Sunday, May 01, 2011

55 Hours Later 


See more photos at the Boston Globe"

On a wet Friday morning, while two billion people watched two privileged fops marry at Westminster Abbey, I was getting my blood pressure taken (125/75 - a little on the high side for me), being weighed, measured, poked and occasionally prodded. Then, to cheers of millions, I laid down and don't even remember being asked to count backward.

Usually, they give you some scented oxygen (horrible synthetic bubblegum smell) to bring you down, even you out a bit. Then the anesthetist stabs you in the hand which starts a flood of cold hard pain up your arm. By the time that sensation gets to your shoulder, you're down and out. This time, there was no oxygen. The intravenous in my hand was a miss ("you've got small veins here." Exactly what veins are they looking? I can see plenty.) so he put it in my wrist instead. I heard someone say, "You should start to feel something." I remember feeling the swoon and thinking "here it comes" as I watched the ceiling rotate counter-clockwise above me. It's in the strange flutter of eye blinks when you go from the operating room to the recovery area. Usually I'm awakened by staff telling me to breath, then asking about my pain. Again this time it was a little different. I awoke to a group of people talking and immediately moving the stretcher out into the hallway, to an elevator then to another recovery room.

It was weirdly quiet in the hospital. There seemed to be fewer nurses and fewer patients. The nurses chattered on about the Royal Wedding which was being shown on every screen (and there are a lot of TV screens in a modern hospital) while most of the other patients (who were markedly older) were having trouble knowing what day it was. It just seemed uneventful all in all. As soon as I got home, I crashed on the couch. I woke up at one point, not knowing who or where I was and then allowed myself to not worry about it and closed my eyes again. At some point, I watched some television and drifted again back to sleep. By the time I went to bed I'd was all slept out.

That's pretty much how these procedures go. You get home feeling hungover which kind of catches you off guard the next day too the way jetlag does. Then you wait. Usually I feel the impact within 48 hours, but these last two treatments haven't had much impact, thus not much pain, thus, not much of a difference. It's strange that they say you need eight weeks to see the effect of this treatment but I can usually tell within 48 hours and at hour 55, my guess is this one won't do much. I guess I'll know for sure eight weeks from now.

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