Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Simple Procedure

Watching hospital shows on television sets up too many wrong and undesirable expectations

The instructions they sent said I should arrive at the hospital at 8:30 A.M., but I got there at 8:10 because that’s just how anal I am about appointments. A sign on the door said that firearms were prohibited in the building. That was comforting.

I’d been to see the Amorous Doctor’s Husband and he was going to remove the fatty nodule from my breast. It was only because of the location that they wanted to take it out and check it. It would be a simple procedure.

It wasn’t an emergency so I was not expecting E.R. And I didn’t have a bizarre, undiagnosed malady so I wasn’t expecting House. All that was left was Grey’s Anatomy and I didn’t really want that. My surgeon seemed like a nice enough guy but I had no desire for an inappropriate doctor/patient relationship like Izzie and Denny.

Especially because Izzie killed Denny. It was unintentional, but he was still dead. A lot of patients die on Grey’s Anatomy. I was just having a simple procedure. I would be in and out. “Right. Remember when Meredith’s step-mom went in for hiccups and ended up dead?” I’m not sure who asked me that. My wife? Maybe I just asked myself. That’s the kind of out-loud internal dialog that happens on Grey’s Anatomy.

The doctor was just going to remove this small, fatty nodule from my breast. A tiny, benign cyst. When did it show up? A few years ago?. I think I finally went in to see the doctor because I really wanted to find out about it. How did it form there? Was it from Thanksgiving 2005 when I ate that big hunk of crispy turkey skin? Was it from inadvertantly swallowing a blob of gristle off the 2004 Passover Lamb?

It didn’t matter. It would soon be gone. A simple procedure. “Right. Remember when Meredith’s step-mom went in for hiccups and ended up dead?” Maybe that was the blobby nodule talking. That’s the kind of out-of-body hallucination Meredith would have on Grey’s Anatomy. “Shut up!” I told it. "You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!"

A sign on the door said that firearms were prohibited in the building. I went through the door to the registration desk. The woman signed me in and I sat in the waiting area. There was a flat screen TV for my family to monitor when I was “In Prep”, “In OR”, “In recovery”, “Having an affair with the doctor" or “Dead”.

I didn’t have anyone with me. It was just a simple procedure. My name came up on the screen. I was “In Prep” and yet I was sitting there in the waiting room. That was the kind of out-of-body hallucination Meredith would have on Grey’s Anatomy.

There was a sign in the waiting room that said, “Please don’t leave bags or briefcases unattended.” Isn’t that admonishing the wrong parties? Shouldn’t it say, “Please don’t take bags or briefcases that aren’t yours.” After all, the sign on the door doesn’t say, “Please don’t get shot by someone who brings a firearm into the building.”

The nurse came and took me to the prep room. She took my vital signs. She fastened a heart monitor clip on my finger. There was a single, continuous tone. I was dead. I had flat-lined and I was sitting there listening to it BEEEEEEEEP. That was the kind of out-of-body hallucination Meredith would have on Grey’s Anatomy. The nurse adjusted the clip and it went “beep, beep, beep …”

They took me down a hall and down an elevator and down more halls, going across the building. About two blocks away, we got to the OR. Three nurses were needed to get me ready. I was just having a simple procedure. They kept asking me if I was cold. People on hospital shows are always cold right before they die. I was warm. I was warm. I was warm… wasn’t I?

They had music on in the room. It was country music. Seriously? Wrong soundtrack!

The doctor came in and numbed my breast and cut out the cyst and sewed me up. The ride down the hall had taken longer. It was a simple procedure.

Now I have an ugly scar and a bruise. My breast is like that of a pregnant woman, nicely swollen and curvy, but too tender to play with. So, when I go back to the doctor for follow-up, I hope he doesn’t fondle it overly much like Mark Sloan would do on Grey’s Anatomy.

6 comments:

Cali said...

Glad it went okay. Funny post, loved it!

JohnnyB said...

Thanks, Cali. I was mostly surprised at how complicated the whole process was for something simple that I had thought would be done in the doctor's office.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! Thank goodness you're not dead. :-)

Karen

Susan said...

I'm glad you didn't get shot. Or did you?

Susan said...

Oh, an twitter this so I can ReTweet you.

JohnnyB said...

Karen
I'm thankful, too.

Susan
I had a shot to numb the area but no firearms were brought in while I was there. People did get shot on Grey's Anatomy so, happily, I missed that parallel. And I have tweeted.