5th August 2012

The Surgery — In and Out in 44 hours – Part 1

posted in Reflections on Life |

Hip Replacement Surgery – Surgery Day (July 31, 2012)

Continued from August 3rd Posting

Here it goes – Be Prepared.

Scheduled Time to appear at the UBC Hospital: July 31, 2012 (12:30 pm). The night before (July 30) – NO food after midnight – just water or clear liquids (e.g. apple juice) before check-in time (12:30 pm next day). Since this is the big day for the big event, my wife and I leave early so as not to be late – good move, as the UBC Hospital is undergoing major construction and a different back entrance has to be found and driven to. We arrive on time and are checked off by the receptionist – “Please take a seat and wait until called”.  My wife wisely used the wait time to bring in the required items a patient must bring to have on hand after surgery: (items were obtained after participating in an OASIS orientation session – most insightful and helpful – the ‘Must Have Equipment List‘ is provided)

  • two-wheeled, collapse-able walker
  • a pair of crutches
  • high-density foam cushion
  • Dressing equipment (long handled reacher, long handled shoe horn and sock aid)

Believe me, all of these will be needed – some immediately after surgery. Ruth and I kiss ‘Good-Bye’ – parking the car for Drop-Off is very temporary and I will be the one facing every step hereafter. After a half-hour wait, I am called in to be ‘booked in’ for the surgery – first of many reviews of the basic details – identity, what’s the procedure, confirm the type of room I will be in post-surgery, etc. The pleasant young lady then takes me to the Surgery Waiting Room (initially, it was intended to have the surgery at 3:00 pm with the Surgery Prep prior to that). Of course, my personal details are double-checked again and I am told to wait until called – “in about 15 minutes of so” – well – NOT so. This wait stretched on and on and on … No one really came to make it clear that my surgery would be delayed considerably. I did get up from waiting and asked – “the surgeries are running behind schedule”.  That’s fine – I can understand that – things change along the way, especially with surgeries. Finally, at about 4:00 pm, I am ushered in to the Surgery Prep area. An experienced and jovial nurse directs me to a curtained area with a special prep chair with many adjustments for initial medical pre-surgery steps. Time to strip down and employ a set of special anti-bacterial wipes to clean different body parts (a similar pack was given to me and I used it at home in the morning). After the wipe-down, I put on the typical hospital gown and seated myself into the ‘pre-surgery throne’. The nurse came and reviewed a long list of personal medical details prior to getting started. She also inserted the intravenous tube in the left wrist – this will stay until the person is discharged. Of course, blood tests are taken frequently – pre-op, and daily while in hospital. Other individuals were also being prepared for various surgeries – each in a separate small prep-area with the special chair. The intravenous flow was started and I would later wheel my tree with the bag into the operating room. I was visited by another very experienced nurse, one of the assisting nurses from the OR, to go over my personal medical details again – wow – what a lot of checking and re-checking details. While waiting, Dr. Michael Moult, the anesthesiologist, came to review some medical details about me and to brief me on the anesthesia process that would be used on me – spinal anaesthesia. Although I knew beforehand that would be the method, anytime ‘spinal’ is mentioned, my brain reacts just a bit – “it just sounds a bit dangerous to me” – but Dr. Moult reassures me – it’s very much a routine to him. Dr. Duncan comes by briefly and with his wonderful and reassuring tone, he confirms that Ruth is my emergency contact and that he has the correct phone number. Another brief visit by one of the Resident doctors who would be assisting Dr. Duncan that day. He reviews vital medical details again and marks my left hip with a pen – we want to be sure to replace the correct hip – BTW – my right leg (the good leg) is identified with a very long green sock that I had to put on earlier. He mentions that this is the last Hip Replacement they are performing that day – I believe Dr. Duncan was responsible for ten that day – going between two ORs and assisted by Residents. So … about 4:30 pm or so, I’m asked to walk into the OR … WOW! It is impressive and a bit overwhelming – this whole team is assembled, waiting for me –  of course all specially outfitted with their OR suits – it is quite a scene. A warm welcome it is but brief and the team jumps into action immediately. On the operating table, I bend forward to receive the spinal injection and the administered sedation and … … and … … Walter – Wake Up! And –  just like that, an hour and a half later, I am awake and I am wheeled into the Recovery Theatre with recovery specialist nurses monitoring my vitals, checking with me several times whether I am gaining sensation back in my pelvic area by touching ice-bags against my skin and slowly moving downward to test recovery of sensation. They keep me until proven stable and having regained sensation down my leg. It’s time to be wheeled into my ward. I am being settled into my ward bed in a semi-private room with great attention being given to many details to make everything as comfortable as possible. It’s about 8 pm – I’m just settled into bed and my loving Ruth appears to raise my spirits. What a Day!

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 5th, 2012 at 8:19 am and is filed under Reflections on Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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