Friday, March 13, 2009

Surgery Without Anethesia---- Part 2

Alrighty, this is part 2 of this post.

So Sal and I got to the hospital the day of the surgery, I signed off a buttload of paperwork, got nekid and slipped into a designer hospital gown, the designer being Soupy Sales, and waited in pre-op for the deed. Various techs and nurses came and did the usual monitoring stuff, drawing blood, taking my blood pressure,temperature etc... then the surgeon came in to talk to me one last time before I went to the O.R.

He asked me if I was ready and was still wanting to do it with out being put under and I said "yup". Sally asked how "comfortable" I would be... repeating a word that he'd used. I don't really know what happened right then but he sorta flipped a little bit and said "I'm your surgeon, I'm not your anesthesiologist... I can't be both. You're going to be wide awake. I'll give you a local at the incision site, this will be like what you get when you go to the dentist, that's as comfortable as I can make you. You WILL feel it, A LOT. If you don't think you can go through with this, lets just get the anesthesiologist in here right now."

So I'm a little stunned. I wasn't quite prepared mentally for this little turn of events. Sally was kinda white looking.

I'm pretty hard core. I'm not gloating or boasting... I can endure quite a bit if I've got my mind set. I looked at Sal then to the surgeon and said "Let's get to it."

Then the anesthetist walks in with a clipboard full of papers to have me sign and I told him he wasn't in this show. He was the one with the stunned look now, evidently no one had told him up til now about this. Incredible eh? He asked if I was sure and I said "yup". He said "How about you go ahead and sign my release papers and I'll wait outside the O.R. and if it get's real hairy for you all they have to do is wave me in and I'll put you out." I agreed, signed.. and he left.... evidently to tell everyone in the hospital what was getting ready to go down up in the O.R.

They wheel me in to the O.R., slide me over onto the operating table. The doc comes in with an entourage and asks me if it's okay if the operation is "observed" and I said "it's cool with me". They 5 point restrain me down to the table. This is where it starts getting real weird.

Sitting behind me is an OR nurse that is like my best friend in the world right now. She's talking to me, reassuring me and telling me that she's going to be monitoring my vitals. On one side of the table is the surgeon and his OR nurse, on the other side is another doc. Before the put they drape up below my chin that blocks my view of the whole mess, I saw about 5 student docs standing at the foot of the operating table. Over to my left is a quite young student nurse, observing also.

He tells me he's going to start and how it's going to play out in stages of the operation. He says that he's going to tell me what he's doing as he does it. To keep the flinch factor down he said he was going to say when he was cutting and when he was poking and when he was pulling stitches etc... so I could prepare myself mentally at each step.

He says that after he get's so deep in me, I'm probably going to be feeling quite a bit of it because the local only goes so far.

Hoo boy.

The local burns pretty good, like it always does and then he get's going. I actually don't feel the first cut... I have the sensation of something being drug across my belly and that's it. He's talking to me, the nurse behind me is talking to me and asking me to take some slow deep breaths.

Then... then it I started to feel it. I told him that I was feeling it pretty good, and he said he was hurrying but he had about 20 minutes left. Did I want the anesthetist? "No." The OR was dead quiet except for the 3 of us talking.

It started getting real REAL intense. As intense as anything that I've done. I was feeling everything. 150 percent of everything. I could feel every cut, I could feel the sensation of him poking into my guts. Everything.

The student nurse to my left started crying.

Yeah... that's comforting.

He did the repair and started sewing me up in layers. I felt every single stitch... there was no local left and absolutely none that deep into my stomach. He told me that he had about 3 minutes left and he'd be done.

And then it was over. They took off the restraints, cleaned me up around my stomach, covered me up with fresh sheets and just like that it was over. 2 of the student docs that were observing walked up beside me and one said "You are the toughest sonofabitch I've ever seen in my entire life." while the other one stood there nodding.

Because there's no anesthesia to wear off I don't make a stop at post op, I go right back to the pre-op room.

Sally comes in the room and asks me how it was... and I lost it for a few minutes. The shock and horror of the whole thing was overwhelming, I held it as long as humanly possible. When my wife looked at me and asked me that... it was like my emotional trigger. She held me while I got over that episode.

