Aug. 18, 2019

Pre-op Testing

I had to go to the hospital for some pre-op work. Suffice to say, I was not a happy camper. I had the option of going to another hospital, but my surgeon, Dr. Garner, kept going on about their new OR Suite they had just opened.

“But, I don’t care for that hospital,” I insisted. “They’re okay for minor things, but the staff scares me and I’m afraid with a big surgery like this.”

“They have new staff and, like I said, they have that new OR Suite. It’s beautiful and filled with up-to-date equipment. It’s awesome,” Dr. Garner said just as insistently.

My past experience with this hospital has been far less than desired. The staff was most unbearable and then they took so long to get to you, run the test, and release you. This coming from a 30-plus-year nurse, I can tell you, it was downright unprofessional on so many levels, that I felt it was also dangerous. That was several years ago.

Since then, many professionals and colleagues have assured me that is not the case anymore. One person pointed out to me, “It could be that whenever you go in there, you already expect a negative impact so you completely miss the positive changes that have occurred over the last few years.”

I considered that deeply when I finally agreed and told Dr. Garner I would allow the procedure to be done at the hospital with the new awesome OR Suite. I had a 9:30 appointment for my preoperative tests. I had to have blood work drawn, an EKG, and an X-ray before I could have the surgery.

I warned my husband, “We’re likely to be there all day, at least until afternoon. You know how they are with dragging their feet to do their jobs. We might need to pack a lunch, you know.”

We went in and I registered for both the test and the surgery. The first thing I noticed was the person who registered me. In the past, whenever a patient came in, the person registering people would often hold out her hand limply for the paperwork and then roll her eyes at you. Sometimes she’d switch it up and do the eye roll first.

When I came in for my heart attack years ago, she (a different woman) was busy talking to someone who had stopped by her cubicle. She actually gave me a dirty look when I interrupted her. She asked me, in a not so nice way, what I wanted when I told her, “I’m having a heart attack.” Then she moved.

The lady today was very polite, considerate, and quite pleasant: very different! When she finished, she excused us to the waiting room where “Wanda,” would come to collect me for my tests. We sat down in a rocking chair figuring we’d be there for a spell.

Nope! Wanda was right on the money. She came out almost right away and got me, took me back, and then did my pre-test interview for both tests and surgery. She was exceptionally professional. She let me sit in the fat people chair, as I call it (it’s about a chair and a half in size). I liked Wanda.

A few minutes later, Wanda took me to Crystal who had a huge chair for me to sit in. It sat up high and had a footstool. I called it my throne and I was the queen. Crystal drew my blood. I was kind of snickering to myself when she was going to poke me. She had no idea what she was in for. Most people have to perform minor surgery on me to get a blood sample. Good luck, Crystal.

“Which arm would you like for me to draw from?” Crystal asked.

“I have two, pick one,” I answered.

She got blood on first try, minus the usual sting or pinch one feels with the insertion of the needle. She was good! Then she put the EKG leads on me, explaining as she went along where they went and how she knew where to put them. Also, very professional.

While running the test, she was telling me (three times) what she was looking for. Each time I started moving and jiggling around to watch the spike on the monitor (which is not what she was looking for). I did that a few times. She patiently waited for me to stop goofing off before printing the read. I liked Crystal.

Crystal took me farther back to another young lady, whose name escapes me. I was too busy checking out the new part of the hospital as I waddled down the hall. She led me to a changing room, explained what she needed, and where she would meet me.

I disrobed and told my husband, “I’ll be back in about 15-20 minutes. Just have a seat.”

I walked in, the X-ray lady took two pictures, and said, “I’ll walk you back out when you redress. I’ll wait right here for you.”

I was in there less than two minutes! I felt like telling her, “Wait, you didn’t get my good side. Let’s do retakes!” Gees, let me at least strike a pose...something!

When I left, I had been in there for approximately an hour. It was not an all-day affair as I had anticipated. I had three tests done and met four extraordinary women, who truly filled me with sense of confidence at the new, improved, hospital.

Still, I will be sure to say a prayer before the procedure and ask the Lord to watch over me and to guide the surgeon’s hands. I’m afraid Dr. Garner might be too busy doing the happy dance in the new OR Suite.