Sunday, July 25, 2010
The anesthesiologist that wouldn't stop…
About 9 months ago, I was scheduled to do a minor surgery at a local hospital.
As is the usual practice, before embarking on surgery, you're supposed to meet your trusty anesthesiologist. In my understanding, this a chance to bond with the guy who's going to knock you out, to calm down and convince yourself, or allow him to convince you that you will not be the unlucky 0.3 % that dies from a routine surgery, that doesn't involve vital organs. I loved my surgeon, so I completely trusted that he wasn't going to kill me. My worry was that I had to be put under full anesthesia for the 3rd time in the past 5 years at the hands of a stranger. I'm sure innocent brain cells were lost before in this process, if only for the fact that I sometimes say passport when I mean pizza, or forget for a split second if my son is a girl or boy- (in my defense he does have long eye lashes), or when I completely can't recall what I just said, after someone says "what?".
Anyway, so I go to my appointment to meet the doctor. For 45 minutes I'm in the waiting room, having read the fifth Layalina, and memorized all of Bahrain's inane functions, I started to gather negative feelings towards the guy, or assume that he's really so good, that he's over booked. When lo and behold, a big fumbling, balding man walks in, sweating and rushed is referred to as Dr. SameName, by the receptionist, and darts off to his office. No. It can't be him. She would've introduced me. He doesn't even look ambidextrous. How is he going to know when to stop? Wasn't he already up there? Now I'm panicking.
It's probably not him.
The receptionist waited like 3 seconds after he was gone, to tell me that my doctor had arrived and that I should make my way upstairs to his clinic. How discreet.
I go up, not knowing what's coming leaving the next patient to wait her turn.
How can I put this, he was a complete weirdo. He was awkward, and inappropriate, and everything about his behavior, screamed IDIOT.
Of course he may have seen the look of disappointment when I walked in and saw him, but I quickly reprimanded myself for stereo typing that clumsy fumbling people
don't make good doctors. So I refreshed my outlook and sat down. He asked me questions. Many of which the answers to were on the brief in front of him. But I complied, and I answered politely.
He didn't mention once anything about the anesthesia, the length of the surgery, any risks, nothing of any value to me. Then he said, we have to take your blood pressure...
Ok, take it. I'm sitting right here aren't I?
No, I have to go to the next room, lie down on a bed assisted by a nurse and close a curtain while I wait for his debut.
Such a melodrama queen. Fine, I do that. The nurse tries to wrap the thing around me, it's one of those old things that come in a tin box, as if it's going to be dropped out of a plane or something.
In walks Shrek, he practically hip-shoots her aside and then starts to bruise my arm, with his less than ballerina fingers, trying to wrap the arm band and hold the tin box on a 1 cm precipice, before it smashes to the ground, yanking my arm with it.
I am ready to punch someone.
The nurse looks at me helplessly, as he rudely yells at her to: "HOLD ZIS ONE! NO COME HERE! YOU HOLD ZIS!"
I'm telling you, right now, my reading ain't gonna be accurate. I'm sure it's 170 over 2 million.
Then he abruptly pushes me up, at the same time informing me that he needs to hear my heart beat. Ok fine, we do this all the time don't we? Apparently not.
He has a bloody wrestling match with my top. Looking at him from outside the room, you'd think the guy was trying to get a mad octopus of my back, not a limp cotton garment.
I was a little bit amused, and smug that my stereo typing had been correct. He sucks.
So we finish this fiasco, I go back into the room where he allegedly "consults", and I thank him for his time. At the door, it occurs to me that he didn't reassure me about the surgery at all.
So I ask while standing at the door. So you're going to be my anesthesiologist? To which he replies: "I don't know about that."
Excuse me? What, I didn’t pass the test? Then why am I here? My operation is scheduled for a week from now, and he is certainly not helping my cold feet.
He proceeded to rant for 15 minutes that my surgery is on the same day as a holiday, and that there will be no one in the hospital. So I look at him and say, I already scheduled this, what do you mean no one will be here? Will I be assisting the surgeon in the OR?
Then he says why are you doing it during Eid? So I explained, still quite shocked, that I don't have more than a few days off, so I need to do it during a holiday for the recovery period. Isn't there a recommended recovery period?
Do you know what he said to me????? "I don' t know about zis, why where do you work? They don't give you time off?"
God loves me. So by divine intervention, it was the first time in a hospital that I didn't see a sharp object such as a syringe, or an oxygen tank with which to reply to him.
I stare back at him, livid at the irrelevant questioning. I asked him if he was in charge of appointments, and he mumbled something about my surgeon not being from here and not realizing it was a holiday.
“The doctor is fully aware it’s a holiday, I told him it was suitable for me.” I spoke slowly, so as not to explode right there. “I’m not responsible for the hospital’s administration procedures, I simply made a request and it was granted.”
Don’t people get sick during holidays? Does the hospital close on Fridays? What does this ass want exactly?
He realizes he’s not winning in this contest of back and forth, and tells me to forget he said anything, but still doesn’t confirm who my anesthesiologist will be, stating he doesn’t know who they’re going to call in.
I walked off bewildered, and on my way out caught the eye of the girl who was after me. I gave her a look that warned her of the insanity that she was about to experience.
