The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Pound of flesh


I'm bored with the Liberals already so I'm just going to quit with all that. Instead I think I'll detail my activities last weekend...

I got the melanoma completely removed last Friday. Here is what I remember:

I spent the previous evening crashing with my parents. (Once I'd found out the melanoma was "in situ" it was safe to tell them.) I wasn't able to eat or drink after midnight, which proved a chore the next morning, because being that nervous dries out my mouth. So I cheated a little, and rinsed my mouth out with the tap whenever I got thirsty.

I woke up around 4:45 AM, and we drove to the hospital soon after. We checked in, and we didn't have too long to wait before I got called into a pre-op ward. My section had a fold-out wheeled cot in it, and could be curtained off from the rest of the ward.

I changed into a hospital gown, which I expected; and hospital stockings, which surprised me. Each stocking had an opening just beneath the big toe. I pulled my toe through it, figuring it was for freeing the toe up to be tagged when the surgery went bad. But later a nurse came in, and told me to pull it back in.

The nurse swabbed the back of my left hand with some fluid that smelled like cheap vodka, and then shot it up full of novocaine. She bound up my left arm and once the veins were bulging she then put an IV tube into my left hand behind the middle finger, presumably so I wouldn't use it during the procedure. I thought I was noticing a difference in the surroundings after that. But then I realised I was just imagining things. The IV was only dripping salt water.

An anaesthesiologist then came in, although not the one I'd seen the week before, and told me what was going to happen. He replaced the salt IV with some kind of happy juice, although I will swear it had even less effect than the salt.

Later I got wheeled away from the ward and into a white operating chamber with only one exit. I was asked to flip to my belly. They wanted me to point out the melanoma, which I fumbled around at for awhile (although I didn't have the presence of mind to call attention to that it was mostly a sampling scar by then). Then they pumped the IV full of an even happier juice. When they did that I noticed my left arm HURTING, like I'd spent the whole day lifting weights on it. I told them this and they said it was normal.

I don't remember anything after that.

Next I knew, I was on my back again and I was being wheeled to the recovery ward. I was discussing my family ancestry with the nurse, who was African-American, and earnestly pointing out that with mDNA you can find out if your maternal ancestors are from the Gold Coast or Kenya. (Possibly I was still a bit f0cked up from the happy juice.)

Some of that earlier period is a bit blurry. I may have been put on oxygen but I cannot be sure. They put some kind of blue booties on my feet, which looked ridiculous. Later my mom came back in and told me that she'd consulted with the doctor already.

I figured I was getting over the whole thing pretty well. The nurse brought in some juice and wanted to be sure I went to the bathroom safely before she could let me out. Once my IV'd got unhooked from the salt water, I was able to do this (yay!). I was standing around for a while feeling grumpy while she dealt with other patients. She took out the IV tube from my left hand (double-yay!). Then I sat down again.

Oh boy, and then I nearly went Schiavo on everyone. When I was 14-24 years old, I used to get fainting spells. It'd feel like the blood was draining from my head, that my head was also getting squeezed, that my vision has greying out, and that I couldn't breathe. What happened in that ward felt 10 times worse - I even got cold sweats. I'm told that my lips went white and that my blood pressure shot right down. I had to sit in that ward for another three hours while they waited for everything to clear up.

So I spent the whole weekend with Mom & Dad, bless them. My sleeping patterns have been weird. I napped in the PM, had dinner, went to bed, and woke up sweating from nightmares around 4 AM. At this point the pain would get so intense that I had to hit the Vicodin. Otherwise I'd be fine.

The scar is diagonal relative to my spine, and runs about five inches in length (I measured this with a ruler). Parts of the outside stitches are supposed to fall out by themselves around Friday or so. Till then it hurts to bend over, to sit down, to lie down, to stand up, and to walk.


posted by Zimri on 14:55 | link | 0 comments

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