A doc and a student doc that had nothing to do with my surgery stepped into the room and said "Can we ask you a couple of questions?" and I nodded. The doc said "You're pretty much the talk of the hospital today, my student here wants to know what it was like."

I looked at the kid and said "Pure fucking hell." "As bad as you can imagine. That was what it was like. I felt everything, was aware of everything." And they left.

After awhile Sally helped me get my clothes on, they wheeled me out to the car and we went home. Another emotional period or two getting there. Sal just listened.

Then. Then the nightmares started. Everytime I went to sleep I had complete and vivid flashbacks of it. As real as it gets. After about a week of it I got a script for sleeping pills but they kept coming for several weeks and then.... just stopped. Just like that.

In retrospect, I would never do it again. I felt that I had to do it at the time because of the whole money thing. I could save my family the additional debt just by toughing it out. Well, I did... but I would never ever do it again. It's just too much physically and emotionally.

On the bright side, when anyone starts telling their "horrible surgery" story... I can always top it on the horror scale.

That's all folks.



WowsRose said...

Good - I get to be the first post to say:

As the first daughter, yes... I offered to throw some $$$ AT HIM!

I have to go vomit now. :)
I (heart) you Kenny.

Sassy Britches said...

I am in shock. And awe. And I NEVER thought about the possibility of flashbacks. Or intrusive students and doctors that have nothing to do with you; it's almost like a peep show. I am so glad Sally was there for you. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and I hope it helped getting it off your chest a little bit more!

Kim said...

What kind of animal can hack into another human being, knowing the kind of pain and torture they are causing them? Where did he go to med school, Bosnia? I can see about 4 levels of greed, inhumanity, and social injustice in that story. Or am I just overly sensitive?

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Yep. Tops my gall bladder story by a lot.

This is why, even if I'm fabulously rich, I'm still working, just so I can have the insurance. Yeesh. You are the toughest sumbitch I've read about in a while.

Gwen said...

Oh. My. God. You really are the toughest sumbitch I know. I had to take a couple vicodin before I let my ENT shove a camera up my nose into my sinuses so I can't even imagine the courage it took for you to do this.

Next time? Put a paypal thingie in your sidebar and raise the money, crazy man! I think we'd rather give you $20 each than read a story like this again.

mo.stoneskin said...

You're so tough I bet you went back to work for the rest of the day.

Seriously though, glad it worked out.

Stacie said...

I mean, what else is there to say?


Giggle Pixie said...

Great Nancy Mare, that's one hellofa tale!! I can't even imagine what you went through!

Thank heavens for Sal and please don't ever do something like that again!! :-)

Jennifer and Sandi said...

I can't believe what I just read. Holy COW you are one brave soul! What a cost cutting savings you arranged. I get my (2x a year) teeth cleaning at a dental collage. Cost me $30. I hardly go through the pain you just did tho.

HOLY COW is all I can say!

Hope your healing well!

- Jennifer

Candy's daily Dandy said...

You are my hero...period, amen.

I know you didn't tell the story for this kind of response but I have to say I am truly humbled by your determination, will, strength of mind and character, but most of all for your unselfish love and commitment to your family.

HOLY HELL- I'm with Gwen. I'd kick in fo sho.

Scope said...

I'd written a root canal story for Thursday, but then I saw this and I'm glad I decided to pull it. I may need to edit it up a little with a disclaimer that it wasn't like this.

I though you were going to say that you just had the doc duct tape you up at the end. But glad it (mostly) worked out in the end.

Send a copy of that to your Congressmen.

Cora said...

BRAVEST. MAN. EVER. Oh my gosh, Cowguy! I think I would have been screaming and/or passing out! Jeez. Bravo though. Impressive, sir! Most impressive!

Anonymous said...

Well, Jace!

I'm more impressed than you can imagine. I've been under the knife about 15 times now - and another one scheduled next month. Ain't no way I'd let it happen without the good stuff in the left hand.

You must have some great big, brass ones, my friend!

Two comments:
1) I'm amazed that the hospital's legal staff and fear of your lawyers didn't prevent it from happening
2) You're probably the only American alive who knows what those who had medical treatment during the US Civil War went through. Almost none of them had any anesthetic including the thousands of amputees.

