Friday, May 27, 2011

The day of reckoning arrives

Photos taken with Rebecca's camera

Just catching you up here as I was unable to post leading up to the surgery. The photos of Harley and I and my dad and sister are in the OHSU admittance waiting room where my family waited me to go through the check in process of getting my plastic hospital bracelet with my name and signing off on the final forms. AND confirming that I have an advance directive on file. What the advance directive is is the patient's legal documentation of what he/she would like to have happen should the procedure renders one unconscious. Yeah so it is the real deal of facing your mortality and the possibility of not coming back or at least not in a state where you will be normal again and death is inevitable. My advance directive states I do not want to be put on life support should I reach a vegetative state which medical authorities deem irreversible with no chance of recovery. I think the only thing I have agreed to is to be administered pain medication so I can die comfortably.

Pretty heavy stuff, eh? I had to take time reading through it all and filling it out at my first surgery in 2007. It is kind of emotional being hit with having to contemplate something like that. So back then my family went down to the cafe for breakfast giving me time alone to read through it all and sort it out. Nothing has changed so for the last 2 surgeries I had to do nothing but just let office administrator know that I already have one on file and nothing needed to be changed.

Harley has first power of authority in the decision making should I become incapacitated and then my dad is second alternate in command. Both are logical and I trust to be able to seperate from being too emotional to carry out my wishes.

These pictures were snapped as my family and I parted ways for me to be taken down to surgery prep where I get undressed and into the hospital gown and several medical staff visit to ask my name and for me to explain what procedure I am having done and where. The reason is so that everyone is on the same page and there are no mistakes. Unbelievably true story at a hospital in the midwest, a brain surgery was performed on the WRONG side of someone's head! Imagine waking up in horrible pain only for them to tell you "Oh yeah sorry! We are going to have to do that again!"

I was really surprised they were taking me away so soon after I got there as with the previous 2 surgeries I had to wait until the afternoon. The good thing about that is that you do not have to suffer through hunger or thirst long or dry mouth. Before a surgery you cannot eat or drink anything after midnight. The only exception is a little water to wash down any medicine that you regularly take.

It is shortly after 7 am here so literally I was too tired to even think of being hungry and kept yawning through the check in process. I had last had something to eat about 8 pm, a light meal is suggested. And might I add to choose a neutral one and not something spicy that is going to burn coming back up afterward or give you heartburn up until surgery. After 3 experiences I got it down and stick to chicken with mashed potatoes and a sald. It was not a big meal and worked perfectly because it was pretty much digested by the time the surgery was over. So during the phase I was nauseous I did not have anything in me to throw up this time.

Last little will not spend long in your clothes and they will be the clothes they give back to you when for your discharge. So they tell you to wear something comfortable. I have a zipper hoodies that easy easy to take on and off in case of cooler or warmer weather between the 2 dates It might be cool going in early in the morning and then warm out if your checkout is in the afternoon. I had a t-shirt in my bag and that was the case. The Kuhl band hoodie from REI was a gift to me from my sister and brother given to me 2 days before my first surgery in 2007. It is a favorite in my wardrobe and a good way to start out surgery day. Harley is wearing a matching fleece by Kuhl that I bought him the Christmas following my first surgery.

My parts are my comfy REI brand fleece (I have 2 pair, black and gray. The grey my sister also got me with the hoodie) and my shoes are an easy slip on pair of Keens which are easy to don after surgery. You will not be able to bend over to tie your shoes and either must cross your leg on your knee or just make it easy on yourself by wearing slip-ons.

And that explains the moments before surgery! Aftter the anethesiologist visit, I was wheeled away and then what seems like seconds passing by, I was waking up in recovery to the glow of white walls.

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