Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Colour of Surgery Is Blue - Surgery Adventure Part 2

Image by Francis Vachon, a photographer from Quebec. His blog:

With my sparkling new blue wristband, I watched movies and waited for surgery in the Coronary ICU. The idea of being cut open, having my heart patched, then closing the rib cage again, and being sowed back up did not bother me. The only things that I dreaded were the scar and how long it would take to recover. I just felt bad for my coworkers who would have to take up my work for who knows how long. I wondered how painful waking up would be. I talked to my nurse Kim about it in the CICU. She said the scar goes away pretty nicely these days with vitamin E, and that I will be able to recover fully, and will have pain killers. Problem solved. I wasn't worried at all going into surgery.

Another reason why I stayed so calm is because I knew that, if I panicked, my inner circle wouldn't know how to deal with it. So they would freak out. And then it would be panic-snowballing and unnecessary stress on everyone. This way, they were curious about how I could remain so zen about it and they tried their best to do the same. No stress, no heart attacks, better atmosphere and environment for recovery. I hate it when people freak out. Freaking out makes you annoying, agitated, paranoid, irrational, and most importantly (and sadly) makes you do dumb things sometimes. So next time you wanna freak out, please don't. For the sake of those around you :)

So on March 4th I took a picture of my scarless chest (my phone saved me from boredom and beyond, you have no idea), disinfected the area they were about to cut, then got ready for surgery. My relatives came and kept me company until I was taken in. My parents emailed me a document from my previous cardiologist at the last minute. I printed it off at the nurse station computers, joking around with Dr. Thomas. He's cool. "How come you never told me there's free internet here?!?!" I asked. I was so chipper the whole time the team probably thought I was weird. They said we should hang out. I'm probably a welcome change from their usually panicked and gloomy patients.

12:45 finally came. In my blue hospital gown and Dr. Edward's blue pen initial at the bottom of my neck, I was wheeled in on a stretcher to the surgery room. It was a very large, cold room with bright lights. Lots of blue everywhere. The uniforms and all their protective wear, the disposable drapes hanging around all their huge machines, they were all blue.

They aligned my stretcher with a very narrow metal operating table and asked me to move onto it. I recognized one of the students who visited me earlier during my stay at the hospital, as well as a few other faces. The cardiac surgeon wasn't there yet. They asked me if I was okay, and after that I don't remember much. They shot the anaesthesia through my intravenous and I was out before I knew it. The surgery lasted about 4 hours, after which they let me sleep another 5 hours or so to recover. I woke up in the CICU in a dimly lit room, thirsty like I've never been before. Guess what colour the nurse was wearing?


  1. Oh my god O_o
    Hope you're doing good now,
    dunno how this must feel..
    But thanks for sharing it :) should be really strong for that..

  2. Thanks Valerie, I'm slowly recovering. Will post the rest of the adventure soon. Recovery is the biggest part of surgery and I thought it would be nice to share the experience. Surgery doesn't have to be that bad, it's all in the attitude. I remained positive throughout and it helped a LOT. I think it's important to share that and I'm glad that you appreciated the effort :)