Tag Archives: surgery

probing my ladyparts, part 2

Nurse Ratched. "no i won't hold your hand!" (i hope you have surgery one day and some mean nurse won't hold *your* hand!)

since all you sickos seemed to just love my last surgery story, (the most popular post in the history of lunch at 11:30) i figured you’d like to know the glorious details of my recent surgery, which, yes, was also gynecological. making it even funnier for you but worse for me.

let’s see. it started with a bowel cleanse. no, wait. it actually started with a clear-liquid diet, excessive hunger, extreme low blood-sugar and hallucinations. then came the bowel cleanse.

when i decided to have the surgery, the dr., we’ll call her Dr. MSG (Mean Sexy Gyno; you’ll learn more about her in my book, yes, my e-book, the one i’m self-publishing BOOYAH) was like, yeah, it’s routine, no big deal. and so i was like yeah, it’s routine, no big deal. i’ll go to the hospital, take a nap (that’s what i tell myself when i’m going under to make myself feel better–like saying oh just give me a little piece of cake i’ll just take the littlest piece! at a party and then you get a big ol piece and eat the whole damn thing anyway, saying well i *asked* for a little piece!), wake up from my nap, we’ll go to the diner. no big whoop.

so holly and i go to to see MSG, who was looking especially sexy but luckily not acting quite as mean as usual, a few days beforehand to discuss the procedure. honestly, i didn’t know what we’d talk about. i already planned on plugging up my ears and shouting LALALALALA if she even tried telling me how she was going through my bellybutton to probe my insides.

“so i’ve written you a prescription for a narcotic bc you’re going to be in a lot of pain,” she said, deadpan, as we sat around a small round table in her sunny office.

“w-what?” i said. “a lot of pain?”

“yeah,” she said.

“so i’m not going to be able to go to the diner right after the procedure?”

“uh, no,” she said, taking notes on her computer, obviously not interested in answering my questions.

i tried not noticing her nails, which were perfectly polished. or her high sexy boots, short skirt, and looooong jacket (just like the cake song!) bc you’re not supposed to notice things like that about your gyno for crying out loud, esp when you’re a homo. esp when she’s cutting you open in a couple days.

“you’ll be fine when you get home, bc you’ll be drugged up,” she continued. “it’s the next day that’s going to be your worst. i’ll be filling your abdomen with gas during the surgery. afterwards, the gas is going to migrate to your diaphragm and then settle in your right shoulder. i’m telling you now so you don’t think you’re having a heart attack. it’s going to hurt like hell. you’ll start your liquid diet monday and you’ll do your bowel cleanse that night. nothing to drink after midnight. no tea. nothing. if you even have a stick of gum i’m canceling the whole thing. let’s see, your procedure’s tuesday, so plan on being out of commission until monday.”

w-w-w-wait. gas in my abdomen? settle in my right shoulder? feel like a heart attack? out of commission til MONDAY? LIQUID DIET? BOWEL CLEANSE?!!!!!!!!!

HOLY SHIT LADY. WHAT IN THE HELL.

apparently, for MSG to a) see if i had endometriosis and b) remove it if i had it at all, my digestive track needed to be completely clear so she could LALALALALA. i don’t know what she said bc i put my fingers in my ears and let holly listen to the rest.

the day before the surgery i was to wake up and only ingest clear liquids which hello! is practically a death sentence for someone like me who has to eat every three hours. at 2pm i would take two dulcolax, which was bad enough. then pour entire bottle of miralax–that’s a two-week supply–into a 32oz. bottle of sports drink and then drink 8oz. every hour starting at 4pm until it was gone. then i would crap my brains out and be ready for MSG to filet me like a fish.

needless to say i was not happy. all i’m going to tell you is that i spent that monday delirious with low blood sugar and i will never ever drink blue powerade–or anything BLUE– again. ever. again. (i just got chills as i wrote that.)

