4.14.2008

Back from the B Squad

If a hospital were a football team, the surgery clinic would have the first string of nurses and the radiology gets the third string leftovers. Or at least that's what my recent experiences have shown me...

This afternoon, I get to radiology stroke of high noon, right on time. I check in, get my Applebee's pager, and take a seat.

20 minutes later, I overhear a different receptionist repeat my last name several times. Putting on my best fed-up New Englander face, I bypass the four people waiting in line and go right up to the counter, saying "I'm 'McSo-And-So.' Is there a problem?"

Well, apparently not only did the other receptionist not check me in (despite all her apparently superfluous key-punching), but they were waiting on some part that was essential for my stick-a-needle-in-my-buttcheek-and-suck-out-some-fluid procedure. She gave me two $5 vouchers for my trouble, good at both the gift shop *and* the hospital cafeteria. Sweet--I heard that they were written up in the 'o8 Zagat's.

Another 20-odd minutes later, I again visit the admissions area, despite having been within if-looks-could-kill sight of the receptionist (the good one, not the boneheaded drop-the-ball one) the whole time. She gave good contrite face, saying that she had called back a few minutes prior and said they were still waiting on this mysterious part, without which my procedure was dead in the water fluid presumably still building in my lower area.

Several squirming minutes later, my pager was cold BLOWIN' up, yo. Dropping it in its designated basket, I waited to be called upon by a nurse to take me back to the prep area. Eventually, said nurse approached and mouthed something at me, but I couldn't make it out as she was still several feet away. As she walked towards me, she stared and STARED at me, as if I was supposed to know who she was. "Samantha? Great, I'm Sugarmouth and I'll be taking care of you today..."

Continuing this protocol staring contest, she was nearly standing on my toes when she said my name. Or rather, she pronounced the first two syllables of the relatively common [Scots?-]Irish surname, and then, from the sounds of it, swallowed her tongue.

Ok, when faced with a name you have zero confidence in pronouncing correctly--say, like Samir Nagheenanajar, wouldn't you just skip formalities and query the person with their first name?

Not in this case. She was appropriately sorry about the botched pronunciation, and I'm sure I would have been a lot more forgiving (not being the first time I'd ever heard my married name butchered like a goat) had I not just waited nearly an hour on a sore bum and empty stomach, snarking "Yeah, probably best just to go with the first name..."

We get back to the holding area, where I'm supposed to "take everything off" and still get to keep my bra and socks on (?). As she's telling me this, she is STARING at my chest. Now I know they're fabulous, but more realistically, she was just checking out my awesome Cancer Can Kiss My Ass shirt. Still, the staring was so prolonged, I started to wonder how long it took to read FIVE WORDS.

Next, Nurse Bug-Eyes starts asking me about my procedure:

"You're having an abscess drained today?"
"Well, I'm having fluid removed, but I've been told it isn't infected, so it shouldn't be an abscess..."
"How are they going to do it?"
:::blink:::
"Um, you tell me?*"
Seriously, I'm not the medical professional here, people (and neither was she, apparently). Just show me where I can lock up my shit, put in my IV, and pump me full of sweet, sweet anti-anxiety meds so I can mellow a bit while you plumb my depths for that which doesn't belong.

Next, the IV (anesthesia?) nurse comes in and manages to spread all manner of shit all over me and my gurney, but gets my IV started without spilling any blood, so kudos to her. The topic of my upcoming port placement came up, and I know I'm an ├╝bersensitive word-choice bitch since getting ye olde cancer, but she went on to say that getting a port will "be nice for [me]." More convenient, yes, nice? I don't know about that.

Next, someone doctor-y comes in, gives me the rundown, and then says "You'll probably be going home with a drain?" with the inflection going up at the end, to which I responded "Is that a question or a statement?" Jebus.

After all this, three nurses talking over each other at me at once, glaring at a constantly beeping heart/O2 monitor, and taking my history for the SEVENTEEN THOUSANDTH TIME FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T YOU HAVE A COMPUTER AROUND HERE?!, they wheeled me back, gave me the requisite drugs, and apparently liberated that pesky fluid from my pelvis.

The good news it that the fluid was clear (ie not likely infected) and the volume seemed to have gone down since Friday, so this thing might have cleared itself up on its own but I wasn't up for waiting.

ETA because I am a flighty dumbass: I didn't have to go home with a drain in my bum. Huzzah!

Speaking of not waiting, after wolfing down a mediocre cheese quesadilla and slice of chocolate cake (OMG the hospital I delivered Violet at had a much better menu), I totally booked out of there, nearly leaving with my IV still in**.

Well, since then I've gone for a long walk around the neighborhood with the babe, dog, and Grandma, and played with Little Miss to exhaustion. I'm not feeling 100% in the affected area, but I'm hoping that tomorrow will be lots better in that department.

* Yes, I did actually say that.

** Oops--I did manage to leave with not one but two EKG leads attached this time.

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