Friday, June 7, 2013

Wrong Monday - Wrong Hospital - 
Wrong Surgery
Friday June 7, 2013

OK.  Maybe it wasn't  exactly wrong, but it wasn't, the time, the place, or the June surgery that I had been planning for, over the last several months.  Thankfully, my Cochlear Implant surgery is still on schedule for Monday, June 10, in Houston at Memorial Hermann Hospital - Medical Center.  But, totally unplanned, I found myself having elbow surgery on Monday, June 3, at Valley Regional Hospital in my hometown of Brownsville.

My previous blog explained how I ended up with an extra surgery in June.  In that blog I shared my experiences up through the night before my elbow surgery.  I went to sleep about midnight and slept lightly until about 2:00 a,m,  By lightly, I mean that even deaf, I believe I was aware of every time a hospital employee entered my room, which was often. 

About 2:30 I gave up on sleep and asked the nurse to hand me my laptop so I could work on my blog.  She cheerfully did so and even plugged it in for me and handed me the mouse.  Right after she closed the door I thought, "Oops! I forgot to ask her to turn on the light!"  Up until that time, someone would pop in every 10 - 15 minutes.  This time, I was left alone for a good night's sleep, which was totally escaping me!  I was not to get up without assistance (with good reason), so there I sat in the dark, with my laptop in bed with me, but without enough light for typing.  Typing one handed is hard enough with the lights on and there was no way I could manage in the dark.  So instead of catching up on my blog, I caught up on reading emails and Facebook postings. About 5:00 the nurse was in my room and turned on the lights for me.  I got a little writing done, but by then I was getting tired.

The previous week we had made arrangements to take my car in to have a rust spot on the roof repaired and the roof painted, so Ron took it in early Monday morning, then had a friend pick him up and take him to get a car and come to the hospital.  We were told that my surgery would be in the afternoon due to an already full surgery schedule. Our friend Shirley who is a volunteer at the hospital told us she had seen the surgery schedule, and I was listed on the schedule for 3:00.  Around 10:30 I asked Ron to go to Staples and buy a replacement mouse for my laptop since my old one had died.   While he was gone and I was continuing work on my blog, an aide arrived at 11:00 and said, "Are you ready?"  "For what?" I asked.  "Your surgery, of course."  I explained that we thought 3:00 but it seems all surgeries for the day had gone quickly with no problems and they were ready for me.  So I was whisked from my room without my husband and had to leave things out that I had not intended (i.e. laptop, Kindle, camera, etc.). 

In pre-op I asked the nurse to call my friend Shirley at the front desk to let her know what was going on, but Shirley was at lunch.  Someone said they would get a message to her.  The anesthesiologist came in to meet me and go over all the medical issues involved.  I liked this man instantly and he immediately put me at ease.  As I went over my list of drug allergies, I also mentioned shrimp, because although that isn't a drug, it can be a red flag where iodine is involved.  He of course instantly understood that and was sympathetic to my situation of living near the coast in South Texas and not being able to enjoy shrimp.  I told him it was OK, I was sure they would serve it at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.  He began to laugh and said, "Great big, fried ones!" and I knew he understood my reference to a special time after the Christians are all gathered in Heaven.  Ron was escorted in about this time and knew I was in good hands if my anesthesiologist and I were having a Theological discussion. 

It turned out Ron had arrived back in the room, gathered some of the valuables and went wandering looking for me.  A precious nurse friend, Gayla found Ron looking frustrated and got him into pre-op to see me before surgery.  Shortly after that, Craig Smith, our Music Minister at church arrived, followed by my mom.  About this time the hospital became aware of the fact that NO lab work had been done on me since I had arrived on Saturday, so they scurried around to do that while I reassured the anesthesiologist that although it had not been done, I had just had it all done in Houston the previous Monday for the surgery I was to have there soon. 

Craig led in prayer before he and Mom were ushered out.  Craig had found out that the anesthesiologist it a Baptist pastor in San Benito.  Maybe after I can hear, I will try to visit his church some Sunday.  Ron left and I was  wheeled into surgery.  The last thing I heard was, "Five seconds after we give you this..."  Next, they were waking me in Recovery Room and soon I was back in my Room 309.  I didn't mention that when I arrived I shared this double room, but the lady left while I napped Sunday and from then on I was alone.  (Another gift from God.)  Probably no one wanted to be in the room with "the lady who talks too loud".

Much of the afternoon was spent napping and relaxing.  The precious nurse friend Gayle dropped by for a visit.

Sweet daughter-in-law Barbara came by in the evening, bringing flowers and our two oldest grandsons, as they were heading to a Boy Scout Award Ceremony.  It was good to see them.

Not much more of interest happened while there.  I slept some that night and the doctor visited the next morning.  He talked about the surgery and where we go from here.  No lifting or pushing with that arm for two months!  We got a detailed print out of the doctor's description of the surgery (to give to the surgeon in Houston if he wants it).  The surgery was very involved since not only had I broken those two bones (one in the joint) but had done some dislocating.  I understand I will have a very long scar down the back of my arm from half way between the shoulder and the elbow, to halfway between the elbow and wrist.  No one likes to have scars, but as far as I am concerned, I just weigh the choices.  Do I want full use of that arm?  YES!  Is a scar involved?  YES!  OK.    I will see Dr. Olson, the surgeon again on June 18, at which time he will remove a lot of staples.  Shortly after that I will start Physical Therapy.  Side note:  God's timing was again good.  Dr. Olson was leaving on vacation the next day and would not have been available for a while.  I believe he was the best choice for my surgery.  God continues to prepare the way ahead of me.

We checked out about 11:30 Tuesday morning. As we were leaving, we ran into our friend Shirley on her way to visit me.


  1. You lead an eventful life, Linda! I'm popping in to say I'll be thinking of you next week.

    1. Ahhh, EVENTFUL is one way to put it. :) Thanks, Pat, for your words of wisdom and your encouragement the last few weeks. Have a great day! Enjoy the sounds.