I did some work for about a half hour on last touches to Stan's University Award for Excellence nomination, and I sent email to three colleagues to see if they'd be co-nominators with me on it.
Bob arrived at about 10:20, and we set off to the Rex Surgery Center in Cary. My appointment time was 10:45, and that's the exact time they quoted when I asked, "What time is it?" when I was signing in.
My 15-minute check-in was a challenge to this patient's patience as someone was being trained on how to do the intake forms, which involved a computer and a scanner. It took the trainee three times of scanning both my driver's license and my insurance card before she got it right. Bless her heart.
Being March Madness time, my having on a red t-shirt, and my employer being listed as NC State University evidently prompted the person doing the training (while waiting for scan attempts 2 and 3 by the trainee) to ask, "When's State playing next?"
"I'm sorry, I don't follow sports," I responded. "I just wear the outfits."
About five minutes after we finished all that check-in, which included swiping my credit card for the $571 part I had to pay of what's going to amount to thousands and thousands of dollars for today's "scope," I was called to the back to get prepped.
Bob came back with me, where he ran into two nurses he had worked with at one time or another in his career.
Dionne was the first person to "work on me," taking my blood pressure, my temperature, looking in my ears, listening to my back while I took deep breaths and my chest while taking normal breaths. She also put in my IV, and at the end showed me the needle she had removed leaving just the "cath" in.
At both the intake station and in here, I had to sign forms that were on a tablet—not iPads, much to their chagrin—but very heavy, clunky Fujitsu tablets.
Dionne, herself, had to sign something at one point, which was not on the tablet, but on a computer on the wall, and she had to use a mouse to sign her name. Talk about tedious.
I said to her when she was done, "I guess that (glare) screen being upside down like that doesn't bother you."
She laughed when she saw what I meant and said, "No, I've never even noticed it."
Then she said, "We need you to get undressed. All the way down to your birthday suit."
"Really?" I said, "Isn't that a little excessive to work on my knee?" I was pretty sure I kept my underwear on when I had this done in 2008. Oh well. Grinned it and bared it.
Up next was a tall, athletic-looking nurse, with lime green stripes on her tennis shoes. With razor in hand, I told her how this was probably the most traumatic part of this procedure for me, as I attach a great deal of my masculinity (what little there is to it) to the hair on my legs, a good part of which she was getting ready to take away.
She assured me she'd do her very best to minimize my trauma, but that [insert other nurse name here] was actually the "master shaver," and that's who she aspired to emulate.
If I remember correctly the anesthesiologist was next to come to my bedside. He was handsome enough, and had a bright shiny wedding band on the indicative finger. In the end, I really liked him, because he made the leap in my joke—the kind I love—that you can enjoy the few seconds after you say it, while it gets processed, and then the reaction of a laugh erupts.
He said, "We're going to give you Propofol today..."
"Oh good!" I exclaimed interrupting him. "I'm a line dancer, and I want to do the Moonwalk."
Wait for it... wait for it... aha!
I remember getting a hit of something in that catheter in my hand and my bed being pushed out into the hall. I have no recollection of going down the hall or seeing, entering, or being in the operating room. No recollection of being given anesthesia. Don't remember seeing or talking to Dr. Isbell or his PA, Jeremy, if I did. Not unlike my alcohol blackout on my last birthday. But I digress...
God knows what I might have said in all that time, but no one mentioned anything about it when I next woke up in the recovery room.
On the third mention by the nurse about going to get my "wife" in a minute, I said, "It's Bob. My friend Bob is here."
It's always great to see a loved one's face when coming out of those things, and I got a little emotional when "wife Bob" came in. Bless my gay mess.
I got a ridiculously long lesson on how to use crutches properly, which I ended up using for a total of about five minutes, including once I was home. It's not unlike getting instructions on how to buckle your seatbelt on a plane. I'm sure someone once sued someone for not being educated on how to use crutches correctly before falling.
I got "wheelchaired" down to the entrance, where Bob had driven up to fetch me, and he whisked me off to Panera Bread, where I had a Asiago Parmesan bagel with lite plain cream cheese, and he enjoyed an Italian Combo Sandwich.
I had to go to the bathroom when we first got there, and I asked Bob to take this picture in there—to post to Facebook to show I'd survived— instead of making a scene in the dining room:
Later at home, I took this picture after getting hooked up to my Polar Care machine to keep ice cold water circulating around the knee area that was cut:
Bob made sure I was settled in comfortably, and I sent him off to have some time of his own on his last day off before working the long hours of his upcoming weekend shift.
Joe came over at around 8:00, bringing with him a Papa John's The Meats pizza that I'd ordered online and he'd picked up, coffee and a strawberry and banana smoothie from Caribou, some Fritos Munchies (one bag of Cheese Fix and another bag of Totally Ranch), a bag of Raisinets, and a can of mixed nuts! Did I forget anything?
Our slumber party consisted of eating, eating a little more, and just hanging out, with me attached to my Polar Care machine, and both of us connected to the Internet on our laptops. I watched the Send Out the Clowns episode of Modern Family on hulu.com, a show that both Joe and Bob love.
We went to bed at a little after midnight, and I was out pretty much as soon as I hit the pillow. Thanks Bob and Joe for taking such good care of me today.
Good friends: Priceless.
Good friends who are nurses: Beyond Priceless.