I’ve been thinking about the surgery I had when I had the hospital acquired MRSA. I must have been admitted a good 20 times to my local hospital for IV antibiotics, only to have the infection return within days of stopping them.
Finally it was decided to transfer me to a larger hospital with an infectious disease specialist. She ordered a picc line, had a consult with the surgeon and sent me home doing IV antibiotics for 6 weeks. Sure enough once the IV drugs were stopped, the infection came back and this time it was the worst that is has ever been. Instead of Rudy taking me to our local hospital, we went straight to the bigger one where I was promptly admitted. Around 9pm the surgeon came by with a couple pieces of Godiva chocolate. He asked if I liked them, which I did, I devoured them. When I was done with the last piece he said he was glad I enjoyed them because I was npo from that moment on, he had me scheduled in the OR for first thing in the morning. He said he wasn’t going to cut that deep, only needed to get rid of the bad tissue and he was going to leave it open to heal from the inside out. It didn’t sound too bad the way he put it. When I was in preop, I suggested a local instead of general anesthesia and he said the last thing he needed was me telling him how to operate while he was operating. I don’t know how he knew me so well.
I now know I should have never watched “Braveheart” the night of my surgery. You know that scene at the end where Mel Gibson gets disemboweled ? Well that’s how I looked. When they brought me down for hydrotherapy I noticed a poloraid camera on the shelf and I asked someone to take a picture of my incisions. Well when I saw what the doctor did, I went into a full blown panic attack, the like of which I’ve ever seen or felt before. In fact they had to give me an injection of valium just to calm me down. People die from the kind of wounds I had. and I gave consent to this one. In the end, the surgeon was right and it was the last time I had an infection of my surgical site, though it took almost 2 years for it to completely heal.
Lest everyone think I forgot, I do know I’m a very lucky woman. I’ve been surrounded by not just my husband and kids, but an entire community and neighborhood of people who love and care about me. That’s how I ended up with a whole posse coming to the hospital for my hernia surgery. I thought I was done writing about it, until my husband reminded me what the surgeon did.
I was in outpatient recovery with two of my best friends and hubby had to go out and move the car, which is when the surgeon came in to talk about how the surgery went. One of my friends asked if he could wait just a minute until my husband came back when the doctor told him, “No, I have other patients.” When hubby walked in a minute later he was furious. Turns out the nurse had told him earlier to wait in the chapel and the doctor would come there to talk to him, and the doctor left all of them waiting there for over an hour and never did show up. It was only when he grabbed a nurse to find out what was going on when the nurse told him he had to move the car and brought everyone else back to recovery to be with me. So he never did talk to my husband.
During my follow-up and subsequent surgeries, is when I noticed Dr.S. would be backing out of the room while I was trying to ask him questions. The last time he did that I got up and followed him to the nurse’s station to let him know that I was his patient, he was my doctor and I deserved a few minutes of his time and attention instead of being made to feel like I was bothering him. Which brings me to my point, I’ve had some terrific doctors, but I’ve also had some who were just rude.
During one of my sub-clavian central line placements, done while my 16-year-old daughter was in the room, I don’t know what nerve he hit but I got an intense burning pain that shot from my armpit all the way down to my fingertips. I screamed and the surgeon literally yelled at me to quit screaming. I yelled right back at him to quit hurting me. His response to that was to tell the nurse assisting him to inject me with Valium, and blamed it on a deformity I must have in my anatomy. I still get angry when I think about that. I’m not sure it’s ethical to use drugs to shut me up. As a matter of fact this is the same doctor who did my gallbladder surgery. I gave him my very extensive surgical history, while I was waiting in pre-op I started reading my chart that was on the foot of my bed. The only thing it said was that my history was positive for an appendectomy. I still have my appendix.
Of course now I have to mention my favorite surgeon. He brought me Godiva chocolate before making me npo. Npo is when you can no longer have anything to eat or drink. When I asked if he could use a local instead of general anesthesia, he told me no. Actually what he said was that the last thing he needed was me telling him how to operate while he was operating.