by the time i checked into the hospital the next day, i was so hollow that if i passed gas i was sure it’d sound like Old Man Winter at the south pole. i went back to the little pre-op room and put on my gowns, then told the IV lady not to tell me what she was doing but then she said the word “vein” anyway and i almost fainted.

then MSG came in and ignored me while i asked her questions. i wanted to tell her that she looked pretty with her hair in her scrub/net thingy, but i thought that would be inappropriate. instead i complimented her orange crocs, which she also ignored.

soon, holly was allowed to come back and sit with me. it wasn’t long until everyone and their mom started to come in and introduce themselves, which, i have to admit, was pretty nice. the anesthesiologist stopped by and after he told us he was “heavy-handed” with his drugs (!!??), he and holly talked about ballpoint pens and which were their favorites, both agreeing that these silver fine-point clicky pens from staples were the best. yeah, i know. i don’t get it either.

then this nice nurse lady came back to say hi and just when she had me somewhat relaxed, pulled a fast one on me by saying she was ready to take me back. that’s when i started to sweat profusely.

holly gave me a hug and a kiss and the nice nurse lady held my IV bag as we walked to the operating room. this was a far cry from being wheeled into the OR 100% high on drugs last time.

as we approached the door, i noticed a small ravens sticker on the little OR window. as a steelers fan suffering from low blood sugar i decided i could not stand for this.

“a ravens sticker? on the OR door?! you have got to be kidding me.”

the nice nurse lady whispered to me that she was an eagles fan so she understood how i felt. then i engaged her in a discussion about the city of philadelphia so i could keep myself from fainting.

so i get to the operating table–and i can’t even believe i’m still conscious by this point–and she tells me to step up to the table with the help of this little step stool. she helps me up and i lie down on this padded table, which mysteriously seems…really wet. NO I DIDN’T DO WHAT YOU THINK I DID. I WAS STILL CONSCIOUS JUST LISTEN TO THE STORY.

i tell the nice nurse lady that the padded paper stuff underneath me feels really wet.

“well you mentioned you were sweating,” she says.

“yeah but it feels really wet. i’m not sweating that much.”

“hmm, let’s see. here, let me help you sit up.”

the nurse leans down while i raise my arms up so she can help me up. suddenly i hear the anesthesiologist say, nurse, i already administered the…

the last thing i remember is reaching for the nurse and wanting to say hold me! (i get alarmingly mushy when drugged, more on that in a sec) then i fell back. then i woke up.

oooh it’s so bright, i remember thinking.

“am i still in surgery?” i remember calling out to no one.

“no, you’re in recovery, sweetie,” said the recovery nurse. we’ll call her Nurse Ratched. it was one of those times someone calls you “sweetie” but you know they totally don’t mean it and are only saying it to you bc they’re pretending to be nice bc they feel like they have to or else they’ll get fired.

usually i come out of anesthesia feeling relaxed and pretty excellent. but this time i was totally freaking out. i was shaking and i could hear my doggone heart beating on this monitor thing, which only made my heart beat faster.

“i’m shaking,” i told Nurse Ratched. “i’m so nervous. can you hold my hand and just talk to me for a little bit?”

“i’m sorry, sweetie, but i have other patients to attend to.”

“oh.”

i waited, shaking, for a little longer and then asked again, trying not to sound too desperate.

“do you think you could just hold my hand and talk to me until i calm down? just for a few minutes?”

and you know what that bitch said? she said no. again. i did a breathing exercise i heard about on the today show (i need a t-shirt that says, “everything i ever learned i learned on the today show”) except for i couldn’t really remember it. was it breathe in for 4 seconds then hold it for 7, then out for 8? or in for 7, hold for 8 then out for 4?

“why am i so nervous?” i asked her as she typed on her computer. “why am i shaking?”

