Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Queen Awesome's Adventures in Cancerland: World 20

I was brought back down for my scan at noon. Amanda was the technician who would be doing the scan and I’m sure she was glad to see I was much calmer this time. She got me positioned on the scan bed and explained to me that each picture would take 6 minutes. I would have to lay still with my arms above my head for each 6 minute picture. It wasn’t the most comfortable position but I just kept thinking about how I wouldn’t be lifting my arms above my head again for awhile. I reminded myself that in a few hours I would feel lucky to be able to lift my arms! The first 4 pictures went well and the time actually seemed to pass quickly. Amanda asked me not to move and came over with a marker to mark the spot where the lymph nodes would be removed. There was a small problem though. She was about to mark my right arm! I was confused and half asked and half commented about having surgery on my right arm as well. This stopped Amanda in her tracks as she realized that she’d been scanning the wrong arm! Gah!! Thank goodness I spoke up or else who knows what would have happened! Amanda apologized and told me that we’d have to start the scan all over. That was fine with me as long as the correct arm was marked for surgery! The rest of the scan was uneventful and I was wheeled out of the scan room at about 1:15pm.

The porter brought Kerrie and I back up to 2 West to wait for Dr Baliski and the anaesthesiologist to come in and see me before the surgery. As the clock ticked closer to my 1:45 pm surgery time, a nurse came in to tell me that my surgery would be late. I wasn’t surprised. I expected that it would be late, especially being an afternoon surgery. She told me that the lady before me went into surgery 45 minutes late, so mine would likely be 45 minutes to an hour late. At about 2:30, Dr Baliski came in to talk to me. He checked out my arm, looked at the mark that Amanda had made and tried to reassure me that everything would be okay. Soon after Dr Baliski left, the anaesthesiologist came in. I think her name was Dr Penner, but I honestly don’t remember for sure. She asked me the usual questions about anaesthetic and if I’d ever had any issues with it. She explained to me that I would be brought into the operating room and she would insert the IV for the anaesthetic. I tried fruitlessly to persuade her to put the IV in after I was knocked out. It was how it was done for my gall bladder surgery, but sadly for me, this time I would be awake. However, after those radioactive dye shots, an IV being inserted feels like a tickle!

At about 3:00 pm, I was wheeled into surgery. I said my good byes to Kerrie and gave my glasses to the porter to be put with my street clothes. The porter wheeled me into the operation department and I waited in the hallway until they were ready for me. And I cried. A few surgeons walking down the hall stopped to try and console me and reassure me. I appreciated it, but I was scared. The whole situation is scary. I was scared about the surgery. I was scared about the results. And I was tired. I’m not sure how long I was in the hallway before I was wheeled into my surgery room. I didn’t have my glasses so I couldn’t see the clock. A very nice male nurse came to speak with me and take me into the surgery room. He was a very calming and reassuring nurse. He told me that when we got into the surgery room, I was to announce to the room that they would be operating on my left arm. I was glad to do this especially after the mix up earlier! After all of the half a dozen or so people in the surgery room acknowledged that it was my left arm that would be operated on, I was asked to take off my house coat and booties and was positioned on the operating table. Being strapped to the operating table is always a terrible feeling. The anaesthesiologist came in at that time to administer my IV. She put the laughing gas mask on me to try and help me calm down. She also tried to distract me with stories of her 3 year old. After she was finished with her story about her kid, she asked me if I had kids. I think the gas was kicking in at this point because I gave her an emphatic “hell no!” Oops! Probably not the best way to respond to a woman who just finished bragging about her child and is about to poke you with a needle! I remember the nurse taking the gas mask off of me and then nothing. So weird! Every other surgery I’ve had, I always remember counting backwards. At least the 10 and the 9. But this time, nothing.

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