The only surgery I have had, before being diagnosed with testicular cancer, was having my four wisdom teeth removed. According to everyone at the hospital, that doesn’t count. So as I waited to be wheeled into the operating room, I had a lot of different thoughts going through my head:
How long will this take?
Am I going to feel anything?
What will my wife and family do while I’m in surgery?
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As we walked into the hospital to get me checked in for surgery, there sat in the waiting room some very close friends who came to pray with me. Throughout this whole process, I have to say, being open and sharing what is going on has been very beneficial because of all the support I’ve received. It was a major blessing to have people there to pray with me just before heading into surgery.
After checking in I waited all of about 5 minutes and they whisked me back into the pre-surgery area where I would get changed into the backless gown and get the IV started. They apologized that the only room they had available for me was a room for children. I didn’t mind; kittens were hand painted on the walls. It was a welcome distraction as I would have to wait in that room for four hours.
Luke was there to welcome me and make sure that I knew what I had to put on and to give me some tips. Once I was dressed and on the bed, he made sure I was fine and left to do his other duties. Next Sally came in with the IV bag and prepped it for the nurse.
After about 30 minutes or so, Ellie came into the room to interview me. Smoker? Allergic to any medication? Taking any medication? Street drug use? She didn’t know what to do when all my answers were “No.” Ellie exclaimed that she rarely saw someone so healthy coming for surgery. As she was asking me questions, Iris popped in and began to get me ready for the IV. She was concerned that my arm was too cold, even though it had been wrapped in a warm blanket for the past hour. It was a hoot to talk with these two ladies. They were joking back and forth with each other and I enjoyed participating in the banter.
It was really interesting that both these ladies kept mothering me and telling me “You poor baby.” They just couldn’t believe that someone “so young” was dealing with cancer. Iris got my IV finished and both ladies left. Then, it wasn’t long before I had to head to the little boys room, IV pole in tow. I hadn’t eaten or drank anything since about 9:00 p.m. the night before, so the saline seemed to be moving through my system pretty quick. Talk about an interesting experience. I’ll leave it at that.
The doctor had ordered an antibiotic for me, and both Ellie and Iris were confused as to why he had ordered one that would go into my buttocks and not through the IV. But, a little while later, Jane showed up with a large needle and the antibiotic, chased Julie and my mom out of the room, and proceeded to give me the shot. WOW! That shot hurt. I was sore in that area for awhile until the numbing agent in the shot started to work.
Then the waiting really began. And then more waiting. And then more waiting. My doctor finally came by to discuss the procedure with me and marked my right thigh to indicate which testicle to take. As he was getting ready to mark it, he double-checked with me that it was indeed the correct side. I was surprised to find out that the procedure was only going to be about 30 minutes long. I had been afraid, as the idea had come up, that I would have to have a catheter. But seeing that this would be such a short surgery, I was very relieved to know that I would not.
Finally about 12:15, two hours after I was supposed to go into surgery, Amanda the anesthesiologist showed up. “You must be my bartender!” I joked as she walked into the room. She laughed and proceeded to walk me through what exactly was going to happen to me and what she would be doing while in surgery. I would be completely knocked out and she would be monitoring me through the whole process to make sure that I didn’t get too much medication. Her philosophy is to give enough so that it’s not too little and not too much.
After walking me through that, Jill showed up to wheel me into the operating room. (By the way, I didn’t remember all these names. Julie wrote them down for me so that I would remember them when writing this post.) Once in the operating room there were four people there (since Julie wasn’t there I have forgotten their names) and the friendly banter started. I thoroughly enjoyed joking with them as they talked about what was going to happen. Shortly after moving to the operating table, Amanda showed up and told me that I was about to get really sleepy. The next thing I knew, I was feeling very warm and drowsy and then, bam, I was out.
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(Tomorrow’s blog post will basically be from Julie as I was so strongly affected by the drugs and unable to recall much of what happened during that time.)