Kaiser Hilton
5:30 a.m.
(Yes, a.m. as in “almost morning)
We were so early that the registration clerk, who gets in at 5:00 a.m. every morning, wanted to know why we were there so early
We were the first to check-in so it was nice and quiet in the waiting room
Since I had just gone through this process four months earlier
I was in no hurry to go into pre-op
And apparently neither was the staff of the Kaiser Hilton as they did not come for me until 6:00 a.m.
I had been told I was first for surgery
They took two people in before me
This was one time I was not irritated by people cutting the line
(No pun intended)
I was sleepy
But I felt this was a good thing because sleepy plus the Kaiser cocktail would mean a most wonderful nap in the OR
For those you not in the know, OR=Operating Room
I’m a regular visitor, you know
Anyway, they roll me in to pre-op where my pre-op nurse awaits me
My last visit, the pre-op nurse was young and professional
Which put me right at ease
This time the pre-op nurse is older and seemed a little frazzled
She kept asking if I needed help disrobing
You have to take off every stitch of clothing
YES, everything!
You take off all your clothes and they hand you one of those gowns
aka known as dignity inhibitors
You know, that bed sheet someone has stitched together at the shoulders and up the sides, leaving room for arm holes, but somehow they forgot to stitch up the back leaving dangling strips of clothe to tie up in the back which they never do so that all your dignity hangs out for total strangers to see
Yes, I know they are professionals
But they are professional strangers
And, yes, they have seen it all
But not my All!
Anyway, I get into the dignity inhibitor
Which is not made of cloth
It is made of paper
My pre-op attendant says, “Oh, it is big.”
It was big, actually, huge.
How much does my chart say I weigh, anyhow?
I expect them to bring me a smaller size
They don’t
More dignity exposed!
Ah, Donna, this is not Macy’s or Nordstrom’s
(Like I shop at Nordstrom’s)
The pre-op nurse hovers, extending offers of help, again
And she makes little remarks about the comments of another pre-op nurse helping a patient in the draped section next to us
I don’t think she cares much for her colleague
Oh, this does not bode well for the atmosphere
“I have to put your IV in.”
She takes my left hand and begins to tap on the back of my hand.
“Oh, little vein, where are you?”
Tap. Tap. Tap. Taptaptap.
“Oh, where, oh where, has that little vein gone? Oh where, oh where can it be?”
Rub. Rub. Rub. Taptaptaptap
“I think you might be dehydrated!”
I try to remember how much water did I drink yesterday.
“This is not a good sign. I have to ask somebody to help.”
Wait. What?
What’s not a good sign? Do not be speaking bad signs just before I go into surgery.
I don’t speak in tongues, but I think I had my first moment of glossolalia right then and there
She goes over to her colleague in the draped section next to us
Yeah, that one
She returns a few moments later
“Everybody’s busy.”
Oh, this is not a good sign
She takes my right hand
“There is good one, but it is a moving vein.”
I peer intently at this moving vein, doing my best to mentally will it not to move
Thank goodness, it stopped moving long enough to take on an IV
The IV now safely implanted, My pre-op companion leaves me
Now that is a good sign



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