Not 15 minutes after all that, my stomach made a noise that I'm sure my neighbors would have heard had they been up at that ungodly hour. I had my alarm set for 7:15, but as expected I didn't sleep very much or very soundly between 4:30 and that time, as well, you know, I was summoned a number of times to the porcelain god. GoHeavily&Often.
Joe arrived at about 7:45, and we headed out to the Raleigh Endoscopy Center in Cary, and arriving at the office on the third floor at 7:59, I was panicked to find the office locked up. I could see inside, and there weren't even any lights on in there with someone getting ready to open the doors at 8:00 or anything. After a few crazy thoughts like, "OMFG, if I have the wrong day, I am not going to go through this prep again," and, "I was supposed to go to the Cary office, right?" and "F*ck! How can this be?" I came to my senses and checked my paperwork again, where although the office is on the third floor, it said to come to a second floor office for the procedure.
Downstairs the lights were definitely on, and there were a lot more people in there than I expected, as they had told me there would only be two people ahead of me, "so your procedure should start at 9:00, if everything is routine with the first two patients." I couldn't help thinking, while passing by those already checked in, "I know what you've been doing for the last five hours." I really didn't care for the check-in set up, as it was the situation where everyone could hear you when you answered the questions the person checking in asked you.
A couple of times during the morning, I ranted and raged in my head about the health care situation in this country and the things that either contribute to, or are a result of, it—the first one being with regards to my paperwork in general and my health insurance card in specific. Off and running. \O/
First of all, a week and a half before my procedure, I had to fax in a copy of said insurance card, front and back, along with a demographics form. But when I arrived, I was asked for my insurance card, and the guy scanned it in on a cute little scanner that you could tell was made specifically for scanning those things, or business cards, probably. He had to run it through a second time to scan the other side.
My question is, "Why??? You already have the copy I sent in." Instead of faxing, I had actually scanned in both sides of my card and e-mailed them JPGs of them, so they had electronic copies. Then, as if my blood pressure hadn't skyrocketed enough, the guy walked over to a copier, and made a copy of both sides of the card!
Toward the end of check-in, the guy said to me, "You don't have a living will by chance do you?" and by use of the negative sentence construct, it was obvious that he expected my answer to be no.
Being proud of having all of those type things taken care of, I said rather proudly, "Yes, I do in fact."
To which he retorted, "Oh, okay. Well, we don't honor those here," and went on to explain that they had to tell the patients who have one that they don't honor them, and it's because they aren't a hospital, which is where those things are honored.
I was called to the back fairly quickly after checking in, and the person leading me back said when we arrived, "Take off all your clothes; you can leave your socks on if you want." I remembered last year that the person had said, "You can leave on your socks and glasses," and how kinky I thought that sounded. "Put all your clothes in that plastic bag, and we'll take care of them while you're back here. There's a little shelf under the bed; you can slide your shoes on that instead of putting them in the bag. Open the curtain when you're done, and there's a bathroom right there if you need it."
I started to undress, but then thought about how long I might be waiting back there, as it was probably around 8:20, and my procedure wasn't actually scheduled until 9:00. I pulled my shorts back up and used the bathroom one last time, so I wouldn't be thinking about it the whole time. The bathroom door was weird. It didn't have a frame on either side of it, so essentially when you closed it, that little thing that goes into the slot is the only thing that keeps the door closed. I fiddled with it for a second to make sure it was locked, because it seemed so insecure.
At least two more people used that bathroom after me while I was waiting to be taken back for my procedure and it was the same thing for each of them: 1) enter, 2) fiddle with the door, 3) a liquid streaming noise, 4) flush, 5) running sink water, and 6) exit.
Joann pulled up a laptop beside my bed and started asking me a bunch of medical history questions about myself and my family, some of which I'd already answered on that form I sent in prior to coming here over a week ago, such as the ones about what meds I was taking and what I might be allergic to.
