:00 pm the next day, so of course it made perfect sense to rush her by ambulance in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, I can't unhear the 2 am conversation about passing kidney stones.

It's all good though. I'm lucky enough to live in a country with superb health care and to have a job with good health insurance. This bump in the road would be a game changer without that good health care or that good insurance.

I'm going back to work tomorrow, and I can't tell you how happy that makes me. I'm not usually averse to time off...recharging the batteries, chasing my writing dream, and all that good stuff. But this last week and a half has been mostly spent sleeping or staring listlessly at the television. I talked about the erosion of my mind in my last post. I'm done with that and ready to educate some kids!

(My teacher friends are now certain my mind is gone if I think I'm going to to educate kids when Winter Break is less than two weeks away. Cat-herding anyone?)

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