Surgery, again! I have needed a few, starting very early in life. They have all been a special treat from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
Here I am, checking in for surgery, again! Back at the 6th Floor, the Outpatient Surgery Center at UCLA. I’ve been here before. No place I’d rather be, that is for sure. 👍
It’s customary to start the powerful hypnotic-sedative Versed through the IV before the patient is moved to the operating room. Surgery is scary. If they did not sedate you, you might get off the table and run, right? Best for everyone involved, to make the patient high as a kite and feeling no anxiety whatsoever.
However, I make the staff wheel me all the way to the operating theater with no drugs. Oh, I insist.
Why do I do refuse this humane protocol?
So I can position myself on the operating table properly. I must must must pile up blankets or towels to support my too-long neck and delicate spine while I am fully conscious because there is no surgical procedure that will hurt as much as my spine will after my body is shoved around on that hard operating table while I am completely limp and unconscious.
My body excels at protective microspamsing, and at sending pointless pain signals back to my brain. It is very aware that my flawed collagen is easily injured. Sound the alarm!!!! My body is so adept at letting me know I am getting hurt. Pain has been my guide. Life with my life-limiting disease. What’s not to love? It is my abusive partner that dictates everything I do. Blush.
It’s a long ride back there on the 6th Floor of UCLA to the operating room, and the panic sets in. It is torture. That operating room is a creepy place. Who are all these people? What are all these machines? I want to get out of here!!!!
But I have to keep myself calm, position my blankets, wait and make sure I am comfortable and my spine is supported. The surgery team has to wait, while I take a moment to see if I have done a good job. They can keep waiting.
This is the most important part of the surgery, in my opinion. Does the doctor have a full surgery schedule today? Does he want to get home to his family? All of that can wait, until I am comfortably nice and snuggly.
There must be no spine screaming later, because even a morphine drip won’t be enough for that pain. So I’ve experienced, before I knew better and insisted we do things my way.
This takes real focus and calm. You have to hold yourself together through the severest panic, while tuning into your body to take in how it feels, while simultaneously bossing doctors around. It is yet another way my disease has made me brave, mindful, selfish and thoroughly transcendent, at least by my sarcastic estimation. Thanks, flawed collagen.
Woke up just fine. No problems. Cheers, didn’t feel a thing!
Skipping that initial sedation and arriving fully conscious in the operating room will make a real man out of you, if Ehlers-Danlos hasn’t already.
But then I am sure it has.
Oh, and get me a bucket. I am Zofran intolerant. Unless I have been given Propofol only, I will throw up. A cocktail of Propofol with Versed and morphine or Demerol is, well, quickly rejected. Or rather, ejected.