“it’s just your nature, sweetie.”

it’s just…MY NATURE?! i swear if i wasn’t drugged up at that moment, i would’ve  given that bitch a jersey backhand into the next century.

you wanna get all existential on my ass? i wanted to say. i’ll show you existential!

instead i continued shaking and tried to remember more breathing exercises while i listened to my heartbeat on that damn monitor, which of course made it beat faster. when Nurse Ratched left, i took the monitor off my index finger. it set off an alarm so i put it back on and shut my eyes like i fell back asleep.

obviously the breathing exercises weren’t working, so instead i forced myself to think about funny online videos, like this one, which i know is mean but c’mon ppl i was desperate. and this one (is megan mccarthy not the funniest woman on the planet?!).

who’dya have to f*ck around here to have someone hold your motherf*ckin hand! i thought, feeling mad and alone.

then i decided to ask Nurse Ratched if holly could come back every two minutes until she would break down and let her back to see me.

her name is holly and she’s my partner, i slurred. can you have her come back here please?

then she asked on a scale of 1 to 10 how bad was my pain? i said 5, then she administered something, then i felt tingly and didn’t feel the need to talk anymore.

before i knew it, Nurse Ratched had me standing up and was putting those weird little hospital boy shorts on me (what are those things made of? i kind of love them, do they come in a five-pack?).

“here, let me just put a pad on you in case you bleed,” she said.

oh great, Nurse Ratched. sure, put a pad on me. you won’t hold my damn hand but you’ll put on my underwear and slap a pad on me? i didn’t have any energy to fight so i put my arm around her and tried not to feel too violated. hell, i already had enough people messin with my downstairs, might as well have one more, i thought.

holly came back and i swear i was so happy to see her i just about bursted out of my skin. i tried to talk to her but the words wouldn’t come out. so instead i held her hand and whispered that the nurse was a real bitch and i would tell her later, could she get another pair of the stretchy boy shorts to take home with us?

MSG came back and told us that i had just a mild case of endometriosis, which she removed, and to eat a very light diet for the next 24 hours. i was pissed bc i wanted a bagel, cream cheese and lox (lox! the jewish sushi) and now that was out of the question.

Nurse Ratched was playing it reeeeal nice now that holly was back there, but i saw right through it and yes, i was going to call her manager.

a clueless nursing student wheeled me downstairs while holly got the car. we got home and within a couple hours, i felt like i had been hit by a 10-ton truck. i’m glad i skipped the bagel, cream cheese and lox bc let’s just say it took a while for my digestive track to get…back to normal.

the next day, a woman from the hospital called to see how i was feeling and i took the opportunity to tell her how mean Nurse Ratched was to me, that i was nervous and shaking and if she didn’t have the time to hold my friggin hand and talk to me for a few damn minutes, then she could’ve found someone that could have. she sounded kind of alarmed and told me that she would pass that along though i kind of doubted that she actually would, as she probably just wanted to get off the phone with me by that point.

so anyway, that’s why i left you in connecticut last month when i really needed to be telling you about our wedding blitz vermont wedding. i was freaking out about my surgery, then i had my surgery, then i was recovering from surgery and picking up the pieces of my broken life that i pretty much ignored for a couple weeks while i sat motionless at my computer watching my facebook newsfeed, hitting “like” at any and all photos of dogs and/or babies and/or dogs and babies together. so that’s where i was. in case you were wondering.

speaking of our wedding blitz, we’re totally famous now. well, more like regionally famous. ok we’re famous with the university of maryland undergrad newswire service. but we’re available for interviews, and we’re gonna keep gettin married til we can’t get married no more!

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this is me, at the hospital, on drugs

one week ago today, i made a mix for my ipod designed specifically to calm me down before outpatient surgery at john hopkins. the most logical thing to name it was, of course, “surgery mix,” (or “don’t bolt out the door mix,” “don’t barf mix,” “don’t look at the IV needle mix,” or, my personal favorite, “don’t think about the fact that strangers are putting you to sleep in order to probe your ladyparts and remove things from you mix”) but just the thought of “surgery mix” made me want to faint so i named it something  mysterious and vague only i could recognize: “new mix.”