In the lift on the way down I turned to the victim nurse who had witnessed this whole fiasco. “Is there another anesthesiologist in the hospital?”
“No, only him.” She answers trying not to smile.
“Then why is he pretending like there’s a lineup of spares waiting???”
By the time I get to reception, and after I had done several tests, I am fuming. How dare he act this way. I was coming here to meet someone to put my mind at ease, and now this imbecile, just confirmed to me that he doesn’t particularly want to be there. I’ve had this appointment for a month and no one had a problem with it. I’m going to entrust the remaining brain matter I have in his stubby hands?? I DON’T think so.
I file a big ass colorful complaint about his lack of good conduct, his unprofessionalism, and his unnecessary discussion with me about the hospital’s thoughtless decision to book me on the 2nd day of Eid. All this to a hesitant receptionist, who insists that he’s quite good at what he does.
Maybe he sniffs the drugs he administers, because he has no bedside manner, he has no kerb side manner even. I inform them that I won’t do the surgery with him. Find someone else. He didn’t even have the decency to tell me that he was the ONLY anesthesiologist in the entire hospital.
Just as I am about to finish my story and starting to think what if I imagined how horrible it really was, the girl behind me walked in.
“WHAT WAS THAT???” She asked.
Apparently he had had a similar wrestling match with her clothes, and she thought perhaps she should’ve worn a swim suit rather than an abaya, had she known taking blood pressure was this traumatic. He also questioned her on why her surgery was on a Friday, and that he didn’t particularly think it was a good day to be in the OR. She also demanded someone else in his place.
I laughed my head off, relieved that I wasn’t a mean patient, reassured, that others saw what I did. Just before I left, a couple walked in to the receptionist, asking her what was wrong with that doctor? They were referring to Shrek too.
I wasn’t offered another anesthesiologist for legal reasons, but the hospital director called me herself, and reassured me that she would be there and that he was reprimanded for his behavior, but that he was excellent at what he did.
Great, a disgruntled anesthesiologist. He’ll just put me to sleep forever. That’s just what I wanted...
Thankfully I didn’t die, but I did ignore him when he said good morning right before I passed out. Maybe he sensed my disdain, because I threw up constantly after the surgery as a reaction to the anesthesia, which never happened to me before. 7mar.
So, here we are today in 2010, I went back to the same hospital a few days ago, for a small procedure, thankfully only requiring local anesthesia and four stitches.
Although, it wasn’t a big deal, I had 3 small cysts removed from my scalp, and after the operation, was wheeled out into the hall way of the OR suite to supposedly “recover”.
As the drugs wore off, my head started to feel like I had a severe acid burn. I was grumpy, because I hated being out of control, and the hospital was one of the few places that made me feel helpless. I counted the ceiling tiles, waiting for someone to come tell me they were taking me back to my room, waiting for my husband to come see me. But people just walked past me like I was a buffet.
Just then the other OR opened and people walked out having finished a surgery. I felt someone pacing, and then I saw it. A big round face hovering above mine...
Oh ho..shyabi thee? Now what?
It was HIM. 9aba7 il kheeeeeer.. he Good Morninged me and I was NOT amused.
“What’s your name?” He asked.
Is he serious? I wanted to look nonchalant, but that’s really a challenge, when you’re wearing a mesh green surgery cap and lying on a gurney. Fuck my luck. (Swearing necessary here)
“Weren’t you here wiz us before?” He is not just here to comfort an anonymous patient, he is here for a discussion apparently.
“Yes, last year.” I tried to look busy, but failed miserably.
“Ah, November 29th.., it was Eid” He actually brought it up.
“Yes, I remember, you objected to the surgery date.” There really was no point in pretending not to have recognized him. I couldn’t really wheel myself out of there, or get up and leave.
And right there, while I was supposed to be in post-op recovery, fighting the pain that was spreading through my head, grieving for the 20% of my hair that was shaved off, this inconsiderate bastard proceeded to AGAIN tell me that it was a holiday and that the hospital is usually empty on those days. I am not going to let this idiot bully me again.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
In the sharpest tone, that I could muster under the circumstances, I responded to him once and for all...
“Listen, as I told you before, YOU need to understand, that I am NOT concerned with the hospital’s scheduling philosophies. As a patient, I booked with my surgeon, and he agreed and confirmed that it was fine. I don’t CARE to get involved in administration issues you have with the hospital.”
GIVE IT UP ALREADY! What is wrong with this man?? If he wants to discuss this, why doesn’t he call me when I’m not horizontal, and I will REALLY give him my frank opinion on what I think of him.
My husband walked in, not realizing what had just happened. And not knowing who he was, asked him when they were taking me back to the room.
“He’s not my doctor..” I hissed, while my husband thanked him gratefully, thinking he was my surgeon.
“I told you he’s not my doctor!” I growled under my breath, really pissed off at this point, but trying to maintain composure.
I’ve never been angry before, while lying down. Usually I’m standing, pacing or gesturing.
I swore to myself, that I was going to file an even bigger complaint this time, but by the time I got out of there, I really didn’t want to talk about him anymore. My husband listened patiently for an hour in my room to my ranting and raving, and that deflated my big balloon of fury.
He was lucky that I had someone to vent to this time.
Until my next face off... with the anesthesiologist that wouldn’t stop.