Thursday, February 9, 2012

Designated driver

On Monday, my friend A had her gallbladder removed. Anyone who has had to go through the process to figure out that they needed this surgery in the first place knows it isn't fun. It's usually months, if not years, of discomfort and pain. It's often enough to be miserable, but not often enough to go to the doctor and get any kind of concrete answer. I had this very same particular surgery done two decades ago when I was young. Mamoo, my older sister and most, if not all, of my aunts have had this same surgery. My family is either genetically predisposed to this particular problem, or we all eat the same crap that can contribute towards causing it. I'm betting it's a 40/60 split with the preference towards our diet. But I digress.

I took A in to the hospital Monday morning around 10:45. I'm not sure when her surgery was technically scheduled for but we needed to be there by 11:00 so I'm guessing around noonish. They didn't take her back until almost 1:00 at which point I went out and got myself a cheeseburger and a coffee at a nearby strip mall. Good thing I did since it was a long while before I ate again.

A's doctor came out to the waiting room to update me after he finished the surgery. This was around 2:15, about the amount of time I would have expected. He told me she had done well and was in the recovery room. Evidently she found the recovery room to her liking because she spent a good amount of time there. Usually time in recovery is 30-45 minutes before they ship you back to outpatient. Three hours and fifteen minutes later I was finally called back to outpatient. To their credit, the liaison nurse from recovery did come out frequently to give me updates. Most of them were along the lines of "Well, she's still in a lot of pain, it's going to be another 45 minutes to an hour." The final update was "She's back there discussing the superbowl commercials with the nurses." So I knew we were close at that point.

Finally at 5:25 they called me back to the outpatient area, which by the way, is exactly the same place as the inpatient area. So anyone coming in for surgery can get an inkling of the fun they'll be having after they wake up from their surgery. Probably not good planning if you think about it. But anyway, I head back and there's A, laying in her bed and not looking very happy. She was still in a lot of pain.

As a total side note here, everyone has a different pain threshold. Some people, myself included, have an exceedingly high pain tolerance. This is great for the fact that those people tend to have a really quick recovery time and be up and going about their business soon after surgery. Some people have an exceedingly low pain tolerance. In the case of A, per the nurse, she has "zero pain tolerance." So, they had to give her more medication than someone with a higher threshold would require. I tell you all of this just so you can have a better understanding of the rest of this story.

By the time I showed up in outpatient, A had had several doses of whatever they give you in the recovery room, but she's still exceedingly uncomfortable. About thirty minutes after I get into the room they give her two Percocets. She got a little sleepy so I got out my book to pass the time. After about fifteen minutes of quiet we get the following (out of the blue mind you)

A: You're my buddy!
M: (laughing) yeah, I know.
A: Seriously, you're so nice.
M: Yup. How about you rest for a little while?
A: Okay. But you're still my buddy.

We have quiet for a few minutes.

A: Did I tell you how much I appreciate you doing this?
M: Yep, you did. It's cool.
A: I'm so sappy right now.
M: Yes, you kinda are.
A: Buddy!

Shaking my head, going back to my book we get a few more minutes of quiet.

A: Hey, I should call my mom!
M: Okay.

I hand her her cell phone and she slurs through a conversation with her mom (Hi Mellon!) Eventually phone call gets disconnected and A passes back out.

Repeat the above interactions several times over before we get the final go ahead to leave the hospital. This is around 6:45. I go pull my vehicle to the patient loading zone and the nurse and I help pour A into it. As we pull away, I have her prescription in hand and have dug out her insurance card and debit card to get it filled. On the way to the pharmacy the conversation continues in it's previously established vein...

A: I love you man.
M: (Laughing) drugs kicking in nicely huh?
A: Yep. Good stuff.
M: I'm glad you're not in as much pain.
A: Nope.
A: I'm still really sappy though, and I'm just gonnna tell you that you're my buddy.
M: Okay, that's cool.
A: (Breaking into song) Oh! And then I shot my foot off!
M: What the hell?
A: It's a song! Jeff Dunham.
M: Oookkkaaayyy.
A: Yup! Jingle bombs! Jingle bombs! Jingle all the way!
M: Oh dear god, this isn't good.
A: No! It's really cool! It's Akmed the Terrorist and he blows himself up!
M: Hahaha! Dude, I feel like the designated driver taking my drunk friend home from the bar.
A: (back to singing) I got through checkpoint A, but not through checkpoint B, where are all the virgins that were promised me?
M: (shaking head) We're at the pharmacy, settle down for a few.
A: Okay! (to the car in front of me) Hey! Move it! Blocking up the line. (to me) you should go to the next line over.
M: They one that's blocked off?
A: Oh yeah, I didn't see that.
M: Also, there's no speaker or anything over there. I'd have to yell over to the first line and get out of my car to bring them the prescription.
A: Oh wow, I didn't even notice that there's nothing there.
M: That's not really surprising.
A: Oh! Jingle bombs! Jingle bombs! Your soldiers shot me dead!
M: Good lord.

And so it continued until I had dropped off the prescription at the window. We had a twenty minute wait so I left her in the car long enough to go inside and get her some apple juice. She tried to convince me to take her debit card for the transaction but I could just see how well that would go. Let's see, I've just dropped off a prescription for a narcotic at the window and now I'm inside using a debit card that's not my own, and the owner of the above mentioned debit card is singing loudly in the parking lot about terrorists. Yeah, I'm not going to jail for a bottle of apple juice, I'll buy this round thanks.

I finally got A home and on the couch where she passed out for several hours before I left. She's doing better today, although still in a lot of pain. She has stopped singing songs about terrorists and calling me her buddy. And as promised, I did not videotape her performance. Although I should have. I could have gotten some really good mileage from it.


Anonymous said...

You need to write a book,so much material right at hand or in this case several miles away..