“Ms. Skarin, are you with us?” I tried to connect the voice with the face looming over me.
Hi Ms. Skarin, you were out for a long time.
Out? Where did I go? My body is heavy against a narrow bed between two metal railings. The machines are making a slow methodical beep and there is a line connected to a bag hooked on a pole. The lights are invading my brain; uninvited.
“Ms. Skarin, we almost lost you. Your intestines were cut during the procedure and you developed peritonitis. I’m the surgeon who performed your emergency surgery. We had to sew your intestine together and flush you with saline. You will have swelling. You’re going to be in the hospital for a few days while we monitor you.”
Huh? My brain does not compute. Let me go back to sleep.
A week ago I was sitting in the gynecologist’s office going over questions I had prepared, before she invaded my body with her cutting tools.
“Are you sure you can do this laparoscopically?” Yes I had read the small print:
A laparoscopic hysterectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove the uterus. A small incision is made in the belly button and a tiny camera is inserted. The surgeon watches the image from this camera on a TV screen and performs the operative procedure.
“I was told I have scar tissue from my previous surgeries. I’m at the end of my semester and I need to finish my degree.”
“Yes, I’ve done these surgeries many times. No problem.”
My mother came with me to the hospital but stormed out after I asked the chaplain if he was there to pray for me, or have a conversation with my mother. She didn’t come back. He apologized.
This was an outpatient operation. I was going home the same day. No problem.
They wheeled me to my room after I was able to answer questions and lift my leg. Then there were the interruptions… “You can only put a few pieces of ice on your tongue.” “Hi hon, we need to draw your blood again.” “I’ll have a nurse bring you a bedpan.” “Oh, is 68/48 low for you?” “Hi there, just going to check your wound. We’re looking good.”
The doctor who performed my laparoscopic “simple procedure.” appeared in the doorway once. She didn’t say a word. She left.
A nurse asked if I needed a little more morphine for pain. I told her no, I just want to walk up and down the halls and breathe in my plastic bellow tube thingy* until they let me out of here.
I had to drop out of that semester of school, but I managed to finish the requirements to receive a Human Services Certificate. My mother passed away at the end of that year, the day after my birthday.
I had a long fight with the insurance company. Emergency surgery is pre-existing???