Friday, August 17, 2007

The Gory Deets

Whew. Ok. So that was really freaky, being wide awake under the knife with nothing but lidocaine to blunt the pain and terror for an hour and a half. The reason it took so long is that it was a teaching situation: a surgeon was talking a young resident from Cuba through her first portectomy, while another resident watched.

So I lay there on the table, wearing a pair of black shorts covered with white dog hair and draped with green sterile cloths, staring up wide-eyed at the big bright round light, listening to the head surgeon's running commentary. "That's it, press down all the way through the dermis. Watch the blood, watch the blood! Good. Now tilt your scalpel a little to the left...no, the other way, the OTHER way...yikes! You don't want to accidentally slice that big vein. Ok, now pull that skin flap back using the small skin hooks...waaay back, yeah...now stick you finger up inside the wound cavity as deep as it will go: see if you can feel where the tissue is attached to the back of the mediport...."

Glurk. I had distinctly mixed feelings about the fact that there was no overhead mirror for me to watch. Anyway, there I lay on the four foot long table with my feet dangling off the end (what's with that???) and my face stretched into a frozen silent Munchian Scream for an hour and a half, and it's a miracle it didn't stick like that permanently.

It was actually kind of fascinating though, listening to the surgical patter. Sort of like watching Grey's Anatomy. I kept expecting them to dart off into the broom closet any second to have a hot threesome affair. Anyway, they didn't play loud rock music like surgeons in the movies always do, or tell off-color jokes, but it was otherwise an extremely casual come-as-you-are operation. Nobody wore masks or scrub caps or even cafeteria lady hairnets, so lord knows what ended up drifting down from the atmosphere into my open wound cavity while they stood around discussing horizontal and vertical mattress suture techniques.

And yeah, the whole procedure felt incredibly creepy, all that slicing and tugging and pulling and finger probing. Not painful, once they got enough lidocaine shot into me, though injecting the lidocaine way up into the muscle behind the port hurt like a bitch. (Ooops, I'm sorry. Finnie? I should have warned you not to read that last sentence. Could somebody please pour a bucket of water over him?) But I could feel the pressure and tugging and all-purpose creepiness and it was squicky as hell.

They used an extra strong type of suture especially for me on account of I plan to do lots of extremely heavy lifting, plus I'm not squeamish about scars. I take the big over-the-shoulder pressure bandage off on Sunday, and I go back to have the stitches removed in two weeks. And after that, YES! I can start working out!

This was almost the happiest day of my life. I would have felt a whole lot more festive if I'd been sitting on some clean scan results. But hey, I'll take what I can get: at least the hideous port is finally out. Y'all settle your bets amongst yourselves now, I'm going to go chug some Tylenol and tea. I'm still feeling kind of woozy and my port-free chest is aching like the dickens.


Recovering with concerned support network hovering anxiously on the loveseat.


Nurse Dolly monitors vitals.


Stern Burly Nurse Soop strictly enforces visiting hours.


Caretakers need naps too!

7 Comments:

Blogger George said...

This is such good news! I'm glad you got that blasted port out!

And I have to say that I envy you those dogs. Aren't they just complete dotes!

I've come over all exclamation marky!

I know what you mean about half wanting to see the procedure. I'm glad I couldn't see what they were doing when I had a c-section but I wish they had videoed it so I could watch it now.

My mum was a theater nurse and was part of a test to see if masks made any difference and I'm pretty sure (I am crap at reassuring people!) that there wasn't much point to them apart from making everyone feel better.

8:08 PM  
Blogger Rose said...

I'm so happy to learn that the hideous port is gone! Hooray!

I just had this crazy vision of you getting a phoenix tattoo over that scar.

Can't wait to see your weightlifting progress. Thank you for sharing this great news!

9:16 PM  
Blogger Lymphopo said...

I just had this crazy vision of you getting a phoenix tattoo over that scar.

Hmmm. You know what, I really like that idea. I'm going to start shopping around!

9:18 PM  
Blogger Tsunami said...

That is GREAT! I'm so glad for you that you got rid of that thing, even if the process sucked.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

SUCH happy news. Hooray for you and some wishes for the soreness to go away soon! Thank you so much for all the hope you radiate. It gives it to all of us, too. And we could all use some more of that.

12:56 PM  
Blogger momo said...

Ngyah! I suppose they could have doused you with some whiskey and give n you a stick to bite!
When I had surgery that involved being awake, they gave me a stuffed animal to squeeze so it would help me keep still.

I want to scratch those Soopy ears.

3:37 PM  
Blogger KinnicChick said...

GREAT news, but seriously. Seriously? *urk*

3:36 PM  

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