Friday, March 3, 2017

Adventure at UAB

I began this entry late Friday morning in the backyard squinting at the laptop screen in my backyard after returning from Em’s house in Birmingham. Naturally the deck chair was in the full sun to be toasty warm. Holly was on the patio rolling around. What bliss… Then I thought to myself, “You asshole! You just put yourself through Hell with a melanoma and here you are in full sun exposure!”
I’m now in the shade, Holly is on “backyard patrol”, and my Pandora station is softly playing. Life is good…


I drove to Em’s house in BHAM Wednesday afternoon so to save me a morning drive on Thursday. I first called UAB to make sure they would operate as my sinuses were going crazy. My teeth had been aching Monday which is a sure indication of a sinus infection. The pain gradually subsided Tuesday and was pretty well gone Wednesday. There was no fever and the discharge was clear. I was told by the nurse practitioner from my symptoms I should be set to go and not to worry.
I could not understand why Em was making such a big deal about being careful on the drive over. It was not till I arrived at his house I realized the reason for his concern. He had the weather news on which was giving reports of heavy rain, wind, and hailstones. There were horrible storms passing all around. The worst of the storms hit away from Em’s. The rain hit pretty much when I pulled into his driveway. I don’t know if this falls under the category of “Ignorance is bliss” or “The devil takes care of his own!”
I just enjoyed seeing Holly tearing across the backyard at full speed as Daggy and Stumpy used to do. We are both happy! Back to my entry….
If there is one thing I have learned in my almost 65 years, it is how you must be on top of things that have a direct impact upon your life. Em and I arrived at UAB in plenty of time Thursday morning for my surgery. The check in was where my papers indicated, right across from Starbucks. How good a grande would have tasted! I gave my information the “admittence lady”. She opened a book asked for my birthday and then she handed me my surgery paperwork and gave me directions. I told her I first needed to have dye injected in Nuclear Medicine located in Jefferson Towers. She looked closer and realized her omission and gave us directions to the Towers. (When I was being prepped for surgery one of the nurses told me how sometimes they get people in my situation all prepped and ready for surgery only to discover they had never been sent for their dye injections!)
The tech giving me my “Nuclear treatment” was so nice. He informed me of what was going down and apologized on how I’d be feeling discomfort. He needed to do four injections just under the first skin layer. He was very good and I was not really under that much discomfort. I’ve got a pretty high pain tolerance and did deep breathing to get me through. Then I was under a scanner to take pictures of the dye. I’m not claustrophobic which was a relief to him. This process can take some time. He told me he has had horrible experiences with some people. I explained to him I realized he was helping me and I would not do anything to make that job any harder.
Em and I returned to the admittance desk to get the paperwork for surgery. Surgery was on the 7th floor. I did not have to wait long before I was called in.
The nurse doing my history and vitals explained how he was being trained on this floor; his normal spot was in the emergency room. I told him of the stories I’ve heard from ER friends and what a battle zone it can be. He laughed and said how different it was in surgery. Kim was overseeing his charting which is all done on computers now. This is a far cry from the clipboards hanging off the patient beds in the old soap opera “General Hospital” days of the 1960’s.
They finished up the charting history questions with:
Kim: Is there anything else we should know about your medical history?
Jamie: Well, at my last physical my doctor told me my veins were too close.
Kim and Trevor: Very puzzled looks..... Your veins are too close??
Jamie: Yes, My Dr told me I had very close veins!!!
That really made them laugh!!
My operating Dr arrived and I had to explain what was going to happen as a procedural “check and balance”. I explained the impending operation the best I could. I lamented as to how nicely the original incision healed up only to be dug out again! The Dr smiled and agreed it had indeed healed up nicely.
The last thing I remember before surgery was the anesthesiologist saying, “Now I’m going to give you something to make you very happy.”
Coming to after the surgery I felt like I was flying and was so toasty warm under a number of blankets. I did not want to wake up.
Em came back after my recovery and I prepared to leave. The Dr had told him after my surgery all went well and only one lymph node was removed. He would not go into detail saying how they must wait for the biopsy results and he would discuss it with me. I’m very encouraged the results will be good. I will know the outcome March 14th.
This episode of my life can’t pass without a “Jamie moment.”
When I packed my back pack for this hospital adventure I wanted to have loose comfortable clothes for “operation day.” I had washed my heavy sweatpants with pockets so I could hold my vital information cards along with a loose fitting pull over sweatshirt. Clean socks and boxer shorts were also packed. On surgery day I needed to have on freshly laundered clothes after showering a third time with the special anti bacterial soap.
When Em pulled into to the pick up area I was wheeled out into the parking deck. When I stood up from the wheelchair to get into the car I felt a big draft. Instantly I realized I was wearing the sweats that split up the crotch when I was painting the brick shelf. OMG I was horrified. The entire crotch was ripped out of these pants. I was so distracted I never realized it getting dressed at Em’s or putting them back on again at the hospital! Em was laughing saying how he told some of the nurses and receptionists how sad it was I had to dress in rags!!
You have to be able to laugh at yourself. I like to think some people got a smile or chuckle from my dilemia. I know it made me and Em laugh!!!

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Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Retired auto worker who can now spend too much time restoring his 1922 Bungalow Home. I'm involved in a number of varied activities from collecting bricks to rowing with a masters rowing group. This blog is to share different aspects of my life on my Facebook page. I've kept an on-line journal for eight years.