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Nathan's Post-Surgery Update - Part I

Posted Oct 01 2008 8:41pm
This post ended up being way too long, so I am going to split it into two parts.

Okay, as many of you know, I was scheduled for a fistula revision surgery for Monday afternoon. I arrived at the hospital about an hour before my procedure was scheduled. The nurse said that she would have to hurry with my check-in because apparently I was supposed to be there two hours before my appointment. I guess the surgeon's nurse did not know that, because no one had told me. As with all hospital visits, the first thing they had me do was to get out of my normal clothes and put on a hospital gown (yippie).

While one nurse is taking my patient history, a second nurse attempted to start an IV. Now, I warned her that my veins do not like the concept of an IV, and that they might not respond well to her stabbing them, but that did not dissuade her. She tied a rubber band around my upper arm and proceeded to slap the back of my hand to make some veins pop up. She found what she thought would be a perfect vein, and administered some Lidocaine. That was a good thing, as she spent the next three or four minutes rooting around inside my hand with an IV starter needle. She would stab and stab, and then ask if it hurt (which it did) and then go back to the stabbing. Finally, she gave up and left. I guess she went to go find the anesthesiologist, because he came in and stabbed a new IV needle right into the back of my hand with almost no effort on his part.

Here is where I was starting to get confused. They said I should have been at the hospital an hour earlier than I got there, but my surgeon did not even show up until about 45 minutes after my scheduled start time. I don't feel like I missed out on anything by not being extra early. From a patient standpoint, everything was going well. I talked to the surgeon about the procedure and asked about a chest catheter. It seems that I was supposed to have my nephrologist schedule that procedure with radiology (unbeknownst to me). So, the surgeon had to go and ask if radiology could fit me in to their schedule that afternoon so that I could continue to receive dialysis while my fistula heals. Again, I had a lack of information about the chest catheter. I did not know it was my responsibility to schedule that appointment with my nephrologist. I had just figured that the vascular surgeon would do that at the same time as the fistula revision.

So, the time came for the surgery. The anesthesiologist said he was giving me the sedative, and I waited for the slight burning that always accompanies medicine in your IV. I remember being rolled into the surgery room and that's it. The next thing I know, I am waking up, and they are talking about putting in my temporary access. Now, I do not know why they waited until my medication had worn off to do this, but they did. So now, I am groggy and someone is stabbing my in the neck. He pushes, it hurts, and then he pushes some more. I guess that since I did not previously schedule the access to be put in my chest, they just stuck something in my neck to be used for a week or two. When that is finished, I have some gauze on my left elbow and something sticking out of the right side of my neck.

The next thing they tell me is that I cannot go to work on Tuesday. Again, I wish that this had been something that was mentioned to me before I set this procedure up. Had I known, I would have tried to schedule it for a Friday so that I missed only a half day of work, rather than a day and a half. They also told me that I could not get the thing in my neck wet under any circumstances. So, until they take it out, I am stuck with taking baths and not washing my neck. I am also not really sure how I am supposed to shave ... maybe I'll come up with something.

What strikes me as odd is that I feel like there was a cat in the operating room or something. When I woke up, my nose was running like crazy. I think I have gone through an entire box of Kleenex since I got home last night. I am wondering if I had an allergic reaction to the anesthesia. That is possible. I did not sleep very well last night thanks to being stuck on my back with my arm elevated, and I could not roll over because of the needles hanging out of my neck.

That’s all for today. Tune in to the next post where I explain what happened when I went to see the vascular surgeon on Tuesday and how my Tuesday dialysis treatment went.
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