Making Tracks: So close, and yet … still waiting

  • Mon Sep 14th, 2020 3:30pm
  • Life

Making Tracks

By Kat Bryant

Many thanks to everyone who’s been checking up on me and offering encouragement. As it happens, I am not recovering from surgery or catching up on my reading as I thought I would be this week.

But I was so close.

I showed up at Mason General 15 minutes early last Wednesday morning to register for my hysterectomy. A nurse walked out to the parking lot and administered the required COVID-19 test while I was still sitting in my friend’s truck. I then went inside, received my wristband and was ushered to the outpatient prep area.

I was 100% ready to get this done. I’d followed all of the doc’s presurgical instructions. I was in a good place mentally. I smiled and joked with everyone I interacted with.

Once inside my curtained cubicle, I was asked to change into a gown, a pair of no-slip socks, and a cap to contain my hair. Once I was horizontal, they stuck three electrodes on my torso and connected them to monitors. Then came the IV placement; they got it on the second try with almost no pain. Yay.

Once I was all hooked up, a parade of players stopped by to introduce themselves and talk with me about their roles in my surgery. All were friendly and open, answering any final questions I had even before I asked.

They also inundated me with questions of their own: Who will be picking you up after this? How long ago did you stop taking blood thinners? Exactly what time yesterday was your last meal? Do you have any aches or pains this morning?

Well, yeah, I said. Since you asked, my left knee has been bothering me for the past couple of days. But it only hurts when I do this. No biggie, I’m assuming it’s arthritis or some such thing.

Eyebrows were raised. Follow-up questions were asked. Whispers of a potential blood clot hovered outside my curtain. My surgery slot was bumped to late afternoon. Tests were ordered.

A couple of hours later, they told me nothing showed up on the ultrasound of my left leg, but a blood test called a D-dimer strongly indicated that I did have a clot breaking down … somewhere.

We can’t do the surgery today, my doctor said. It’s just not safe. My team here doesn’t have the expertise to handle cardiovascular complications. I’ll have to refer you to a colleague at St. Joe’s in Tacoma.

He was compassionate. He was apologetic. And of course he was right: Better safe than sorry.

I wanted to be angry, needed to be angry; but there was no one I could be legitimately angry with. So, frustrated on every possible level, I said thank you to everyone, got unplugged from everything, got dressed and left.

Luckily, my ride was still close by, visiting with friends in Shelton. He was kind (and patient) enough to get me to a local café with a long line so I could get a much-needed cup of cocoa for the trip home. They had dark chocolate — my favorite. It helped.

Still, having fasted for a full 24 hours by the time I got home, I was ravenous. But first, I went to visit my primary physician here in town so he could get me back on the blood thinners I’d quit in March. And then he sent me to get an X-ray of the knee that was bothering me. (Haven’t heard the results yet.)

As I left the imaging center around 5 that afternoon, it occurred to me that it was prime rib dinner night at the Welcome Inn. The ultimate comfort foods: rare beef, baked potato and garlicky green beans. I had them wrap up two meals — one for me and one for my ever-patient friend — and headed home for a much-needed feast followed by a solid 12 hours of sleep.

I have a “consult” scheduled with the Tacoma surgeon this week. No idea how far out we’ll have to schedule my surgery this time.

But I’m now 110% ready to get this procedure — and this dreary year — over with.

Kat Bryant is lifestyle editor of The Daily World and editor of Washington Coast Magazine. Are we there yet? Reach her at kbryant@thedailyworld.com or on Facebook.