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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Surreal Experience

Yesterday, I had a non-surgical exploratory medical procedure of the non-esophageal variety. You do the math. I don't get sick enough to go see a doctor very often and specialists even less. The few times I've been to see a specialist, I was ready to gnaw my own foot off to escape by the time I got out of there.

For this procedure, I would need to be put under general anesthesia, so my wife had to come with me. I couldn't give you an exact timeline because I wasn't watching the clock too closely, but here's the gist:

  • We arrived shortly before 9a for a 10a procedure.
  • I was immediately invited to sit at an open intake cubicle. This procedure lasted about 15 minutes and required the exchange of documents, some reading, and some signing.
  • I was directed to the patient waiting area, where I read about four pages of my book. This was less than 15 minutes.
  • A nurse called my name and escorted me to a scale. I had lost a few pounds while preparing for the procedure. I probably won't keep them off.
  • She then led me to the preparation area where I reviewed and signed some consent forms, had vitals taken and changed into my operating room garb. They also provided me with a warm blanket (really! it had been warmed). The nurse also told me about he team that would be working me over and said they would be by for a visit. This all took about another 15 minutes.
  • As she left the area, the anesthesiologist arrived right on cue. We discussed the sort of drugs I prefer and he told me what he was planning for me. It all sounded pretty good, so I signed the anesthesia consent form that I had refused to sign prior to talking with him. This took about 5 minutes.
  • As he left, Dr. Fine arrived. He's a nice young Jewish doctor just like I wanted. I didn't ask him how many generations of doctors were in his family, but I'd like to imagine that the Fines have been practicing medicine for over a 1200 years. Because he's younger, I know that he's had an updated education and didn't learn modern medicine while on a ski trip in Aspen or on the beaches of Hawaii. We spoke briefly about my last visit and what I could expect this time. The whole visit lasted maybe three minutes.
  • As he left, the two lovely OR nurses arrived to wheel me out. I don't remember much of Sara and Tamara as once I got to the OR, I wasn't conscious for long.
  • In the OR, I met the nurse anesthetist and saw Dr. Fine briefly before going nighty-night.
  • Next thing I know, I'm waking up in the recovery room on the other side of the building from where I started with a new nurse and my wife sitting by (that's like standing by only with a chair). After a few minutes, I was able to get dressed and bail. It was about 11:45.
I'm not sure this sort of machine-like efficiency occurs only within the gastroenterology specialty or just this practice, but there are clearly some lessons to be learned from this operation. That's what I call modern medicine.
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