“new mix” was a choice selection of what some in the “lite hits” radio industry might call the best of the 70s, 80s, 90s and today. artist & song highlights included but were not limited to:

barry manilow (“daybreak” “it’s a miracle”)
billy joel (“say goodbye to hollywood” “new york state of mind”)
madonna (“true blue”)
fleetwood mac (“gypsy,” the appropriately titled “hold me” & more)
john mayer (“half of my heart”)
michael jackson (“human nature” “pretty young thing”)
roxette (“(i could never) give you up”)
dave matthews, steve miller band, prince, the b-52s, the list goes on & kind of ruins my street cred [b/c unbeknownst to most, i’m actually huge in the baltimore hip-hop/rap scene, so, you know, i need to keep my street cred and not tell you that go west’s “king of wishful thinking” was on there, too. (c’mon, i’m sure there are at least a few rappers that dig the pretty woman soundtrack)]

i’m telling you about my mix to drive home the point that i was a sweating, shivering, shaking nervous wreck last tuesday that did not want surgery and needed a mix so i wouldn’t bolt out the building in my gown and tan hospital socks (the kind with the rubber tread on them) and run home. (yes, technically i could run home from the hopkins campus, and, yes, holly and i once saw a guy in a hospital gown on baltimore street tho he asked us for a prescription for pain meds so i don’t think he was actually coming from the hospital.)

i was there to have a polyp removed from my uterus. nothing too serious, but serious enough that they had to put me under. despite the fact that they were going to put a camera and a vacuum and who knows what else inside me, it wasn’t the procedure per se that i was nervous about. it wasn’t even the forms i had to sign at a pre-op appt signing off on the fact that, you know, i could die while unconscious. it was the mere notion that they were putting me under with drugs.

i was confident that i’d be safe and come out, you know, alive. it just freaks me the hell out to be put to sleep. i suppose this is because  i’m a neurotic, jersey-born, overthinking jew that has to know exactly what’s going on all the time and can’t let go even for one minute. (G-d bless holly. i am living proof that even the most neurotic among us can find a mate and be happily married.)

i’ve been lucky enough to have surgery only one other time in my life. it was sinus surgery (oh man, won’t even go there) and i was so nervous about it that i actually gave myself a fever beforehand. once again, it wasn’t the fact that they were going up my nostrils with drills and whatnot. no. it was b/c i was scared shitless they were knocking my ass out.

as i lay there feverish and shaking (with holly and my parents looking on like three deer in headlights), the anesthesiologist noticed my fear (i think my fear that morning was visible from outer space), smiled and said he was going to give me “a morning cocktail.” i had no idea what he was talking about, but it sounded oddly comforting. (probably b/c i had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.)

before i knew it, he shot up my IV with who know what and, folks, lemme tell you, after an initial bout of dizziness (and my “initial bout” i mean i bolted upright in my wheely hospital bed shouting at holly, “HONEY I’M SO DIZZY”), i was FLYING. i don’t remember much but i do remember waving with my entire right arm–like i was at an 80s stadium concert (or doing the nkotb “hangin tough” dance)–back and forth, back and forth, shouting “BYYYEEEE! LOVE YOU GUYS!” as they wheeled me out the door.

while zooming (in my mind i was indeed “zooming”) down the hospital hallway, i had myself completely convinced that i was on “ER” and i was the star of the show. i felt so cool, you have no idea. (holly tells me she and my parents heard me laughing down the entire hallway.)

 i vaguely recall the OR team asking me if i could get on some kind of metal operating table (my body felt soooo heavy), then i saw an MRI on the wall and thought heeeeey, coooooool, that’s my skull. i woke up hours later holding this really pretty nurse’s hand (that’s how you know you’re really, truly gay–you have the hots for some random nurse while you’re coming out of anesthesia) with my nose and sinuses packed full of cotton.

