During a recent GI procedure, I had a very interesting experience as a patient.
After taking the colon prep all of the previous evening, the “flood gates” opened at around 8 am and continued all morning. It felt like I was going every 5 minutes and was glad I had used the A&D ointment to prevent any irritation.
At 2:15 pm that afternoon I reported to the check in desk and was asked a few routine questions and then directed to the waiting room to await my turn. Fifteen minutes later, I was led into a room in the back (an abyss) where the Nursing Aide took my weight and vital signs which were thankfully normal. She then told me to take everything off and put on the gown with the open side to the back. After what seemed like eternity, the Nurse assigned to me came in to complete the rest of my admission.
“Do you have an Advance Directive?”…she asked. I thought for a moment and answered in the negative. This sounded odd as I am not used to having this question asked of me. After a few more questions, she seemed satisfied and I signed the consent form. Nurse One (I will call her that as I met many others after my first encounter with her.) examined my arms in order to start an IV on me. I presumed this would be used to infuse fluids and give me medication. Unfortunately for her my veins were not cooperative that afternoon. After two attempts, she called for backup. Nurse Number Two tried twice and failed miserably as well. At this point I spoke up and said that I WAS A HARD STICK. Nurse # Two decided to call for more back up as she seemed to be getting nowhere with my tiny veins.
Five Nurses and seven attempts later, I was still without an IV and I started feeling like the proverbial pin cushion!
Nurse One, my primary Nurse decided to take matters in her hands and called the Anaesthesiologist, (bless her heart) who, after examining my arms asked for a number 24. I never knew they came that small. He got one in me at the very first attempt, and I was left wondering why she had not called him right at the beginning.
I was then wheeled into a brightly lit room where the Doctor was waiting and pacing, or so it seemed. Nurse # 7 attached me to a Cardiac Monitor and started me on oxygen via nasal cannula. Seeing all the equipment around me made it all so real now…. I was a patient. What if I did not wake up, I thought to myself.
“Turn on your side, all the way…come on”. My thoughts were interrupted. She sprayed this awful tasting thing into my throat and told me to swallow.
“Give her 2 and 50”. I heard the Doctor say. Laying there on my left side, with the oxygen blowing into my nose, I was about to say that 2 and 50 would not be enough for me, but the only thought that came over me was “ I wonder why they want to put a pacemaker in me?” I have no idea why I thought about a pacemake as I have no need for a one. It was very strange that that thought would just pop into my head as I was falling asleep. I suppose this is a prime example of when a patient will say something that seems totally unrelated to what you are discussing, but the thought is actually very present in their mind.
I was back in the room where it had all started with the IV’s, with my family member sitting next to me. I was slipping in and out of consciousness. When I was reasonably awake, I was asked to sit on the chair and get dressed. My nurse then read me the discharge instructions, none of which made sense to me.
I’m not sure how I got into the wheel chair, but I do remember being wheeled out into the parking lot. I left the Surgicenter very disappointed because I felt I had not been given any chance to voice my feelings or ask any questions.
Needless to say, after starving all day, the cup of tea I had that evening never tasted so good.