Saturday, February 28, 2009


This week I had my "pre-op assessment." For the uninitiated, this is a three-to-four hour marathon that should take thirty minutes at the most. Mine took five.

First, I went to the wrong hospital. Doesn't it make sense that if they're doing surgery at a place that's where you'd go to get your paperwork done?


Once I finished trolling the parking lot for a space (I found one approximately a half-mile away, one of the closest) I made my way to the main entrance. It looked like the front of a Hilton. I can't wait for the bill.

The lady at the reception desk gave me a pager, always a bad sign, and told me to wait in the atrium. The fact that she didn't call it a lobby made my bill go up exponentially.

So I sat, without any reading material, for my pager to buzz. Thankfully, my daughter sent me a text message I could respond to. Sending my reply took the better part of thirty minutes. Did you know that your cellphone is smart enough to figure out words just by you punching in the right number buttons? It's called "T9 Word" on my phone. I call it something else, not fit for print.

Emily wanted to know how it was going. Simple enough. I typed back in "unbelievable". It came out "unbeleeabee". I couldn't remember what button to push to get alternate words and by mistake pushed the "send" button. There it go.

Embarrassed at my lack of texting expertise, I tried again. I typed in "If I could only get into the office." All I got was "he". I hit a button to try and fix it. You guessed it. There it go. She texted me back, "I love you." Sweet girl, showing pity to her dad.

I heard someone calling "Berry...BERRY", at which point I realized the pager was only a paperweight, completely worthless for communicating. Just like my texting.

I walked through the expensive atrium back to the original lady I spoke with and told her my vibrator wasn't working, a joke which was obviously lost on her since she looked at me with disdain and informed me that I was at the wrong place. I needed to be at the "other" hospital. I didn't even ask what I was thinking. If they can't do my pre-op stuff here, how will they do my surgery? Something to think about.

I drove to the Northeast Georgia Medical Center, home of the Ronnie Green Heart Center, one of the best anywhere. The reason I know this is from the billboards I see everywhere up here. Billboards that I will soon be paying for. Just another thought.

Parking here was easier. I used the Fried Green Tomatoes method. When a lady in a Mercedes tried to beat me to a parking place, I cut her off, jerked into the space, and yelled, "I drive a Ford Explorer and I have no insurance!" Better than a diamond, that took her breath away.

I noticed that the hospital had recently completed new construction, more for me to pay for. I am not liking this upgrade at all.

When I found the "Pre-Surgical Waiting" room I was handed a clipboard to use while I filled out my medical history. I was now 45 minutes late and was treated accordingly.

They wanted to know everything about my medical past. I filled it out completely and handed it back to the lady, who escorted me to the cubicle where the nurse would complete my assessment. An older lady walked in who talked slow enough to put you to sleep in seconds. When she introduced herself I asked how her brother Forrest was. She didn't get it.

She asked the SAME questions I had just completed on the forms given to me, and then told me someone would be in to get a tube of blood.

I said goodbye to Ms. Gump and through the door came the sister of the banjo player from "Deliverance."

"I don't waste no time finding a vein. Whatever pops up, I just stick the needle in and get done with it." No problem, let's make it quick. She did. I was glad.

The last thing was an EKG. The little girl doing it asked what I was having done. I told her I had prostate cancer and she proceeded to tell me that her cousin who lived in Florida was the palest person she had ever seen but had skin cancer but her and her momma laid out all the time and ain't never had no problems. She looked like a grilled hot dog. She looked like she was twelve years old. My EKG was fine.

I went from there to my doctor's office to sign what they call a "release form". Apparently this means I hold the doctor absolutely harmless if, after my surgery, I can't pee, have sex, or walk without a limp. Right. I signed it.

With all that's happened so far, this should be an interesting experience. I haven't even gotten to the catheter part yet.

I can't wait.


bella said...

First of all, there are so many "that's what she said" moments in there. Secondly, at least I'll be home for the first few days to keep you company :) We'll have a grand ole time, Papi!

Carder said...

If only we could actually say all the things that we want to say in the face of people like this. Of course, I'm willing to be you actually DID say all these things. I have the firm idea that you've reached the "whatever!" part of this whole ordeal, and don't concern yourself with what they'll think. I love you for that.

Jenbug said...

You crazy man I love... it'll all work out fine!!! You are an amazing, patient man! I like that about you.

Michael Ruffin said...

Will you be blogging during the actual procedure?

Michael Ruffin said...

And Jenbug needs to put more info on her profile--she's a lot more interesting than you!