The day started fine and was without incident until we got to the hospital. The parking was horrendous and I ended up having to hoof it all the way from the parking deck at the other end of the hospital complex. By the time I got to the waiting room where my mom was she was freaking out thinking I'd gone to the wrong place and her cell phone isn't holding a charge anymore. She was sure I was lost.
After waiting a while a tiny little Asian woman came to get my mom and as I started to get up and go with her she said, "Let me just ask her a few questions and then she can come back." So I assumed she would ask a few questions and I'd see her again. Twenty minutes later I was informed by a very old volunteer guy in a red vest that at some point in the future they would call and let me come back. Apparently the little ninja nurse was holding my mother hostage back there and I was trying to decide if I should be obnoxious and stealth back there or just wait patiently. I'm better at waiting than being sneaky (what with my girth and all) so I figured I'd wait a little longer before I stormed the castle.
To my right was an older couple. The man was reading the newspaper and his wife was just sitting in the chair next to him looking around the room. Every now and again he'd remark on something in the newspaper and she'd make strange hostile responses. For example:
Him: There's a car show over at Petit Jean this weekend.
Her: I don't car about that. I don't have an old car, I don't even like old cars. I have no interest in old cars at all. Why would I want to go to something like that?
After a few of those outbursts I moved to another section of the large waiting room where I encountered Crazy Scissor Lady. (You can read the real-time phenomenon here and here.)
As I was reading and phone blogging Scissor Lady kept wandering around picking up magazines and trash cans. She had scissors in her hand and was slowly, carefully, deliberately cutting pictures out of magazines. I pretended to be very interested in what was on my phone so I could get surreptitious glances of what she was doing. A few minutes after I started watching her her head started nodding. I thought she was getting down to some imaginary music but it turned out she was falling asleep.
She was still poised to cut her papers and her head would bob slowly down toward the pointy end of the scissors until her eye was nearly on the sharp end of the scissors. I was concerned she was going to end up stabbing herself in the face. And then someone would slam through the pre-op doors next to her and she'd jerk upright and keep cutting. Watching the whole thing was very stressful and yet I couldn't help myself.
Finally someone called me and said I could go back. I wandered into the chasm of pre-op to find my mother in a tiny little cube with five or six cotton balls taped to her arms. She waved her arms toward me angrily. "Would you look at this?"
Apparently they had
We waited for a quite a while with various adventures ensuing that I don't feel energetic enough to enumerate. They involved cold wash cloths, vomit pans, a surprised nurse with a carrot, a doctor threatening to stab my mom in the neck to put her to sleep and one wardrobe malfunction. But let's gloss over those pedestrian tales and skip directly to Mr. Ryman and his penile implant because that's a WAY BETTER story.
You know all this hubbub about HIPAA? I can tell you it apparently doesn't really apply in a pre-op setting such as where we were.
Allow me to use Mr. Ryman as an example. According to my best guess he was lying on a gurney about six feet from my mother separated by little more than empty space and a flimsy, non-descript curtain. Once Mr. Ryman's doctor arrived on the scene they went into great detail about his upcoming procedure. I now understand exactly how a penile implant proceeds as well as a good working knowledge of all the parts (organic and non-organic) as well as the recovery times and when Mr. Ryman will report back to his doctor for instructions on how to "pump it up" and, presumably have some sort of test drive. I also can tell you Mr. Ryman's unfortunate condition was due to radioactive seeding of his man-parts for prostate cancer and also that his wife is REALLY HAPPY that he's having the procedure and can't wait to get started.
Fast-forward several hours later to when I'm accidentally drooling on pictures of the Jolie-Pitt twins after nodding off in the waiting room. I was startled awake by post-op reports about Mr. Ryman whose doctor didn't bother to take Mrs. Ryman aside for a private conference thereby inflicting me to his lewd insinuations about Mr. Ryman's post-op recovery aided by the diligent ministrations of his eager wife.
Half an hour later when I was on the brink of madness from watching an Oprah episode with some normal middle class family who ended up as homeless people (THIS COULD BE YOU), my mom's doctor came in and said, "We had some problems as if you didn't notice." There were more stones and bigger stones than they thought. Nothing too horrible, but it took them longer to do everything they were supposed to do.
Again, they didn't want me to go back and see her which was a bummer because I promised her I would record her in her drunken anesthetized stupor so we could enjoy it for later. By the time they let me go back she was pretty much her normal self.
I only half listened to the instructions they gave me for after we left the hospital because they foolishly assume my mother listens to those types of things and follows along with them. Silly mortals.
Instead we did the exact opposite of what we were supposed to do and hit a Wendy's drive-thru and ordered a burger and fries to split and two Frosties. About 20 minutes later we were pulled over at the side of the road with my mom throwing up next to someone's garbage can and me pretending not to notice.
All in all, a successful day if you define "success" by how much of a blog post you can squeeze out of it.
If any of you would like me to accompany you to the hospital just let me know. It might not be great for you, but it will probably work out just fine for me.