Under the knife

August 3, 2012 

My long-awaited and much-feared surgery finally happened last week.

And good Lord, I am glad it’s done.

Last Thursday, I checked in at St. Luke’s East for an overdue procedure to repair an inguinal hernia I had sustained at some point in the last two years.

As I have written about before, I largely ignored the problem, convinced it was either an ulcer or something else that would just magically go away.

It didn’t. And in April, it got a lot more painful.

Each step of the way, I was facing a fear – fear of the doctor, the surgeon, and, eventually, the surgery itself.

Once I was diagnosed, it was just a waiting game, though.

Now, being that this was my first time in a hospital in decades – and my first ever surgery – it’s understandable that I wouldn’t know the routine.

I forgot that I would get asked every question four times – no, I have no allergies, none. And I didn’t realize the same rules that applied to Gremlins are in play in for people awaiting surgery, i.e., no food or water after midnight.

I did get the forewarning about that rule with my “preregistration” phone call, which was a nice thing to get a week or so before the surgery. Also nice was the “um, Mr. Beaudoin, here’s what we estimate your charges to be” phone call. Not as nice as the first one, honestly.

As I rolled through check-in, the waiting room and prep, I was comforted with just how beloved my surgeon appeared to be by everyone in the hospital.

“Dr. Nunley? He did my daughter’s gall bladder. He was great!”

It seemed at every turn, people had a Nunley story for me. Right before I went under anesthesia, I recall one tale of him swooping in to save a construction worker who had fallen off the scaffolding while working on the 11th floor at St. Luke’s.

OK, I might have just imagined that one.

Because, honestly, that stuff is powerful. I barely remember even being rolled into the surgery room, much less the guy plugging the sleeping juice into my veins.

Next thing I knew, I was awake, my throat was sore and I was very aware of just the hospital gown I was wearing.

After some crackers and Jell-O, I was sent home with a bottle of pain meds and strict instructions about what to do and not to do for the next month or so.

No softball. No carrying around my Addy. Rules, rules, rules.

I suppose I will follow them. As great as Dr. Nunley was, I really don’t want to see him again any time soon.

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Cass County Democrat Missourian. To reach him, call 816-380-3228 or email jbeaudoin@demo-mo.com.

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