yes, everything worked out just fine. but that was september 2004. i’ve developed a lot more neuroses since then, not to mention am much more aware of my mortality, and thus was much more nervous about being put under. and having an IV put in. and basically being at the hospital altogether.

things started to suck when i found out holly couldn’t come back and be with me while they put in my IV. yes, i am that much of a baby. then these two resident doctor-in-training dudes come by to introduce themselves and tell me that they’d be “observing” my surgery. they were nice enough, but what i really wanted to do with kick them in the teeth with my tan rubber-soled socks and tell them i didn’t want them there staring at my ladyparts while i was unconscious. before i had a chance to let my true colors shine, the nurse came by to give me an IV, at which point i plugged in my earphones, pumped up my “new mix” and pretended to be on a beach while the nurse punctured my vein (thump–oops sorry i actually just fainted while i wrote that).

shortly thereafter, holly and my mom came back to keep me company, which i was grateful for, but unfortunately didn’t help that much b/c i was pretty much inconsolable by that point. then another resident came by to tell me she was coming to watch the surgery, too. GREAT! HOW BOUT YOU INVITE YOUR MOM AND GRANDMA ALSO! INVITE THE WHOLE FAMILY. WHAT THE HELL DO I CARE, I’M GOING TO BE UNCONSCIOUS! then another resident came by, this time an anesthesiologist in training, introduced herself (tiffany–i remember her ID card) and, since she would be one of the ppl knocking my ass out, i proceeded to babble on and on to her about how nervous i was about being put under until i proved that i was certifiably nuts. or at least needed anti-anxiety medication.

she smiled and inquired if i wanted something to help calm me down before surgery. a normal person would say, “you know what, tiffany? that sounds like a mighty fine idea. yes, please. thank you for asking, that would be lovely!”

instead i said something about being anxious about taking anti-anxiety medication and maybe i shouldn’t take it but then again maybe i should. then the lead anesthesiologist and the OR nurse came by to introduce themselves (total count in the OR, including the doctor doing the surgery, was up to seven at this point) at which point i announced i had to pee.

a nurse helped me up and gave me instructions on how to hang up the IV bag on the back of the door. while i birdnested the toilet (hello, it’s a hospital but i’m still not sitting directly on the toiletseat) while simultaneously trying to both talk myself out of a panic attack and not see the blood collecting in the IV tube (what the?!), a young doctor-looking guy wearing a scrub-thing on his head and mask opened the door.

“oops! sorry!”

“no problem,” i told him.

hell, it wasn’t a problem. my modesty had gone to hell in a handbasket anyway, what with the entire staff of johns hopkins about to see the inside of my uterus and who knows what else while i was “sleeping.”

so i get back to my little pre-op area and tiffany wants to know what i decided about the anti-anxiety meds. she tells me she’ll just give me just half a dose.

“honey, it’s ok. you should get it. it’ll help,” holly said, holding my hand.

“no, it’ll just make me dizzy,” i said, more panic setting in.

before i knew it, i had agreed (tiffany was very convincing–she told me it would feel like i drank a cocktail) and she was dosing me up. it didn’t hit me til i got in the operating room.

“wooah, it’s BRIGHT in here,” i said covering my eyes as tiffany wheeled me in. “WOW I’M REALLY DIZZY.”

and i was–really really really dizzy. but instead of making me really really nervous, it seemed really really funny. everything just seemed so funny.

“it feels like i drank a wholelottacocktails,” i slurred.

