From an email originally sent on August 17, 2012.

Avid readers will remember that Wednesday was my pre-op day.  As predicted, it basically involved much waiting around, listening to the same things over and over, and telling and re-telling my story.

I was typically met with blank stares when I began, “I was born a poor black child…”

The experience at this hospital was head and shoulders above the previous pre-op experience I went through in June.  Not that the one in June was bad; it just involved much waiting around, listening to the same things over and over, and telling and re-telling my story, AND running from place to place waiting on multiple lines all at the same time.

The day started out auspiciously enough.  As we were waiting for the elevator in the parking tower (Yes! A parking tower!), who should walk up behind us? None other that Dr. Gutman.  Fortuitous timing because this hospital (Tel Hashomer) is basically a small town.  We parked on 6, and assumed we had to exit at the ground floor.  No, said the good doctor, exit at 4.

Of course.

So, as we walked along, Dr. Gutman showed us the way and immediately started setting expectation.  He had a great line: “This is a socialized medicine hospital trying to provide Mayo Clinic-level care.” Knowing what I know about Israelis, I’m sure any 4th year student thinks s/he can run the Mayo Clinic.  But, it was nice to hear.

We find the first stop with relative ease and, as I’m standing at the counter, I turn around and see Tammy talking to this young guy (Gee, that didn’t take long!).  Turns out, the guy (Mohammed) was a nurse at Hadassah when I was there.  And, he just started a new job at Tel Hashomer.  In the surgical ward.  I remember him as particularly attentive, and I’m looking forward to having him around next week.

From there, the rest of the day was a whirlwind of sitting around and avoiding eye contact.  (Yes, I acknowledge that we are both here for the same reason, and I can tell by the way you’re looking at me that you’re sizing up me and my medical condition, and no, I refuse to engage in petty discourse on the trials and tribulations of having to wait. Try my wife; she’s the empathetic one.)

All told, here are the meetings we had:

  1. Check-in at the counter to receive a number to wait in another area.
  2. Meeting with surgical nurse to hear the overview of what to do and what not to do.
  3. Meeting with intern to take my medical history and enter everything into the computer.  And, I DO mean everything.  It took about an hour, but he was really a good kid (Yes; I’m at the age where some of the people administering my medical care are, in fact, younger than I am…), and, when it came time for a cursory exam, his hands were freezing and the poking/probing of my belly did not help the situation.
  4. Meeting with an anesthesiologist so I could hear about how I get to sleep really well next week.  Rest assured, there was ample discussion about PCA.
  5. Meeting with a surgical resident to review the procedure, discuss the recovery process and more PCA-related discussion.
  6. Drop-in to say hello to the surgical scheduler to make nice.
  7. A tour of the over-crowded ward.
  8. Meeting with Sarah in the head nurse’s office to make arrangements for a personal aid to be with me every night from 11pm – 7am.  I am assured by Sarah that, yes, they are all adorable.
  9. McDonald’s.

So, as of now we are “all systems go” for check-in on Monday afternoon at 4pm (9am in NY, 9:30 in Newfoundland).  There’s been nary a word about intestinal preparation (I know, you’re all disappointed.), other than I need to refrain from eating and drinking 8 hours prior to surgery.  I will be taken into the OR at about 7am Tuesday (midnight), and expect to be done by the time those on the East Coast begin their day.

Thank you all for your continued interest and care.  The next email update should come at some point Tuesday night or Wednesday, possibly from Tammy.


About Alan

F---ing Cancer since 2011.
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