Like an old Jewish man, which is what I am, I’ll bore you with the details of my operation. Actually, there are only a few things I want to say–the main one being that it went very well and I’m back at work (against doctors’ orders, of course). I have antibiotics and pain medication, but there’s no pain so I’m eschewing the latter. Sadly, my sense of taste is temporarily impaired, but that shouldn’t last long.
First of all, a big thank-you to my surgeon, Dr. Jacquelynne Corey, who reamed out my proboscis with great finesse, and to the good-humored anesthesiologist, Dr. BobbieJean Sweitzer, who patiently explained to me the ins and outs of full anesthesia, and answered scientific questions completely irrelevant to my treatment. I am grateful to the surgery and anesthesiology residents, and the OR nurses, whose names I’ve either forgotten or did not know. Finally, kudos to Donna Morrone, RN, who kept me up to date with appointments and information.
Unfortunately, I have nothing to report about the experience of anesthesia. They zonk you out a tad with a Valium-like substance, but then the lights went out instantly. I didn’t even count backwards from 100. And it seemed that I woke up only a moment later, but actually three and a half hours had passed. There were no dreams, and I suspect—despite reports of “out of body experiences”—that dreams are less frequent under anesthesia than under regular sleep. This would, of course, say something about the brain mechanisms that get shut down during operations.
The only hitch was in intubating me, which they usually do during sinus operations. It apparently wasn’t easy. According to a letter Dr. Sweitzer gave me to pass on to future surgeons, I had a “difficult direct laryngoscopy” because of “limited mouth opening” (who would have guessed?) and “relatively large tongue.” Also, I had a “difficult tracheal intubation” because of my “short stubby epiglottis and redundant soft tissue” (that sounds like an insult—redundant tissue indeed!).
Finally, they need to do something about those hospital gowns that expose your butt! There’s just one tie in the back, and leaves little to the imagination (they gave me a blanket to drape over my back while walking to the operating room). Surely, after decades of surgery, someone can invent a better and less demeaning way to clothe a patient. If they need instant access to your back or rump, why not Velcro or snaps? If anyone knows a rationale for this, do post it below. We’d like some dignity, you know!
As for the University of Chicago Hospitals, I have nothing but praise for their treatment in this case. Everyone was friendly and eager to ensure that all my questions were answered. With luck, I’ll soon be breathing freely.