SURGERY DAY

This post was started almost three weeks ago:

My husband is having a procedure at Johns Hopkins Hospital today. The operation was scheduled for 7:30AM so we were told to be at the hospital by 5: 30. Since we live in Virginia we decided to travel to Baltimore the day before and stay at the motel on the hospital campus. A positive was that when we checked in we asked for the hospital patient rate and that reduced our bill by 65 dollars. 

We arrived at the hospital at the specified time.  As my husband Jerry said, we were in time to hurry up and wait. And wait we did till finally he was called back for the preop procedures. After an hour I was allowed to join him. We had been assured by the surgeon that the anaesthesia would be similar  to the amount given for a colonoscopy. When the anaesthetist arrived she told us it would be a general anaesthesia. I was taken aback . Anesthesia in an “older “ person can be the most dangerous part. And now I sit and wait.

I sent out a group text to the family when Jerry went into surgery. The loving replies are very comforting. Waiting is hard. It seemed like about 24 hours before the surgeon came out to talk  pronouncing the operation a success. But probably only three and then another hour and a half before I could join Jerry in the recovery room. I cried when I first saw him – actually he looked good – they were tears of relief. 

The surgeon wanted Jerry to spend the night in the hospital. And said  I could stay with him. Since there were no rooms available on the Urology unit we were moved to the Marburgh pavillion where patients who want an upscale hospital experience can pay extra for gourmet meals and fresh flowers in their rather spacious and well appointed rooms and a chair which converts to a comfortable twin bed where I could spend the night. The staff was extremely pleasant but what we wanted was competence and knowledge of Jerry’s post op requirements. It was fun to be on the upscale floor- particularly since we didn’t request it , we would not have to pay the additional cost –  but I was still concerned that perhaps the staff would not be as knowledgeable about Jerry’s particular issues as they would be on the Urology floor. 

The post op first night was a bit ragged. The promise of early discharge the next day was something to look forward to. But that did not happen. Johns Hopkins is a massive hospital complex: the upscale wing was at the farther end of the of the hospital from the Urology floor. Any questions or issues concerned with Jerry’s discharge had to be approved by the nurse practitioner  who was located on the urology floor. The procedures involved in discharge seemed very cumbersome to us – we couldn’t help but think that if we had been on the urology floor things would have gone more smoothly. It was about six o’clock before we finally were discharged into Baltimore rush hour traffic.

 Driving in traffic does not bother me but ever since my cataract surgery I am not comfortable in dusk or night driving. The clock was ticking to get back to our home in Northern Virginia. I wondered if it had been a smart move to turn down the driving offers of our children but since we had been told of a mythical early discharge that didn’t seem necessary. Two of our five children and their families live fairly close by to our home.  However, this is a very busy time for families with the start of school and other end of summer activities. So, as long as we can handle the twists and turns of life, this is what we want to do! 

The rush hour was typical rush hour but fortunately no serious tie ups so we got home in good time. And thankfully recovery has gone smoothly!!! Trips to the hospital can get more frequent as one gets older – fortunately this one has a happy ending.

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