Well having our plans thwarted for Saturday wasn’t so bad, we’d just shift gears to Sunday, or so I thought. Our driver was booked again and everything seemed clear until that same critical point of leaving the hospital. Today I would have to wait because the anaesthesiologist was scheduled to see me about my operation on Monday but no one could tell me what time. Yes they have to put me under for the bone marrow extraction and now they refer to the procedure as an “operation”! Doesn’t matter what they call it, the basic information hadn’t changed, just my plans!
We waited around until after lunch hoping he’d show up and I had the nurses phoning to confirm a time but that wasn’t happening. Two others from our floor were planning a trip to one of the Chinese temples at 2 pm and I told TK she should go. No point in both of us sitting around waiting and I wouldn’t be able to visit the temple or see anything worthwhile in a wheelchair anyway. So she took off and I ended up hanging out at the hospital all day, I mean all day! They returned from their excursion sometime between 6 and 7 pm and the doctor still hadn’t shown up. Since I was scheduled for my bone marrow “operation” the next day I don’t believe they would’ve released me anyway. TK said it was beautiful, one of the best maintained and interesting temples she’s been to. It was after 8 pm when one of the other doctors came to my room to apologize for the no show explaining that the anaesthesiologist is extremely busy and she would fill in as best she could but my “operation” was still on schedule. What she meant by filling in was having me read several documents outlining all the risks etc. and having me sign away my life so to speak. She went on to explain the anaesthesiologist would see me in the morning and explained that I was not to have any food or water past 4:30 am. TK had made me a very good spaghetti and shrimp dinner when she got home which I was very thankful for as it didn’t sound like I’d be able to eat again until at least 2 or 3 pm the next day!
Monday finally arrived and my “operation” was scheduled for 11 am. I had a visit from Dr. Jack who is my doctor as well as Dr. Mike who is the head doctor and their regular cohort of 6 or 7 other doctors. During these visits Dr. Mike and Dr. Jack converse back and forth about me with all of the others listening in. Dr. Mike then explains to me that he’s just describing the stem cell theory and how they think it is working with MS. I have this entire discussion on video; it would be interesting to have it translated. After the doctors left the anaesthesiologist finally showed but the only purpose of his visit was to have me sign and go over more paperwork this time about the risks of undergoing anaesthesia. The next thing I knew two nurses were in my room telling me they had to prep me for surgery. I was told to remove my clothes except for my boxer shorts and lie on my stomach. It’s not like I have a lot of hair on my back but the nurses had to shave me anyway. I wasn’t sure why it would take two nurses for this task until they got started. I knew that they would extract the bone marrow from the back side of my hip bone but their shaving territory was becoming quite wide spread. Not only were they shaving my back but now they were pulling my boxers down to expose the top half of my but cheeks, then they pulled my boxers up from the leg cuff to get access to the rest of my cheek! I might as well of just taken my shorts right off, these two nurses completely shaved the lower half of my back, my entire butt and the back side of my legs down to my knees! I wasn’t sure if this was required or if they were just having fun with me! Apparently they were just following standard procedure, the doctor never really knows where or how many punctures it will take to extract the requisite amount of marrow so they prepare for the unknown. “Now turn over” is what I heard next! I couldn’t believe it but they were going to complete the shave on the front side of me too! Oh well, definitely an odd situation but at least this was being done by two very cute nurses and of course captured on video by TK! When they had finished I was told to take a shower, the last one I’d be permitted for the next three days, put on a hospital garment with the open ended back and lie on my bed. Another nurse came in to start an IV and I just laid back until they came to take me away. I had no idea that this is what I had signed up for!
Within about another 20 minutes, my doctor and two other nurses had come back in to wheel me away. The operating room is on the 3rd floor, there is a designated elevator for the OR so it doesn’t stop on every floor going down and this is where I waved bye to TK and the camera. As we left the elevator on the 3rd floor I was pushed past a reception desk and waiting area full of people. I found this strange because they weren’t hospital staff and I felt like every eye in the room was fixated on me! We went through a set of doors and down a hall with 6 or 7 rooms to the door marked Operating Room 3, it was written in English and this was my spot. The lighting was very dim as it is in most of the hospital but there was a large surgical light above me that I’m sure would be very bright and there were plenty of medical machines and monitors, exactly what I would expect to see in any operating room. I heard conversation around the room that sounded sort of upbeat and jovial, one of the doctors leaned over to reassure me and I told him I was fine. They didn’t waste much time transferring me from my bed to the operating table, got me in position, placed an oxygen mask over my mouth and nose and I believe injected something into my IV. I felt a very powerful but dull pain in my wrist where the IV was inserted and that’s the last thing I remember.
I don’t really remember waking up; I was just awake and very groggy still lying on the operating table. I asked: are we done and the doctor looked down at me and said “all done!” Just as fast as they had me on the operating table they had me back in my bed and were wheeling me out. I was definitely groggy but remember being told that I was very good; I replied that I’m always a good patient as they rolled me down the hallway past another stretcher against the wall. Like I said, I was still groggy but I swear there was a body on that stretcher with the blanket pulled up over the face. I was very happy to be on my way back up to my room!
The elevator doors opened on the 20th floor and waiting for me was TK with the video camera, just as though I hadn’t left. Apparently I was only gone for about 40 minutes and was very surprised that TK finally caught both ends of a procedure on tape! In the end the operation went very smooth for me and of course I only required one extraction point, good thing I was so well shaved! I was taken back to my room where I slept for approximately 2 hours and things were back to normal other than the fact that I had to stay in bed for the next 24 hours. That brought me to around 11:00 this morning and even today was meant for rest and recovery, what a long and boring four days. It is now Tuesday evening and I haven’t had any treatments since last Friday morning yet I haven’t been allowed to do anything either! It sort of feels like I’ve been imprisoned and it’s not really going to end because I am having my fourth spinal treatment tomorrow! WHEW!! AM I EVEN SURE WHAT DAY IT IS???