Friday, October 26, 2007

The Surgery - Part II

If you want to know specifics about John Dear's foot surgery, please see Part I. This part will focus on the experiences of the un-anesthetized during the surgery.

Hospitals are stupid. Not the nurses, not the aides and assistants, not the doctors -- no, they are not stupid people. Most of the people you meet who work in a hospital are some of the kindest, most charitable and certainly intelligent people you could hope to meet. But, hospitals? Yeah, they're idiotic, bird-brained, myopic and needlessly rigid. To paraphrase some great campaign managers, "It's the bureaucracy -- stupid."

After checking in with the surgical waiting room prior to surgery, John Dear was wheeled to a back room where the nurses could get him ready for surgery and ask personal questions. (Not for themselves, it's for HIPAA). Once they are done with the questions and taking vitals, about 15 minutes, the family is allowed to go back and see the patient and they all meet with the surgeon and anesthesiologist together to discuss the surgery and answer any questions.

Did that happen in our case? No. Instead, JD was wheeled back there and was back there for 1.5 hours!! With no books, no wife, no mother. And we have no idea what's going on. This was JD's first experience with surgery and general anesthesia -- he was nervous. I was nervous!!! We all wanted to speak with the doctors.

The aide running the waiting room did all she could, which was admittedly, little. She's not allowed to escort you back until they are done with the questions. When we talked to her, she said that JD was speaking with the doctors and that we could back after that. "But we want to speak to the doctors!!" No can do.

After speaking to the nursing supervisor, we finally got to see John Dear, who was very mellow. ("I think they had given him Valium, cause I've never seen him so calm," his mother said). Three seconds later, the nurses come to take him to surgery. JD's mother got mad on our behalf, saying that we wanted to be there with him or give him a book or something and this wasn't right. (This is why I wanted his mother to be there; she is a very good medical advocate.)

The chief anesthesiologist showed up and after informing him about JD's sleep apnea, said that they would use JD's CPAP (breathing machine for sleep apnea) during the recovery period. See, JD never told him about that stuff, that's why we needed to be in there!!!!!

The surgery took about 2.5 hours, after which the surgeon came back to speak with JD's mom and me. He stayed with us for about 15 minutes -- telling us about the surgery, how well it went and exactly what they did, answering all of our questions. (Love him.)

So all that was left was for JD to move from Phase I of recovery to Phase II and then getting him home before the nerve block on his foot wore off. Did that happen? Read on in The Surgery - Part III.

No comments: