Surgery Week at the OK Corral

Welcome to the week after Surgery week.  It was a doozy!  My Rooster went under the knife to repair two hernias, and Dad had a Laminectomy done on his spine (way scary).

*This is a long one, grab a drink and make sure you pee first*

Just so you know, this is my third go at writing about it.  It’s all very raw, still, especially for my Dad and my Rooster (LOL :()

Last Monday-

Two days before my Rooster’s surgery and three days before my super awesome Dad’s surgery.  Tensions were high, and I was a stressed out wreck.  Work was really my saving grace.  I have never been happier to make tourbooks.

My Rooster used his time to finish up a couple of work projects and move heavy things around the yard.  My Dad let us all know to not worry, because after all, this was his third rodeo.

Tuesday-

My Rooster traveled to Seattle to pick up a check that he had been waiting on.  That was a huge relief, I didn’t need him to be stalking his PO Box when he was supposed to be resting.  Work was a challenge, since I was ultra distracted and that fact resulted in me making many, many stupid mistakes.  At least it was my last day at work for the week.

‘Twas the night before my Rooster’s hernia surgery, and we spent it at home.  There was just one visitor, my Rooster’s faithful best buddy Maury, who had big news of his own (this story isn’t about Maury though, so please disregard).  There were man hugs, teasing and a beer or two (for Maury).

The rest of the night we spent cooking dinner, getting him cleaned up with the surgery soap (Hibiclens), and going over details.  One of the scariest phrases thrown around that night by Rooster was that this was his last night, the night before everything changed.

Of course I laughed about that, but I was so wound up that I may have just squeaked.

Neither of us had ever had a surgery.

To be clear, his surgery carried little risk, but we were both out of our minds.  Me in particular, I don’t love to be stressed and worried, but my body and mind seem to think that I do.

We had to be up super early to be at the hospital on time, so an early bedtime was called for.  We went to bed at 9 pm.  Sleep came well after midnight.

Wednesday- SURGERY

Surgery day.  We were up at 4:30 am.  Boy do I hate to get up that early under any circumstances.

We got showered and dressed, there was little conversation.  My Rooster gave each of our cats some cuddling and head to head rubs.  He whispered in their ears.  I don’t know what he said, but certainly it was private.

After a parking fiasco we got to the hospital, and got lost on the way to Day Surgery.  A very kind nurse walked us to registration, where my Rooster got to pay his big bucks deductible.

*Little known piece of information*  The insurance is contracted to pay just under $9,000 for a laparoscopic double hernia repair.  The uninsured are scheduled to by $53,000.  Fair?  That’s a different blog.

We proceeded to pre-surgery, where it was all business.  A small woman named Esther met us at the room with a gown, slippers, sanitizing wipes (with instructions for each of six wipes, and the repeated instruction of “no privates”).

It went so fast after that for a while.  My blonde angel friend Dawn appeared as did my amazing Mom.  My Rooster requested a visit from the Pastor and was taken aback that she was a lady.  The IV went into his hand rather than wrist or arm (too many tattoos to see the veins easily).  He joked with the Surgeon’s Fellow that he wasn’t who the chart said he was, and learned from the anesthesiologist that the mesh he was about to have installed feels like a piece of wood in the groin for a few months.

He attempted many jokes, and talked a little too much.  My favorite is when he was repeatedly asked what surgery he was having, and each time he answered with Liposuction Hernia Repair.

It was good that it went fast.  Before we knew it, Dawn, Mom and I were headed for the waiting room and he was whisked down the hall discussing painting with the Anesthesiologist.

We had coffee and the breakfast that Dawn brought.

They had given me a pager, the same kind that they give you when you go to the large fast casual restaurants (Olive Garden, Outback…..).  I was to come to the desk when it buzzed.

I kid you not that it seemed like four days, but it according to the clock it was an hour and a half  ………   When it finally buzzed on the coffee table in front of me, I jumped up like I won a prize.  I cheered “IT’S ME”!  I tried to gather my Rooster’s stuff but gave up and I rushed off to the nurse’s station.

I don’t know where I found the funny deep inside myself, but I told the nice woman on duty, “My table is ready”.  She didn’t respond to that, but my guess is she hears that a dozen times a day.  You might say that this was her 10,450th rodeo.

She put me in the room.  The room they always put you in, when a loved one has surgery.  I call it the crying room, because there’s always a box of tissues on the table.  After ten minutes or so, I texted Mom and Dawn to join me, but it wouldn’t go through.  A nice distraction.

I finally left the room for 7.5 seconds flat and invited them to join me, then we still waited another ten minutes for the surgeon.

When the surgeon finally arrived, he told us that it all went great and that he had found an repaired an additional hernia, that he thought was congenital, bringing the total repair to three.

Fast forward, it’s only Wednesday, remember?  We aren’t even half way through the week yet.  Mom took Dawn and I to move my car, we played Uno, Vinnie showed up, my loopy Rooster was released, we went home.

He looped it out on the couch all day and we both went to bed by 8pm.

My Rooster insisted he was going to attend Dad’s surgery with me the next day.

I know.  You’re tired already, you can’t even probably read the rest huh?

THURSDAY-SURGERY

Dad’s surgery.  I got up at 6 am, my Rooster waking long enough to excuse himself from the day, he needed rest.

I got into the car at 7 am, with the hope of being at Tacoma General by 7:30.  It shouldn’t have been a problem, except that it was.  Of course it was.

It was at 40 degrees outside that morning.  I have a brand new Jeep Renegade.  On the way out of the driveway, my Jeep told me that I needed air in my Driver’s side front tire.  Screw it, I thought.  It said it was 6 lbs low.  As I rounded the corner toward Pacific Avenue, the Passenger front tire dinged low.  CRAP!  I pulled over to look at the tires.  They looked just fine.

As I slowly drove up Pacific I made the decision to stop and air up the tires, no sense in messing up the new car.  But simultaneous with that mental decision, my cell beeped, and there was a new text message from Mom, saying the surgery was moved up half an hour.

Suddenly, I was in a desperate hurry to see my Dad before he went into surgery.  The executive decision to screw the car and make it in time was but a momentary second thought.  There were more texts on the way.  Room number.  Where are you?

I parked on the street and probably didn’t even lock the jeep doors.  I asked for help immediately and found Aunt Jane in Surgery Waiting.  My beautiful sister Patty, who happens to work at TG came and found us inside of 30 seconds and led us to Dad’s surgery prep room.  We were in plenty of time.  We all got to kiss Dad (except Aunt Jane yuck! brother kisses) and we headed out to wait.

*Note:  St Joe’s and TG both have great surgeons.  TG’s amenities and quality of service are much better if you have a choice*

I was there waiting and stressing with the greatest women I have ever known.  Dad’s “Women”.

Mom, Me, Patty and Kristin (my sisters), Olivia and Lauren (my nieces) and Aunt Jane (Dad’s sister).   Lauren is only 5, but she’s going to be a very strong woman one day.  We were only missing Lydia, who is 11 and was at school much to her dismay I’m sure, but who is also a future very strong woman one day, and already.  You know Lydia from other blogs….. I digress.

While we waited for Dad’s surgery to finish, there was car moving, banana eating, tv watching, lots of facebooking, fashion plate playing and a get well card craft party for Dad.

Mom obsessively watched the surgery screen.  Of course she did, it’s all I watched while I clutched that buzzer the day before.

Dad had a lower spinal surgery, and although they said it was routine, it was infinitely more serious and dangerous than my Rooster’s liposuction (LOL).

TG doesn’t have buzzers though. There’s a lady manning the waiting room.  Just as Mom went to the restroom (she probably had four cups of tea), the lady came to us and told us she had a room ready to talk with the surgeon.  I went with her to find the room and Patty went to find Mom.

Now here’s where the hospitals differ.  When we arrived in the room, the surgeon was already sitting there.

Surgery went great!  Whew!

Moving faster—- we all went to Panera and made a scene, as we will, because we are loud and opinionated and most of all relieved.  When we got back he was in his room and we all got to go and see drugged up, pale faced Dad, who was super thirsty.  He loved our cards and recognized them all by our handwriting.

I headed home to my Rooster, stopping to air up my tires.  Additional dumb stressor.  The air went fine into the passenger side but when I tried to do the driver’s side I couldn’t get a good connection and let air out of the tire three different times.

When I got home, I put air into the tire with my Rooster’s compressor, it is currently (today) sitting at 7 lbs over, and my back tires are now telling me they need air.  SMH

Shout out here to my sister Kristin who had made us dinner for Thursday night.  I am ever grateful, because after all that (not to mention the day before), and going to home to my Rooster, I just didn’t have it in me.  Man, I was TIRED.

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY-

Fade In- Rooster on the couch, in his electronic corner recliner, blanket on his lap, surrounded by fluffy, fuzzy and soft pillows.  Fat orange cat curled up on a blanket right beside him.  “Babe, I need ice, babe turn on the fire, babe I’m hungry, babe I need juice, babe Popsicle, babe turn off the fire, babe where’s the remote, babe I dropped the remote, babe is it time for a pill, babe I have to pee, babe I’m cold, babe more juice, babe where’s my phone, babe, babe, babe, babe, babe”…………  Fade Out.

I had a nice break on Friday afternoon in the form of a trip to WalMart with Laura.

Dad was released from the hospital on Friday morning, loopy as all get out.  He was more than happy to go home.  He’s in major pain.

SUNDAY-

Sunday Funday!  Isn’t that what it is?  My Rooster wanted to have some people over to watch the Seahawks, totally fine.  We had a total of 5 guests and food for 20, so it was like a normal gathering.  Everyone behaved and my Rooster got his Thanksgiving toes painted by Dawn (another story).

I went to the Vetaid concert after the game with my BFF Mary, and it was a much needed reprieve.  Such a reprieve that I literally cried through James Taylor, it was the Sweet Baby James song that did it to me.  I have no idea why.  It was probably just because I was out of the house.

It was a great concert.  Chris Stapleton, an excellent country rock artist.  I don’t know his songs, but I tell you what, he’s an incredible singer and guitar player.  James Taylor, one of my very favorites of all time (he threw me right back into my earliest 20’s when he sang), Don Henley…….. a master and perfection as expected, Joe Walsh, surprisingly good but a little old for most of the long notes.

AND it was all hosted by Drew Carey, who I also have a certain love for.

It was a great night, and boy was I pooped.  You’re probably pooped after reading all this.

I was super happy to go to work this morning.

My Rooster is almost better.  My Dad has some work to do,  but his outlook is positive.

Me?  I’m happy surgery week is behind me.  SHEESH.

 

One Reply to “Surgery Week at the OK Corral”

  1. Excellent Medical Stories! Great Anxiety preparation for those who have no hospital family surgery experience! Now that’s a good run-on sentence! Been on both sides (patient/caretaker)
    of that story!
    I shifted 2 my mechanic mode! The dash tire psi indicator is heaven sent! Its typical for people to deal with tire pressure only after a flat tire. The psi drastically changes from summer 2
    winter and again back to summer temps. Even more so when temps are extreme! Tip; Drive the vehicle 10 miles or so after servicing ( increase/decrease) tire psi, 2 stabilize the dash gauge!
    Thanks 2 the dash tire indicator 4 the season/temp change!

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