'Course, most of THEM died!

Jerry said...

I commented once but musta hit a wrong button. All I've got to say is ditto to all the above. Glad you got the story out, Jace. You're a hell of a lot tougher than I am.

Asphodel said...

Dude, ouch..... hope the nightmares stay gone.....

Lady With a Knife said...

Don't know what to add that hasn't already been added, but felt compelled to write and add my sympathies and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Talk about mind over matter...

Sass said...

You remind me so much of my father, it just amazes me.

OleGrouch said...

Never commented before but this takes the cake, what the he?? you thinking with ? I been through a case of ulcers starting in 62 before thay had anything for it, and thats pain, and having a bad cut sewed up on my arm without deadners was nothing compared to this. You know a lot of guys who would have been glad to take care of the pain killers so next time let us know. I still can't believe you did this, you a hard headed tough sombitch. Get well soon. Sal, you take care of this hardhead and love him cause he's a keeper. Bobby from woodworkslive

Cowguy said...

Wowsrose: You're a sweetie

Sassy B: Yeah the flashbacks were pretty horrendous.

Kim: Eh you're only partly correct. As Sally says on down in the comments, it wasn't the surgeon's fault per se. I knew what was comin... kinda. It says more for the corruptness of the whole medical system than anything.

Mjenks: Insurance has become a luxury item.

Gwen: LOL I'll remember the Paypal thing.

mo.stoneskin: Thanks!

Stacie: yeah that's pretty much it.

Giggle P.: Yeah, I'm keeping Sally around.

Jennifer: $30? Have you tried negotiating that down? Just kiddin'.

Candy: Thanks for the kind words, they're appreciated.

Scope: I guess I could send it to my congressmen. It'd probably give them ol' boys a good laugh.

Cora: Aww shucks.

Ahr8tch: They're kinda big.. dunno bout the brass part. lol

Jerry: I'm guessing you're all a lot tougher than you give yourself credit for.

Asphodel: They've stayed gone. Thanks!

Lady WAK: Thanks and it was 2 years ago so I'm waaaay over it. :-)

Sass: You've said that before... what a nice compliment.

USally: What she said. Love you honey.

Olegrouch: Hey thanks for loggin in Bobby. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. As I said this took place over 2 years ago so I'm all healed and over it and stuff.

Sunny said...

I was going to tell how brave you're, but had to admit that it was just unbelievably crazy!

Glad to know you're not going to do that again and very happy you are safe and sound now.


Nej said...


(I don't know what else to say but...)


Vicky said...

Man, Jace. Even though I already knew this story, I got queasy all over again reading it! I've had a lot of nasty surgeries, but never without a mask over my face and someone saying, "Take a deep breath." No wonder you had nightmares! Dude, P-a-y-P-a-l!!!

April said...

Man. I am so glad the flashbacks stopped. I have worked in hospitals for years and I did wound care (not a pretty thing to watch or do) but I couldn't have watched that. Not with you awake and feeling it. You are either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid. J/K But yes, you are the toughest SOB I know.

Paula aka. Zani said...

Wow.. I am in tears just reading this. I cannot even imagine how awful it must have been. I am so glad you are okay now. *hugs*

yourpalallen said...

Wow. I'm an anesthesia provider,CRNA, and I'm floored that you went through this and chose to do so, kinda. The surgeon wants to cut and turn some wrenches to be done. They don't want to worry about administering anesthesia nor deal with vital signs. But your surgeon could have ordered a sedative and narcotic for you. An operating room nurse could do the conscious sedation such as giving midazolam aka versed similar to valium with a narcotic like morphine or fentanyl. The combination attenuates pain putting you in a state of "I don't care". The versed also causes antegrade amnesia so you would not remember any or very little events that happen after receiving the drug. I cannot believe you didn't get these at the very minimum. Regardless of you choosing not to have anesthesia personnel present. Wow!
Also, the anesthesia bill is usually well less than 10% of the total bill. Way cheaper than the absurd facility fee and doctor's fee. And did the anesthesia dept have a chance to give a reduced fee?
I don't think I will forget about you. Sorry you had to go through that ordeal. No one should.