A medical ordeal…

Today I had a pre-op assessment prior to surgery which is in less than 3 weeks. I wasn’t surprised they wanted to see me beforehand, I’m not as straightforward as most women my age, & as I already had an appointment to have blood work done that my rheumatologist had requested it made sense to get everything done on the same day, so I did that this morning.

So I rock up at the pre-admission clinic like I was told to do when they called to book the appointment. Of course it wasn’t that simple because I hadn’t been to registration first because I’m not a mind reader. So I then go there & take ticket number 32, the number on the electronic board was 23 – great! I’d been in the building for 10 minutes & already I could tell that 1 hour worth of parking wasn’t going to be enough. As it happens I only sat there for about 15-20 minutes before my number came up. The registration process was quick as they were expecting me & had all me paperwork there. I now had a little bit more confidence in the system…

Back at the clinic I am greeted by a nurse who takes the paperwork, & weighs me (without it, thank god, it was at least one tree), & I sit down for another nurse to take over (one nurse is obviously not capable of doing the full assessment). No sooner does the new nurse start speaking when the anaesthetist walks in, so the nurse stops & allows him to take over, but she listens in so she doesn’t ask the same questions. He apparently knows my husband from a few years back so makes some small talk in between medical questions. The main reason I am being questioned is because of the medications I take – especially my biologic (the injection). One of the other drugs I am on is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, but a slightly different drug to the Ibruprofen or Diclofenac that many of you might know. Normally it is advised to stop taking these drugs a few days before surgery, but I take Celebrex which is a little different & therefore I do not need to stop taking it. I am relieved about this because I will have already been without my biologic for over 5 weeks by the time surgery comes around & may be starting to feel the effects. All is well with him, he’ll see me on the day & the nurse takes over for a bit, then I think I’m done…

Not likely, the nurse then sends me off to see an internal medicine physician & I question why. Apparently it’s because of my medications that I have just discussed with the doctor that is actually going to put me to sleep, shouldn’t it be all sorted? Nope, apparently not, I must see this other guy. So off I go. I extended my parking while I wait, thinking half an hour should do it. I am called in & the guy is very polite & friendly, & very concerned I am on a biologic & I’m about to have surgery. I explain the plan I have with my rheumatologist & he is confused there is no record of this plan in my chart. No there won’t be, I see him regularly, & know him well. We discussed it very recently at my last consultation; it’s all taken care of – he’s kinda the guy in charge of me. This didn’t seem to sit well with him; a doctor I’ve never clapped eyes on in my life & probably never will again wanted to devise is own plan. I eventually manage to convince him that it was under control. Then we moved onto the Celebrex that he wanted me to stop about 6 days prior to surgery… errr no, the anaesthetist said I could still take it. For the love of all that’s medical people – make your bloody minds up!!

To cut a long consultation short, he was not happy about me taking it & was going to discuss it with his colleague – that would be the doctor who is actually going to be the one managing me on the day & frankly saw no reason to stop it, & therefore the one I’m going to listen to thank you very much. Not only that, no biologic & no Celebrex for almost a week will not give me a very good start to making a recovery. I eventually escape & return to the clinic thinking I must be done now…

NOPE! I now needed bloodwork & an ECG. They had to be kidding me; I had only just had bloodwork that morning, taken from the only place that anyone seems to be able to get any out of me. Apparently they needed more. So I have a right old rant to the nurse explaining that nobody told me any of this on the phone when I booked the appointment. I had my kids to pick up from camp, which is all the way back across town. Had I known that I was going to be 2 hours I would have requested an earlier appointment. She said I should have been told all of this when the appointment was made. Great! Thanks!

So, off I go to ECG, while adding MORE time onto my parking, & texting hubby to see if he can go for the boys. I get to ECG, wait in ANOTHER waiting area, eventually go in, & lay on the bed. The technician lays a sheet over me & asks if I can up my dress – I was wearing an all in one shorts & top romper style thing. I explain it needs to come down for him to gain access to my chest, which I was more than happy to do but he seemed embarrassed about. In the end I just got on with it – I mean really – & he got the job done not knowing where to look. Honestly you would think I was lying there completely naked (yes I had a bra on there was nothing indecent about me at all). Mind you, he was only about 16 so maybe that’s why! I then go back to the clinic AGAIN, swap the ECG for the bloodwork forms & head to the lab where the phlebotomist attacks the opposite arm from the earlier bloodwork (so both arms now very sore) & pokes around for a few minutes before finally getting what she needed… Hallelujah!! I was free to go… & face sitting in traffic for another 2 hours just to get home.

I hope the surgery is going to be a bit more organized!

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