Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What I Learned About Surgery In Mexico

What I have learned about surgery in Mexico:

When Dr. Campos asks if you are doing your trippy little breathing exercises, telling him you are is of little value when you can't quite recall what you did with the machine. He will find it for you and watch you actually use it.

Ditto on the breathing machine with Dr. Aceves.

Feeling pride - to the point of boastful - of your Spanish skills when telling the nurse you would love nothing more than to run outside for a cigarette actually translates into: I just smoked a cigarette inside the hospital and I'd like another, please. At least that is how they understand it. I'm quite sure my Spanish is better than those from Mexico.

Pointing to your stomach and saying, "Ouch ouch ouch," is medical Spanish for "May I have pain meds, please?" Clutching your gut and gagging is medical Spanish for, "I'm gonna hurl, I have something for nausea please?"

Pain meds do not taste like candy. Nurses fib.

Feeling pride that you finished your crushed tablet and water is short lived. Nurses belong to the clean plate club. They will look and see there is tablet residue on the bottom of the cup and pour more water in there so you can enjoy it a 2nd time around. Having the expression of a 4 year old that just ate spinach while drinking crushed tablets and water will make the nurse laugh.

Quality doctor/patient time is done by sneaking outside the hospital to grab a quick cigarette. You see, Dr. Aceves finds smoking most annoying and this behavior leads to a variety of lectures ranging from slow healing, health issues, etc. Just look at him wide eyes and nod like you are learning something new!

Trying to explain going outside by telling any of the medical staff that you are merely trying to get some exercise is fruitless. They won't buy it.

When you wash your hands and accidentally drop the paper towel you used to dry them, you naturally bend over to pick it up and throw it in the garbage. When you get halfway down to pick up the paper towel you discover it is much easier to kick it in a corner.

Feeling guilty about kicking the paper towel in the corner leads you to kick it over to the couch like a dodge ball, sit down, and SLOWLY bend over to pick it up. Of course, this means you must stand up again and walk to the garbage. Since your suitcase is on the couch within reach you throw it in there and decide to call it a souvenir from Mexico.

Sleeping on your side is tricky business. It takes a few moments to slowly turn to your side while muttering damn damn damn due to discomfort. You finally lay on your side, clutching the pillow to your stomach. You are blissfully comfortable, sigh a sigh of relief, and without fail Dr. Campos will walk in and want to see your incisions. This is guaranteed to happen 100% of the time. Matter of fact, I am convinced this is how to get Dr. Campos to come to your room. If you have a question and would like to see him there is no need to request a nurse contact him. Merely take the time to turn on your side, mutter damn damn damn due to discomfort, get *really* comfortable, and within minutes he will come to your room and you can ask your question.

As soon as he leaves you slowly repeat the process. Turn to your side, mutter damn damn damn, get comfy and Sergio will come in wanting to see your sutures.

When the folks that had surgery the day before you come in to check on you, don't mess with them because I am here to tell you, these people mean business. Before you know it the gauze version of TEDS hose on your lower legs is suddenly removed and you discover your butt is hauled out of bed and you are doing laps up and down the hallway dragging your IV pole with you. The day old bandsters will cheer you on. Just remember, tomorrow it will be your turn to play "day old drill sergeant bandster," to the newbies.

Your first poop will hurt. Deal with it.

Experience is a wonderful teacher. When it's time for your 2nd poop you think it through and decide you can wait for another day.

When you accidentally bust open and clot off your IV in front of Dr. Aceves - suggesting to him that you, the patient, remove the IV it is not an option.

When the real newbies are there the day before their surgery for labs, xrays, etc., it's a fun time to show off your incisions. They actually WANT to see them unlike the rest of the free world.

The idea of broth and orange jello for breakfast is something met with anticipation. It almost borders with excitement when you see the nice lady from the kitchen with your tray.

If you thought you had a Buddha belly before surgery, check it out after surgery. The gas they use to blow up your belly is still there. You actually wonder, when you finally start burping will it sound like you just inhaled helium as you speak?

When Dr. Campos asks you if you are passing gas it is a toss up trying to decide if you should remind him that is not a question one asks a lady or if you beg to know when you actually WILL fart/burp up a storm. Your gut looks like if you get near a sharp pointy thing it will pop like a balloon.

Glue is a funny thing. The medical staff will tell you that they put a plastic film (much like saran wrap) on your stomach before surgery. It's a 'clean' issue. They are not telling you the truth. When you are having surgery they pour epoxy all over your stomach and later, when you shower you realize it will never come off. It is there for life and you question if it will tan with the rest of your skin the next time you lay in the sun or if it will be blotchy and yicky. The real secret... if you look at it carefully you will see the logo of Almater hospital in the permanent glue.

I double dawg dare you to lean against something with the epoxy on your stomach. You'll be stuck to what you are leaning to like strong Velcro. Prying your epoxy covered gut off the counter you just leaned against to wash your hands is similar to prying apart two of the strongest magnets that you have ever experienced. Much weight loss is accomplished this way as your skin is still stuck to the counter. I estimate 4 pounds.

The day after surgery - if you discover the epoxy on your stomach has formed mini glue balls under your breasts you realize it's time for a breast lift.

Much bottled water, ice, broth, tea, Jello, juice, and IV fluids. Guess where you will be spending time between laps through the halls and naps?

Viva la Mexico!!!!!!!

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