The Joys of Surgery

It was just standard bunion surgery – a bunionectomy to be precise. Who knew there was such a term as “bunionectomy?” The sound of that word makes me cringe. After 20 years of painful walking, I decided it was finally time to get it corrected. I’ve had several surgeries at this point in my life and this one ranked low on my list of concern. A few days before surgery, however, I found myself feeling more and more anxious. Let me explain.

It all starts when they take you into a surgical room in which the temperature is about 50 degrees and ask you lie on a table that I swear is only about 2 feet wide. Instantly my mind is trying to comprehend how regular people fit onto this table. I mean, I’m only 5’2″ and relatively petite, so….anyway, maybe they have several sizes. The anesthesiologist gets my IV going – RIGHT IN THE CROOK OF MY ARM. What the heck? Bad sign. Next, he asks me to roll over to my stomach. Sure dude, I can do this no problem. I’m shaking from the cold, ticked because you just put an IV in the CROOK OF MY ARM and I have to roll over on this pathetically narrow table. No biggie, I got this.

This is the part causing my anxiety. Now he is going to put a nerve block into the back of my knee. This will deliver numbing medicine so that I can be AWAKE for this thrilling procedure. I tell him I’m a tad freaked out. He says I need not worry, reaches over and delivers a little “something” into my IV and the next think I know I’m on my back, the sterile curtain is up and I hear the surgeon using power tools on what I assume is my foot.  I proceed to have a lively conversation with the surgeon I cannot see while under the spell of that special “something” placed in my IV. I hope I didn’t spill any secrets. #sorrynotsorrybillclinton

I ask to see my foot before he wraps it up, so when the time comes, I reach up to pull down the drape and there is my foot in all it’s glory with sutures and a very strange-looking color. The color of death. We use a tourniquet for this operation so it’s basically bloodless, he says. Just don’t forget to remove it, I say.  Hey, I’m kind of funny while under this “something.” Still, I worry he may accidentally forget. He didn’t.

Back to the recovery room and all settled into the bed. Nerve block is still slowly dripping and will stay in for several more hours. You can’t get up to use the bathroom for at least 12 hours, says the nurse. Just let us know and we will bring you a bed pan. The first experience with the bed pan was awkward but successful. Never mind while you’re “on” the bed pan it feels like your belly button is plastered on the ceiling. I think I heard several vertebrae crack. The second call for the bed pan produced the same nurse presenting me with a new, sleek and slim bed pan. I should have known. DO NOT, under any circumstances, EVER use this bed pan. The words sleek and slim are fine when discussing yoga pants, but NOT bed pans. Yep, the worst thing happened. All up my back and in my bed. But of course you don’t realize it at the time because it’s the same temperature as your body. Is this some kind of sick joke? Someone at a medical design event announcing, “Look at this amazingly sleek and slim bed pan we’ve designed. Let’s not tell them it usually leaks! Buaaaahhh!” Thankfully, the nurse handled it with humor and lightness, so I was grateful for the sponge bath and new sheets.

IV pain meds were given as needed while the nerve block wore off. Oh the pain! I can see now why they say this is one of the most painful surgeries out there. I could have complained about this pain, but it was about this time when I realized how blessed I am to be able to even have this surgery. It’s really a first-world problem and I have nothing to complain about. I didn’t NEED this surgery. Sure it HURT, but as I reflected on my surgical blessing, I remembered that some people are Hungry, many are Underprivileged, other are Rejected or Targeted. Thank you, Lord, for giving me this blessing.

May I use my new foot to serve those who are truly hurting.