Saturday, September 18, 2010

Things to do in the middle of the night in a hospital room when you can't sleep

I was glad I brought the iPod to the hospital with me, and the Droid too, because at least that way I had something to do when the lights were dimmed,  most everyone had gone home, and the drip bottle that swayed ominously overhead contained a cocktail of pain killers and suppressants so strong that Keith Richards uses it in his coffee in place of Skinny 'n' Sweet®. 

Surgery went well.  Peggy and I only waited about fourteen seconds before I was called by number (11073) to report to pre-op, where I was unceremoniously told to get nekkid and don a gown which was to be my sole raiment for the next day or so. A hospital volunteer handed me the gown and a bag to hold my clothes and shoes.  I felt like Jake Blues in reverse.  And before I could even slip into the elegant often-used gown, a nurse was trying to barge into the little room.  Sinai Hospital in Baltimore MD does not waste time.  I like that in a hospital. 

But, once I was properly clad, they brought Peggy back to wait with me, and along came the man hereafter known as the Greatest Neurosurgeon In The World - Dr Neal Naff, my doctor: and he should be yours too, if you have a spine/nerve problem.   Dr Naff is that rarest of professionals who is at once thoroughly skilled in his field and among the best at doing what he does - AND - talking to people in regular human terms.  How many times have you been in a doctor's office, only to have him or her waxing on about your ill-regulated hypothalamus or your deviated septum, and you're zoning, looking at the skeleton model on the credenza or the diplomas arrayed on the wall?

Dr Naff would sit with us, circling the oogie parts of my lumbar assembly on a MRI film with a red grease pencil, and then he showed me what was wrong and what he was going to do about it. 

And doggone if he didn't DO it!  Huzzah!

But I can't really tell you much about all that.  I recall an anesthesiologist wearing a Ravens scrub hat coming into the little room, and he expressed every confidence that he would be able to send my senses deep into the next county by the time the scalpels came out.  And he did! Literally, the last thing I recall was being wheeled down the hall in the gurney, and seeing the faces of the people scurrying to get out of the way, and being admonished to keep my hands inside the gurney, and saying "bye" to Peggy, and that was it, until I awoke hours later in the recovery room.

Dr Naff
And then came the part I already told you about, in which my late father helped get me a room for the night, and then all night in that room, as Peggy dozed on and off on a sofa, I, hooked up to IVs and leg-squeezers, listened to my iPod, texted those few souls whom I thought might up and about at 3 AM, and gave great thanks for health care and doctors such as the great Neal J. Naff, MD, and the rest of the staff at Sinai. 

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