Friday morning my wife and I arose at 4 a.m. and left for Baylor Medical Center in Dallas at 4:30 a.m. We arrived at the check-in at about 20 minutes after 5:00 a.m. The Baylor hospital folks were very helpful.
Before too long a time had passed, I was lying on a gurney, dressed vaguely like a mummy in a Brendan Fraser movie, only a bit less wrapped. During the initial stages of this part of the action, I was able to introduce my wife to my surgeon, to meet the fellow who was my anesthesiologist and learn of how I would be sedated, to sign a fascinating array of documents about surgery, and to meet the knowledgeable resident doctor who would assist. She let us know I would be staying overnight. My wife, as ever, provided a great deal of support and assistance. The surgeon marked his initials on the right side. Various IVs were placed, and I felt all dressed up with someplace to go.
At 7:30 a.m. I was wheeled on my gurney into another kind of prelminary room. The guy who wheeled me managed to keep up a very impressive clip with no discomfort for me. Soon we had 'arrived' in another pre-op place. My anesthesiologist remarked that he was from Rowlett, as was another staff member. I work one town over from Rowlett, in Garland. The doctor said he was going to start the first anesthetic drip, and that it would cause a 'funny feeling'. I figured that any moment, someone would put a mask on me and say "count backwards from 100", or, more probably, that I would be rendered unconscious by one of the later drips.
The next thing I knew, I woke up in the post-operative room. The clock on the wall said 10:45 a.m. Soon my wife was permitted to come and see me. She explained that my surgeon had told her that the procedure went smoothly. This procedure addressed an adrenal gland issue, after testing some weeks ago determined I had low potassium, and a later scan caused the doctors to think surgery would help address a growth which may be causing it.
Before too long, they wheeled me up to a hospital room in the trauma area. The kind resident had explained that they would probably keep me in overnight. I soon was in a room on the 11th floor. I felt some pain and some discomfort, but overall I was in reasonably good shape.
The rest of the day and the evening involved visits from nurses and techs every couple of hours,
monitoring this and checking on that. I was singularly impressed with everyone who assisted me. I believe this was the first time I had spent the night as a patient in a hospital since birth, though I have "sat up" with relatives since then. I enjoyed reading a science fiction novel on my e-reader. I even was able to access the internet from my cell phone. My wife was able to convert a chair in my room into a little bed.
Lunch and dinner involved jell-o, bouillon, grape juice, a kind of fruit mix, and similar liquids. I had forgotten what fun jell-o could be. Friday afternoon, when it turned out that I would be kept overnight, my wife had to run home and take Ted and Bea to Pappy's Pet Lodge, their preferred home away from home. Late that night we watched two shows on PBS: a Hugh Laurie program about New Orleans music and a Tom Waits performance on Austin City Limits. I read hundreds of pages in my novel. My little pandigital tablet remains a favorite gadget.
During the post-operative phase, I worried a bit when my blood pressure went a little high. But in my hospital room, I relaxed and began to read. This made a huge difference, and I decided to try to relax as much as possible. I spoke with my niece and my sister, messaged my brother and my friend Gene, and e-mailed my father. My wife called a number of folks to report on the progress.
On Saturday morning, the resident physician who assisted with my surgery came to the room. I asked her how it went. She said that it went well, with no complications and with a clear view of the area. They will have to do some testing and biopsy of the materials they removed, and then we will see if that will solve the low potassium issues. She was very good at answering my questions with the facts and not with speculation or
toss-off cliches. She asked me if I wanted to get out of the hospital. I said that I did.
The nurse, Candice, had my paperwork ready in under 20 minutes. I was pleased that I was again able to eat food, albeit "bland" food, and that I should be more fully back in action within a week or so. They wheeled me down at about 11 a.m. on Saturday, for the drive back home. After we arrived home, I experienced a fair bit of discomfort, and a little pain. I was very glad to be home, though. We stopped by the pharmacy near our home to ask them to fill my prescription for painkillers. Soon I was home eating a Subway sandwich.
Saturday night passed similarly to Friday night. I slept in bursts, and read my novel and listened to ambient music in bursts. At one point, Beatrice once again got into a contretemps with good old Ted.
I was able to separate them. I was not happy about this conflict, but all the upheaval for the dogs must be part of the problem. Neither dog was harmed.
Today I read hundreds more pages of my novel, watched sports on television, took a wonderful hot shower, and
examined the five incisions made part of the laparoscopic procedure. The pain and discomfort both remain present, but are diminished. Though I dislike taking any painkiller, I took the prescribed medicine again today.
This was the most extensive surgery I have had. On the one hand, I feel a bit zonked by the procedure. On the other hand, I am amazed that on the Sunday after a Friday procedure I can sit at my computer and type this weblog post.
We will know in a few weeks if the potassium problem was solved by the surgery. As is often the case, a range of results from wonderful to non-ideal is possible. I will wait for the lab results and we will see what we see.
I am grateful to my wife and relatives, to my supportive friends and co-workers, and to the impressive medical staff at the hospital. The only problem I enountered in my whole hospital visit was that my little droid tablet could not access the free wi-fi. That is a very small negative.
Tonight I will rest and perhaps watch the local sports team on television. I will be active but in gentle, graceful mode for some days. I am very relieved, though, to have come this far, and ready to get through the rest of this process.