So about that big scary day at the hospital yesterday. First off: I’m alive! I’m sure you all had your doubts. I went in at 8:45 and was home on the sofa by 11:30. But that isn’t to say the whole experience wasn’t rife with terrifying bits, because it totally was even though I didn’t die. I’m sure you probably know this about me by now, but I am a humongous baby about everything. I think I’m missing the gene responsible for the basic human will to live; when faced with even the most minor of complications, my immediate instinct is to say, “Okay, well it’s been real” and lay down in defeat. This happens whenever I’m in an elevator and the doors take just a second longer to open then they should. My brain interprets the situation as, “You’re never getting out of here. You will die here.” To even get to the procedure yesterday I had to take two elevators, one in the parking garage and one in the actual hospital, so my limited coping skills were completely depleted by the time they brought me back to get changed into the fancy hospital-issued gown and socks. They might as well have been playing a death march or something.
Then, because why should things go smoothly, the nurse couldn’t get the IV in my right hand as I was back there getting all my intake work done. He hit a valve but decided to keep on pushing the needle in JUST IN CASE, and when he finally gave up and pulled the line out, a squirt of blood shot out from the end of the IV needle and across my lap. Do I need to tell you that the sight of blood makes my legs feel like they are piles of goo and my heart squeezes itself into my ears? In that moment (and there was maybe a drop of blood at most but I saw a gushing river pouring out of my body) I thought, you know what? I always knew this is how I would go. I was chattering nervously about who knows what, just talking at a mile a minute to my poor nurse to keep myself distracted.
They finally get the IV inserted in my left hand, use about 20 alcohol wipes to clean up the crime scene, and then explain the procedures to me and have me sign a bunch of paperwork authorizing everything. I was very aware that I was basically signing my life over to them and giving them consent to murder me, which I was sure was happening because the lead anesthesiologist took a look at my intake paperwork and goes, “You’re getting Propofol. That’s the drug that killed Michael Jackson.”
I mean COME ON. Just show me where you’re hiding the chain saw and tools to torture and dismember my body, why don’t you. Things You Should Never Say to a Patient About to Receive Anesthesia 101. At that point I was seriously debating booking it into the waiting room, grabbing Boyfriend and my mom and fleeing for my life. I could live with the esophageal spasms, right? They weren’t so bad. Anything was preferable to this.
They led me back to the procedure room, this terribly scary and sterile white room (the least beautiful all-white room I’ve ever seen) that looks like every operating room you’ve seen on tv. I got to lay on my side, and they hooked me up to all the heart and pulse monitors. My doctor talked to me about photography for a few minutes while they hooked my IV up to the anesthesia. They put a thing in my mouth to keep it propped open and fastened it around my head. The anesthesiologist asked, “Do you feel anything yet?” “Nuh uh,” I said, through the plastic mouth guard secured to my face. And I didn’t. I just remember feeling like there was a hair dryer running somewhere near my ears, because everything got sort of fuzzy. I was so proud of myself, though, thinking I was immune to Propofol. “Psh, I’m not even tired. I don’t feel anything. My body is so powerful!…..I guess I’ll close my eyes, since they want me to go to sleep. I’m not even tired but I—”
Cut to half an hour later and I’m waking up in recovery. I was expecting to be groggy and out of it and was sort of looking forward to all the ridiculous things I would say, but instead I woke up thinking, “Did they do it already?” There was no drowsiness or any sort of delayed cognition. I was alert and acutely aware of a long, thin tube running down my throat and out of my nose, connecting to a small black box in my lap. Oh, right. So the endoscopy was a breeze, but I’d totally forgotten about the manometry portion of the program. AWESOME.
I was only in recovery for about 10 or 15 minutes before they let me get dressed (YOU try maneuvering a pile of tubing coming out of your face under your t-shirt without accidentally yanking on it and feeling it all the way down in your stomach) and signed all of my release forms. The doctor came to talk to me and said everything looked fine but he sent off some samples to be biopsied. Then the discharge nurse gave me perhaps the grossest and least welcome gift I’ve ever received: pictures of my esophagus from the inside. There’s like a full page of small pictures that could easily be the cover of any number of slasher horror movies. When Boyfriend saw them later he said, “I actually love you a little bit less after seeing that.” MYSTERY, our relationship doesn’t have it anymore. Instead of scarring you all for life, here are some pictures of a ridiculous looking cat:
I was led upstairs (a third elevator ride!) and right into another doctor’s office. I should mention that the long tube coming out of my nose had interval markers with numbers all along it. I had a hunch this part would suck, and I was right. The Meanest Doctor Ever proceeded to pull the tube out little by little, so that the end inside of me lined up with certain sections of muscles in my esophagus. She would squirt a syringe full of water into my mouth and tell me to swallow. The little black box on the end plugged into her computer and recorded the results. She would pull the tube out a little more to test another section of muscles, and then squirt some more water in my mouth like I was a nursing baby farm animal. This went on for what felt like an hour, and I wasn’t permitted to swallow in between sips of water, even though the urge was overwhelming; I could feel the tube in the back of my throat and in the back of my nose and it burned.
I’ll spare you the gory details of what happened when the tube finally came all the way out, but I basically ran out of her office and into the arms of my waiting entourage. After making a follow-up appointment for April 11th to get all the results, I went home, had some soup and lots of gatorade, and tried to take a nap. At around 4 the doorbell went off, sending Fitz into a tizzy. Boyfriend answered and a delivery man handed over this wonderfulness:
Shock of all shocks, it wasn’t even from a relative. They were from Boyfriend’s office (my old job). How sweet and unnecessary is that? I haven’t worked there in 14 months, they were in no way obligated to send flowers. And it wasn’t even like the whole procedure was that serious, despite the tragedy I tried to make out of it. The flowers are absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to suck the helium out of that balloon. They were a very welcome treat yesterday.
I’m back at work today feeling sort of achey in my chest. Thank you all for your sweet and concerned comments yesterday. Before I forget, this is a Tuesday Tunes post. Clearly after my harrowing experience, the only appropriate song for today is this old school gem:
I apologize in advance for this song getting stuck in your head.