2 hours into a Percocet is comfy time. Comfy time = quickly type a post while I’m not distracted.
I had a 4:15 PM consult with an orthopedist on Tuesday. I got in, handed them the CD from the ER, and waited. A few minutes later, they called me over.
“We can’t read the CD.”
Turns out they couldn’t read DICOM files and couldn’t install the included software on the CD. I had assumed there was some standard for file formats and whatnot between medical centers, but clearly not. They talked of taking new X-Rays. Since I didn’t want to get zapped unnecessarily, I offered to show them on my laptop.
They agreed, so Aaron went to get my laptop from the car. The problem was, nothing on my laptop could read DICOM files either. I had converted one of the files on my home desktop. I figured I could Remote Desktop to that machine to get at the images, but I couldn’t get on the overloaded Kaiser public Wi-Fi and my T-Mobile signal is crap inside the building.
Aaron’s phone to the rescue! I joined his hotspot, RDPed to my home machine, converted both X-Rays to PNGs, e-mailed them to myself, downloaded them onto the laptop, and went back to the exam room.
“How’d you do it?” asked the doctor.
“Well, I connected to my home computer over -”
“No! I mean your injury. How did you hurt yourself?”
Oh. Right. Anyway, he was a non-surgical guy and pretty much said it would heal into a lump just fine but I had the option of surgery if I wanted it. I wanted it, so he returned with a surgical guy and handed me off. The surgical guy looked at the X-Rays, spent a few minutes explaining the pros and cons of surgery, and when I confirmed that’s what I wanted, said, “Okay, we can do it around 1 PM tomorrow.”
He gave me some basic instructions on how to prepare, and that evening I got a call with more detailed instructions. No food after midnight, no water after 10 AM Wednesday. I spent a bunch of time trying to decide on my last meal before surgery and ended up eating… leftovers.
Arrived for surgery at 11:20 AM Wednesday. We breezed through registration and since the waiting area was full of worried family members they walked me straight in to prep. Took my vitals, asked me a bunch of questions, walked me over to a different bay to change into a gown, asked me the same bunch of questions, asked me the same bunch of questions again. After I changed, they wheeled me to yet another bay, where they put an IV in. They lady doing the IV said, “Don’t look! I don’t want you to scream.” So I promised not to scream. I’d never seen it done before so I was totally fascinated. I had no idea the needle didn’t remain in the vein. And after they finished and took it out, not even a bruise!
Since my procedure was an add-on to the day’s schedule, I had another hour and a half or so to wait before it was my turn. They put blanket on me, a holy plastic sheet on me, hooked that up to a big tube, and turned on… warm air! A warm air blanket. Brilliant!
As surgery time neared, the doctor came out, verified the injury site, and made a little mark on it. Then came the anesthesiologist. He explained what he was going to do, then stayed with me and chatted about genomics and healthcare until it was time to wheel me into the operating room.
Once in the OR, the team got straight to work. They had me scoot onto the operating table, got me centered on it, stuck a bunch of electrodes all over me, put a blood pressure cuff on my arm, delivered the first of three courses of whatever the anesthesiologist planned to put in my IV, put an oxygen mask over my face. I don’t even remember being told to count, but the next thing I knew, someone was saying something to me about waking up.
I spent about an hour drifting in and out of sleep while Aaron arrived, picked up my prescription, and tried to get someone to let him into the now-closed surgery ward. They helped me get ready to leave while he went to get the car. Oh look, I’d been wearing pressurized wraps over my lower legs. And what’s this on my shoulder? An ice pack! I had no idea that was there.
We picked up a Jamba Juice on the way home and I spent the rest of the evening continuing to drift in and out of sleep. I wasn’t in any discomfort since the surgery site was totally numb. My voice sounded funny, though. Oh right, I was intubated during the procedure.
The numbing medicine wore off sometime in the middle of the night, but fortunately my friends had warned me to take my painkiller before that happened. Woke up the next morning feeling about the same as I had on previous mornings. Continued my regimen of painkiller and ice packs and did just fine. I’d expected excruciating pain. I feel really lucky it didn’t happen that way.
So far, so good. So far, so lucky.
Here are a couple shots of my refurbished clavicle. You can thank Lucinda for the terminology.