“it’s supposed to feel like that,” she told me.

i remember looking at the big operating table under the bright lights, thinking, gee, the looks of this insanely large operating table under all these bright lights with alllll of these doctors and residents and nurses around should be making me nervous but instead it seems funny! this is all so funny!

then i saw the gynecologist that was doing the surgery. she had her hair back in a net-scrub-thingy and i remember thinking oh my gosh i know you! you’re the doctor! i recognize you even with your hair back!!!!! this, of course, seemed even funnier. i also felt very, very proud of the fact that i recognized her. i was high as a kite.

i got up on the table somehow and they told me to put my head in this head-holder thing, which, of course, seemed really funny. they asked me to “scoot down a little” (when you’re a woman and you regularly go to the gynecologist, they’re always friggin telling you to “scoot down a little) and i think i was trash talking the scheduler who arranged the surgery for me? (i think i slurred something along the lines of that mary, shhhhhhe’s reaaallly nice but she has noooo idea whaaaaat the hellllll she’s doing. (drugs = truth serum) and i think i remember the doctor laughing and saying she’d be sure to tell her that.)

someone told me they were going to cover me up with warm blankets. oooooh, those are so warm, i thought. they felt like the best friggin things in the world. i think i remember tiffany hovering above me saying…something. except i couldn’t hear her. your lips are moving but you’re not making any sound, i wanted to say.

then the head anesthesiologist told me they were just giving me some oxygen and put this clear plastic mouth/breathing thingy over my mouth or nose or both and told me to take a deep breath. i remember the air coming thru the plastic thing smelling bad. oooh that smells really bad, i garbled. then he held it above my mouth and told me to take some deeeeep breaths. that’s so nice he’s giving me oxygen before my surgery, that’s so nice i remember thinking. then i woke up two hours later in recovery. oxygen my ass.

i was in and out of sleep and so comfortable in recovery. and everything still seemed so amusing. things that would normally bother me (the guy across from me with a bowl over one eye; the guy next to me saying he was nauseous) didn’t. a nurse came by and asked me if i wanted some ginger ale and brought me graham crackers. this delighted me.

mmmmm these are delicious, i thought, still clearly under the influence. mmmmm this ginger ale is so nice and cold

the same nurse came by and asked me on a scale of one to 10, how much pain was i in? i said eight, which, honestly? i don’t know why i said that. i don’t think it was really an eight. then she gave me painkillers and came back some time later asking the same question. i told her three. then she asked me if i wanted some oxy-something or other and i was like, “no, that’s ok.” (thank goodness. i don’t want to ever take anything beginning with “oxy”)

i kept telling her i felt like i was bleeding and when could i see my family. then she put some weird hospital boy-shorts underwear on me and walked me into the next recovery station. another nurse came by and gave me more ginger ale and shortbread cookies (lorna doones!), which, yes, absolutely delighted me. the doctor came by and told holly and my mom–who had arrived by then–about my uterus and how they found two polyps and everything looked good and etc. but i don’t remember that. all i remember thinking is: man these cookies are soooooo good. num num num.

holly told me i looked pretty darn good (drugs) and i felt sooooooo proud i had made it thru the ordeal (again: drugs). when we were leaving she told me to take the remaining packet of cookies with me (we don’t keep fun things like cookies in our house) and when we got home i realized i had taken the empty packet with me. drugs, people. drugs.

i slept a lot when i came home and throughout the next day. as i came to, i told holly about everything. pretty much exactly what i just told you guys.

“maybe you didn’t think all those things,” holly said. “maybe you said them.”

“holy crap. maybe i did.”

i gave tiffany my card before she drugged me up, telling her that i’m not actually this crazy, i’m actually an established writer that’s really not nuts (beware of people that tell you they’re not crazy; they usually are. also beware of those that claim to be “spiritual” as they’re usually satan’s children) and that i’d be blogging about this. she pledged to check back and comment. so we’ll just have to wait and see.

i would like to thank the staff of the johns hopkins outpatient surgery center for doing such a great job. if i ever have to go under again, you guys are the crew i’d choose. and if i said something offensive to you while i was high on drugs, i apologize. i’m sure i didn’t actually mean it and you can blame it on tiffany for overmedicated me.