Sunday, November 1, 2009

Geez! She coulda told me.

With the medical school operating at UNBC the hospital is teeming with students training in every facet. My name was called at 6:30 AM on Thursday for my pre-op prep. I stood amongst a small group of girls who no more wanted to be weighing sick people at this ungodly hour than flying to the moon.

The nurse asked, "Who's with Dr Galliford's patient?"

No response.

She points to a particularly unresponsive looking girl and point blank asks her, "Are you with Galliford's patient?"

She snaps into reality and says , "I don't know the doctor's name, just the patient." She glances at my arm band and verifies, "Yes, she's with me."

I kiss Albert goodbye and they lead me beyond the curtain to the recliners and snugly warm blankets where normally you sit in a quiet vegetative state and wait for an interview with your surgeon and anaesthetist. My wait was anything but quiet and vegetative. Elaine stopped by to say she'd be there. Joyce came in all bubbly to inform me she was my OR nurse. And my student nurse sat on the chair facing my recliner to tend to my every need - which was nothing at this point. She just there on the edge of her chair staring into my face and feeling like she needed to keep the conversation going to eliminate any awkward silence.

What she doesn't know about me is that I do not find silence awkward. It was too early for conversations with anyone much less an uncomfortable stranger who looked like a typical young student who was not getting enough sleep. But she kept the conversation rolling, telling me of her culture shock moving to Prince George from Vancouver and experiencing winter for the first time. (Last winter was a doozy, even for us.)

I wanted nothing more than to close my eyes and crawl into my own little bubble. But it was too awkward to go there with her sitting in my face like that.

The anaesthetist walks up behind her and says, "You are sitting in my chair." She continues to sit and I tap her leg and say, "You are sitting in his chair."

My mind is filled with disgust at the lack of respect young people have these days when she says, "Oh. Did you want to sit here?" She got up and moved to the side.

Finally it was time to go to the OR. I was climbing up onto the freezing little narrow table. Joyce was counting scalpels and saws and other such scary instruments. Dr Richardson, the anaesthetist, was arranging drugs and poking me with needles.

I hear my student nurse introduce herself to Joyce, "Hi, I'm Simone, a second year nursing student. I'm deaf so you'll have to speak directly to my face."

If I would have died there on that table, my final word before drifting off into heaven would have been, "Geez!"

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