Friday, October 14, 2011

A Circumcision at 72?


I never thought …

For various reasons, my urologist and I decided I had to have one of the oldest surgical procedures in history. Surprisingly, I felt no hesitation about having it done, feeling the results would be worth any discomfort.

As it turned out, the worst part was stopping the blood thinner I'm on and replacing it with a medicine called Lovenox. It has to be the most painful, bruising and long-lasting discomfort of any injection I've ever had in my life. Both of my thighs have huge bruises with painful lumps that don't seem to go away.

As a retired army sergeant, I've had my operations at the Air Forces hospital at Nellis Air Force Base. In my experience, the staff there has always been exceptionally professional and caring beyond any medical care I've received in non-military installations and clinics. So, when it came to being operated on in a 40-year old medical facility, I had no few reservations. The building looks to be 40 and the corridors go on forever with no seeming organization. So, I was surprised that I received a call the Monday before the operation to go through pre-registration. I then went to the hospital the day before surgery and found two computer screens with very easy instructions on how to check in. From there, I went to another window where the lady gave me a pager and told me to relax and wait - “Shouldn't be long, you're next in line.”

Oh yeah? Never gonna happen.

Turned out to only take about 15 minutes until I got called up. We then spent at least a half hour going through an unbelievable numbers of forms. And then there were all the little sticky tabs that got put on everything to include a paper bracelet for my arm. And, after having filled out all the forms, the clerk then scanned them into her computer.

At last it was off to check in for the pre-op interview. We walked ten blocks down drab hallways with little arrows pointing to the various locations. All to find another waiting room where I turned in paperwork and was told to wait for someone to call me. Another long wait and, when I last I saw a registered nurse, it was to watch her fill out more and more papers.



Oh Lord! Is this gonna be this bad when it comes time to go into surgery?

I wasn't quite finished. It was off to the laboratory to have blood drawn and give a urine sample. Surprisingly, the phlebotomist got a vein at the first try and even didn't leave that much of a bruise. From there, I went to cardiology for an EKG. This guy was a pro, admitting that he been doing it for more than 30 years.

Early the next morning, I show up at the hospital, go through the very easy check-in thingie and am off to the surgery area. Whatever expectations I had from the physical layout were shattered by the staff and the equipment at their disposal. First of all, they gave me a hospital gown that actually covered my backside! And a pair of those socks that never seem to fit that actually fit. As is always the case, one tends to freeze to death in hospitals. So, once I was ready, I asked someone for a blanket. Much to my amazement, the nurse came in a pulled a hose out from somewhere and hooked it up to my hospital gown – that had a kind of sack inside for the warm air blowing out of the hose. It even had holes so I could put my hands inside to keep them warm. And even more surprising, the nurse hooked up an IV without spending forever digging around in my arm for a vein.

My wife was able to stay with me until it was time to be hauled off to the operating room. I don't know how the staff finds its way around that place as the nurse wheeled me down endless, drab halls, through a bunch of automatic doors and into another place where another nurse took charge of me. The anesthesiologist put a mask over my face and told me the syringe would hurt – which it didn't.

An hour or so later, a woke up and felt just fine. They wheeled me back through the endless maze to something near where I first went in. My wife was brought in and it wasn't long before I was dressed and on my way out of there.

I have nothing but good memories of my experience. Valley Hospital Medical Center of Las Vegas, Nevada, was exceptionally professional and I never had a single instance of any unpleasant or brusque employees. And, most important, I have no experienced any bleeding or even pain as a result of the surgery.

I certainly help this horrid mess of Obamacare doesn't change all this.

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