Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"When I regained consciousness..."

We arrived at the emergency department of the Ottawa General Hospital and I was handed over by Rob and his partner to their capable team. His buddy who had been driving the rig, had made sure to hit only the potholes that he knew I would truly appreciate... In all seriousness, their professionalism and sense of humour inherent with such a trade, made the transit just about pleasant. After their initial assessment, Rob had started an IV drip and mercifully provided something for the pain.

Before we parted company, I threatened to mention him in the blog. He asked me for the title and I was only too happy to oblige him. So Rob, for what it's worth, Buddy... here's your fleeting moment of fame. Thank you for taking care of business and providing more than just a first response. I then became the new curiosity for the emerg ward.

A parade of largely nameless faces drifted in and out of focus, alternately poking, prodding, lifting and enquiring about my general health, state of mental acuity and what type of bike I had. I'm asked about any allergies that I might have pertaining to morphine. Field dressings were stripped off and wounds cleaned a little more thoroughly. A new IV drip was started... A young female intern was assigned to have a look at my wounded knee and it was decided that some sutures would be required to close the laceration it had sustained. I watch the procedure with a somewhat detached interest, feeling pretty 'floaty' by then... She excuses herself for her freezing technique, but I reassure her that she's doing just fine. My spouse re-emerges with her daughter and her hubby, much to my delight. So nice to see them. She is fascinated by all procedures medical. I'm thinking the staff members here should keep her well entertained.

I drift in and out and hear rumblings of a trip up to the ward... or was it for X-rays? At any rate, we move out. I'm brought to the sixth floor. I have no more concept of time. We drift along. I'm booked into 1601, a double room. My roomie is recovering from surgery on his right foot. I'm whisked away to x-rays... X-Rays is a long, laborious, painful and yet necessary series of moving from one table to the next, pose, shoot...repeat... After 4 shots, we're done and I'm afforded the chance to relax on the way back up to the ward. My shoulder is still seriously messed up. The entire left side of my body just doesn't feel right. Finally, back on the ward, I'm briefed on my situation. As far as timing goes, I could not have done any better.

The resident surgeon on call that day, just happens to be the hospital's bone specialist, Dr.Pollock. We meet and discuss my options. My surgery is serious, but like any pro he would rather think of this as a challenge. The shoulder is not only dislocated, it's detached... and fractured in 4 places. The O.R. is already booked and shortly, I'm on my way back down. There'll be no waiting for me...

I'm wheeled into the O.R., many more new faces there to greet me. There is classical jazz music playing low in the background. A feminine pair of eyes hover over me. Someone is informing me that after I'm under they will be intubating me... For some reason, I have this fleeting vision of a turkey baster... I smile... "Do whatever", I think "I won't be around to know". Hands hold up a surgical anaesthetic mask and this dreamy voice invites me to breathe normally... I know what is to follow. I breathe slowly and deeply as the room rapidly dims... Nightie-night...

After an actual elapsed time of seven hours, I slowly begin coming around in the recovery room. I have a soundtrack playing in my head and can hear some Improv comedian saying: "And when I regained consciousness...". There is no soundtrack of course and where I lay is very dimly-lit. I lie there, very still and slowly assess my situation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your accident. I was looking for you at work.
Is everything ok now?

Julie, a worried co-worker.