Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fun with Surgery

   I was just talking with Joni about my surgery experience and it made me remember a couple of things that happened. We've all heard horror stories where a doctor has operated on the wrong limb; and apparently they've implemented some clever ways to prevent this mistake. When the nurse first brought me back, she asked me several times which ankle required surgery. Then she sat me on a gurney and handed me a permanent marker. She told me to write my initials on the foot that they would be operating on. Once I had marked my "JR" on my right foot, she wrapped black and yellow tape around my left leg that said, "DO NOT OPERATE".
   We also talked about the vasovagal episode I had, and about the possible causes. Nervousness is an obvious one, but honestly I was SO excited and looking forward to having this surgery done, hoping it would alleviate my pain. I didn't feel nervous that day—I felt hopeful. As we talked through it, though, I realized that for me it was probably mistrust of that nurse, who would be caring for me. One of the first things she said to me that day was, "So you don't have any allergies..." and I immediately became worried that no one had bothered to read all the information that I had carefully gathered—at their request. I had submitted all my allergy and medication information days earlier, and even followed up with the receptionist to make sure they had received it, and she and I went over it together in excruciating detail. When I responded with, "No—I have a LOT of allergies! Did you not receive the information I provided?"  she seemed irritated and just said, "It's probably here in your folder."
   Given that I didn't trust her (and I think, for very good reason!), I think it's reasonable to think that having her care for me made me nervous, hence my involuntary reaction to the IV and anesthetic. The surgicenter sent a survey to me yesterday, asking about all aspects of my experience. I read through it, and waited several hours to fill it out, wanting to provide a true and thoughtful response. My feedback was glowing overall, but I was very honest about my thoughts on that nurse, how I felt she treated me, and how I didn't appreciate the snarky comments about me and eye-rolling she did when talking to Kelly. I hope that the surgicenter will address this with her and deal with it appropriately. My name was on the survey, so time will tell!