January 10, 2010

Hernia Surgery in Short 2

Chapter 2: Surgery

About a week later I had guests. Two new Peace Corps Trainees from the AZ7 group come for a few days site visit to learn more about what PCVs actually do and what the rayons are actually like. Midway through their visit I received a call from PC Medical. The surgeons return to Canada was sooner then expected so if we were to do this I must go to Baku the very next day. I sadly had to abandon the newbies and go to Baku. Though the doctor had said this could be an outpatient procedure Irena(my PC doctor) wanted me to stay at the hospital the nite before because surgery prep would need to begin at 6am and again the next nite to be careful for complications. I very much disliked this idea and was a bit argumentative but some battles must be abandoned that others can be won; as the PCV motto goes “Be flexible”. In hindsight it was the better plan of action. Getting up at 5am to get to the hospital would have been difficult and it was rather painful to walk the next evening.
Spent the night in the hospital, no food or drink allowed, was woken up all to early the next morn by a couple of cute nurses who couldn't believe I spoke Azerbaijani but not Russian and really wanted to practice the 12words of English they knew. They shaved my belly & half my pubes with 10cent disposable razors. 'Twas one of the more awkward, ticklish and scratchy experiences of my life. I was wheeled into intensive care where the other patients were quite surprised to see a foreigner. A fellow who was quite out of it and restrained to his bed became a bit agitated and mumbled incoherently until they placed a screen between us. The anesthesiologist came in and gave my the epidural and I settled in for the next 8hours of paralysis. I waited there, dozing for an hour, before being wheeled into the operating room. Here I was disappointed because there was a screen between my head and the surgery so I couldn't watch. Nor was there a mirror nor camera. Very bummed. I had to entertain myself by listening to the doctors talking in Russian and learning to control the heartbeat/blood pressure monitor. Heartbeat is easy but blood pressure is a hard one. Be it old age or boredom I found it much more difficult to stay awake during the surgery than it was back in Japan. Surprised the hell out of me when I first saw smoke rising from the surgery area. Apparently the were using lasers or cauterizing something. If you want to see what this surgery is like you can watch videos on YouTube or GoogleVideos. Interesting, grisly stuff.

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