While she was doing that, Tracey pulled up to put in my IV. She did an excellent stick, and I mentioned that she'd get kudos in my blog about that, and she noted that she reads a few blogs. I told her that I had just celebrated my 7th year of not missing a blog entry for a day, and Joann said how she was so impressed, and then asked, "What's a blog?" which told me that she was impressed with the sheer commitment of doing something that regularly for 7 years, no matter what it was.
After finishing with me, I got to hear the medical history of the people next to me, as the waiting area is one such that the areas are divided only by a curtain, so essentially Joann was standing right next to me, but on the other side of the curtain. A man had just turned 50 (as in within days) and was already in for his colonoscopy. He had some surgery when he was six, because his left testicle hadn't descended, and among the drugs he was currently taking was Prozac. Not sure I need to know any of that.
I heard a lady profess that she'd had some kind of mastectomy, which I also could have gone without knowing.
I saw a hot little number walk by a couple times: nice black beard, short, and very trim. He turned out to be Brenden, the anesthesiologist. He explained the part he was going to play in today's drama, and when he asked if I had any questions, I said no. After he left, I remembered that I should have asked him I he was going to be using Propofol on me, which I only knew anything about because Joe had asked me about it.
When he walked by another time, I called him over, and asked him. "Yes," he said. "And it's a great drug. It's going to be so much better than what you had five years ago. It'll make the whole experience, but especially afterwards, so much better for you."
Next I met Lynn, who I believe was a nurse anesthetist, and whom I liked immediately. When she walked up, she said, "Look at that beautiful smile," to which I replied with my standard, "That ol' thang?" and to which she retorted after a big laugh, "That ol' thing? Just got it out of the closet for today," and then added, "I like you already."
When she asked me if I was allergic to anything, I said, "Just girls."
When she told me she was going to be administering the anesthesia, I mentioned Propofol as if it were a long-term member of my vocabulary by then, and she made a comment about it being "the Michael Jackson drug," and that's when a light bulb went off. I'd thought that word sounded familiar, but I didn't know why. I told her that, in that case, I hope I line-danced better when this was all over, or I'd at least be able to moonwalk better.
Dr. Chander dropped by to say hello, and he looked younger, and more handsome, than I remembered him to be five years ago. "I'll see you back there shortly," he said as he was leaving.
Back in the procedure room, Lynn had a good laugh when a guy behind me asked me to roll over on my side and pull my knees up to my chest, all in the interest of showcasing the tunnel target for Dr. Chander, when I said, "That's as high as I can get them; my stomach's in the way."
That's the last thing I remember. Not even an "okay, it's time," but Lynn told me later that right before I went under she asked something like, "Who's your daddy?" and I had actually responded. God knows what, I don't remember.
Pam was at my side when I woke up, and I gave my traditional answer to, "Can I get you something to drink?"
"A bourbon and Diet Coke would be great."
"I'll get you some Diet Coke," she said smiling and walking away.
Lynn dropped by just to say hello, and that's when she told me about the, "Who's your daddy?" comment.
Joe was called back, and I tried my darnedest not to repeat anything, and to that end after about everything I said, I asked, "Have I already said/asked that?"
The sweetest part of the whole thing was when Dr. Chander came by with the results:
and it was music to my ears when he said, "This colonoscopy was clear. You did a good job prepping. And since the one we did five years ago was clear, why don't we not do another one for 10 years instead of 5. Unless, of course, you start suspecting any problems at all, and then we'll do another one."
I thought two things thinking ahead 10 years: 1) God knows what kind of drugs they'll have by then, and 2) I will be sixty-fucking-three years old when we do this again.
Pam escorted me out to the car that Joe had driven up, and we stopped at Panera Bread, where we split two of their cinnamon crunch bagels, which we both love, and an Asiago cheese bagel, along with coffee. You know I was hungry. It was extra, extra good!
I had thought about working in the afternoon, but ended up not, which reminds me that I need to log in to our leave system and claim a sick day for the day.
Joe checked in a couple of times during the day, but I didn't experience any ill effects related to the procedure. Thanks, my friend, for being there for me today. I appreciate you.