Having the port removed today was much easier than when it was stuffed into my upper right chest. However, it was not quite a cake walk; more like a cupcake walk.
I thought I could remember where the day surgery was located so I wondered around the first floor of the hospital for five minutes. When I inquired at the front desk, they informed me that I was to check in with them first. Oops. After I was properly registered, I was sent to the cardiovascular day surgery area. As I walked up to the area, it all began to look familiar. I was the only patient in the "CVS" - which I think stands for cardiovascular surgery. There were eight people standing around the centralized desk, wearing the same blue-colored scrubs, and looking relieved that someone showed up to their party. When I walked in I said, "No one told me that I was supposed to wear blue!" Can you believe that I got only one slight chuckle out of this Monday morning crew? About fifteen beds lined up in a semi-circle around the desk area. In July, when I had the port inserted, every single bed was full. Today, I was the Lone Ranger.
After I once again changed into a johnny/hospital gown, they drew blood to check how well my blood clots. (I wonder how many times I have changed into a johnny since this cancer trip began...triple digits?) Once the blood work results were in, I was rolled into the operating room. The two nurses rolling my bed were discussing which room to put me in for the procedure, when the guy said, "I like this room because it's nice and big and clean." I immediately thought, "Aren't all the operating rooms clean?"
As I was waiting for the doctor to come in, I scanned the clean, white room to check out all the equipment, supplies, etc. The wood cabinetry with glass fronts store the supplies. These cabinets gave the room a nice warm touch compared to the cold metal cabinets that they probably replaced. I saw the usual boxes for disposal of contaminated material or sharps - needles, etc. I also saw a box labeled "reusable sharps." What?! I am a big proponent of recycling, but what exactly is reusing sharps? I can't wait to ask Nurse O. Canada about the reusable sharps box.
Instead of getting full-on anesthesia similar to when I had the port inserted, I was given shots of Novocaine to numb the area above and around the port. (It was nice to get Novocaine and not have drooling as a consequence. ) The doctor instructed me to tell him if I feel any sharp jabs. Right away I felt a sharp jab, and then it got worse...I felt him cutting me! I said, "I can feel the sharp point. Ouch! Ouch!" After more Novocaine, the cutting feeling went away, but I could still feel a sharp jab every now and then. I didn't complain. I just wanted it over and done. Unfortunately, he nicked a small artery at the beginning of the procedure and had to cauterize the artery. It is a strange feeling to be lying on a table, seeing smoke, smelling something burning, and knowing that the burning smell is you. After the burning was over, he continued on to remove the port. He was having a tough time getting it out, and explained, "Removing a port is like having a baby, it must be positioned just right." (He clearly never worked in ob-gyn.) He was having a tough time getting it out and said, "This is a stubborn one." I am guessing the conversation in his head was a little different than "This is a stubborn one." He said that he must have missed some scar tissue that was holding on to the port. After a little more work, out it came. I could sense a relief in his voice. He asked me if I wanted to see port. It looked exactly like a miniature computer mouse, about the size of a thumbnail, with a tube attached to it. I was surprised by the length and circumference of the tube that ran from the port up to my carotid artery. The size of the tube explains why I could feel it through my skin.
Once the procedure was complete, they wheeled me back to my spot where I changed my clothes behind a drawn, semi-circle curtain, and then I strolled out of there. Quick and easy. I checked in at 8:10 a.m. and was in the car driving home at 9:30 a.m. No, I didn't drive; Chubba drove me to and from the hospital.
I was amused by how many times someone said to me, "You must be relieved to have this out." or "What a relief for you to have this removed." of "This is a great day for you." etc. It is nice to have it out, but I didn't think of the removal as any big deal. This was just a mini cupcake compared to last day of chemotherapy or last day radiation.
My next appointment is on February 14 with my oncologist. Unless...I go see my radiation oncologist, Dr. Dad because I missed two appointments in December. One was the original appointment, and the second was a reschedule for the first appointment that I missed. The appointments were written on the refrigerator calendar, and they called the day before to remind me, but somehow the appointments fell into one of my memory's dark holes. Next week I go in to Boston of have my arms measured as part of study I volunteered to be a part of for research. I hope I remember.
Whacky thought for the day...
What do you remember most fondly about elementary school - the parties or the academics? I loved the cake walks at my elementary school's fairs, plus all the school parties. Now, the local elementary school does not allow any treats brought to school for any occasion. No parties. No fun.