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I had an appointment last week with a surgeon–I had to have sixteen lumps removed from my body.  I don’t believe that I have anything to worry about, but the doctor thought it would be good to remove them and have them checked out.

So when I went in and had the surgery, I was telling myself the entire time that it wasn’t a big deal.  I told the doctor that I would prefer the local anesthesia, and didn’t really want to go through being put under.  I was never afraid of being put under until a few years ago.

During my previous job, I attended Chamber of Commerce meetings as a representative of my company. One of the tours we went on was to a drug rehab center that specialized in the recovery of people in the medical field.   (Apparently, people in medicine have drug problems just like people in other professions.)  One interesting tidbit that came out during the tour was that the majority of patients they get at that particular rehab center are anesthesiologists. They apparently have high stress jobs and easy access to high-grade drugs.  The picture I now had in my head was of me being wheeled into an operating room, looking up and seeing the anesthesiologist. He slowly covers my mouth with the mask, tells me to take a deep breath…and just as I am going out, he puts the mask to his own mouth and takes a hit.  Worse, I am awakened by the surgeon telling the nurse to “quit bogarting the good shit.”

Being the tough guy he-man that I think I am, I told my surgeon to just give me the shots.  She warned me that it was going to hurt.  I told her no problem, I was all good.  I didn’t realize I was going to get 18 shots all over my body. At one point, they were giving me three injections at the same time.  Apparently, they had an important lunch date for which they needed to hurry.  On the other hand, maybe they just liked watching me squirm while trying to maintain my composure and not cry like an eight year-old schoolgirl.  More than once, they told me to breathe.

One of the things I learned at my consulting appointment was that I was going to get some scars.  I kinda figured that was going to be the case, and wasn’t sure what my other options were.  I wasn’t really worried about a few small scars–I told her that at some point, with all of my excess skin, I’m gonna be filleted like a largemouth bass–to the tune of about six hundred stitches–so a few little marks on my legs weren’t really a big deal.

I went to the hospital, checked in, filled out the paperwork…and the next thing I know, I am in a room being prepped for surgery.  They took me into the operating room and had me lay down face-up on a bench with movable arms. They slipped Velcro straps over my appendages, and fastened me down to the bench–then told me to relax.  I asked why I was being secured to the bed–they said it was so I wasn’t tempted to help with the surgery or decide (in the middle of everything) to leave the procedure.  I’m fairly sure they were joking, but with doctors, who really knows?

There I was, lying in this crappy gown in a cold room while they worked on my legs, which is where the majority of the lumps were.  To be specific, they were in my shins, which made the shots even more fun.

The nurse said she needed to shave me up, and asked if I had followed the directions not to shave my legs before the surgery.  I told her I did not shave normally, and wondered if that’s really an issue.  Do they have a lot of guys that shave their legs?  Is this a common practice nowadays?  Then in one motion, the surgical assistant moved the gown up to my waist.  What the hell?!?  My shins are where the lumps are–not my bellybutton.  So, here I am naked from the waist down, strapped to a table, with four women in a cold room.  Hey, Doc–do you think we could crank up the heat?  I’m not exactly…myself in this cold room…

The staff was great. I had a nurse, a surgery assistant, a surgeon and a resident working on me at the same time.  I listened to their discussion about the lumps they were removing.  With the exception of one–the lump in my chest–the lumps they removed looked and felt like bone.  Two things you don’t want to hear your surgeon say: “Hmmm… interesting.” and “Wow…strange.”

I spent the next three hours watching them work on me while listening to my surgeon sing along with the lite rock radio station playing in the operating room. When they got the final stitches in, for a total of 70, they wrapped my legs up with ACE bandages.  I felt like a sausage.  In the recovery room, they gave me cranberry juice (without the vodka) with a side of graham crackers, and sent me home.

It’s been a few weeks, and I am still waiting for the analysis of the lumps. They suspect they are fat cells that have gone through calcification and hardened.  I think that means that some of my fat isn’t going without a fight.

The good news is, I am still moving ahead…and it’s only a matter of time before I go bionic.

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