“You’re Not Supposed To Be Here Yet.”
When we got to the hospital, a half-hour before I said I’d be there, I followed “Chad’s” instructions. The first thing they told me was that I wasn’t scheduled to be there until the next morning at 10:30am. I explained that my surgery was scheduled for 4am…six hours from that point. I was surprisingly calm. They had us sit in the ER waiting room and less than five minutes later someone from hospital personnel came in and told us to follow him and he took me right into a room.
As a side note I want to say that as soon as I walked into the door of the hospital, I felt like God put my hand in his and calmness completely took over. I also felt my mother’s presence right there, next to me. My mother had been on dialysis for a very long time and when Justin was 2 months old, she had a transplant at that very hospital. So I knew she was there for mine.
Once I was in my room, things started to go very fast. They took my vitals and asked me if I had dialysis that day. I told them that I hadn’t. I’m a, or I WAS, a MWF person and it was Tuesday night. The nurse told me that they had to do some blood work to see if I would have to have dialysis before the surgery and she left the room. I didn’t get upset. I said a silent prayer that I didn’t want to have dialysis. My usual “run time” on the dialysis machine is 3:30 and it was already 11pm. I didn’t want to go directly from dialysis to surgery with a weakened body.
When the nurse came back 20 minutes later, Justin asked if I was going to have dialysis…she said,” no.” Another prayer answered, another hurdle…avoided. The closer I got to my surgery time, the more transplant team doctors and nurses and social workers came in and out. One thing that was very apparent to me about U of M hospital is that they are truly a Hospital of Excellence. Every medical professional that I came in contact with scanned my hospital bracelet – like a barcode system. Every employee that spoke to me, from housekeeping to my surgeon, treated me like I was the most important person there.
It is also a beautiful place. The art on the walls throughout the facility is amazing. When I was first shown my room, Doug pointed out that one of my favorite paintings (Monet’s “Water Lilies) hung directly across from my bed. And before you all think that I’m some art knowledgeable aficionado, I took an art class many years ago and remembered certain works that I liked.
Before I knew it, it was time for me to be wheeled down to the surgical area to get all the good drugs and to claim my kidney. The staff was kind enough to let my guys stay with me in that area up until they administered the anesthesia. The surgical area was very relaxed; we were actually laughing and joking with the team that would be in the operating room. I remember at least one doctor and one nurse asking me, if I knew what I was there for and I sat up, starting to think, “Oh this is the part of the dream where I wake up”. But I said,” wait a second, don’t you guys know?” They knew. They just had to check to make sure I knew.
My surgical nurse told me that I had a good surgeon and that he was fast. I replied, “But he’s good, right?” I don’t think I was so concerned about the fast part as much as I was about the good part. I guess the average time for that kind of surgery is about 4 hours.
And then it was time.
Doug, Justin & Julian kissed me and told me how much they loved me and off they went to the family surgical waiting room. The last thing I remembered was the anesthesiologist telling me that I probably wouldn’t remember anything from that point and then he asked me if I was ready.
He had no idea how ready I was.
To be continued…