Monday, November 30, 2009

I Have Been Deported!

Interestingly, as I entered the surgery waiting room this morning, I felt overcome by a wave of emotion. I immediately went back to the morning of July 16, 2008 - the morning of my resection surgery. Then I saw images of Beau playing in the waiting room with Daniela & me in the late Spring of 2008 when we had been there together for one or two of my pre-treatment procedures. I felt my love for Beau and at the same time the profound of livig this precious life. I wiped a few tears from my eyes and sat down and waited to be called.

After a short wait, I was in the pre-surgery department and the nurses began my preparation - checking my blood pressure, my pulse and asking me for my name, date of birth and why I was there today. I asked the nurse if the sedation was required for the surgery. The nurse told me it was not and informed me I would have to speak with my surgeon if I was didn't want the prescribed sedatives. He and I spoke and he agreed to do the procedure with no sedatives - only the local anesthetic as was already planned regardless if I accept sedatives or not.

At this point, after as many procedures as I have had that required sedatives, I am more than happy to tolerate temporary pain or discomfort, in exchange for clarity of mind. First, because the local anesthetic is supposed to make the procedure relatively painless. Secondly, because I have no interest in spending hours after the procedure stoned from the cocktail of pharmaceuticals routinely prescribed for outpatient surgeries such as the one I had today. And third, because their sedative of choice is Versed which has an amnestic property and I am genuinely uninterested in having amnesia for the duration of the procedure for which I am sedated. When at all possible, I actually prefer to be conscious for whatever it is I'm doing.

Just before the surgery was about to begin, one of the surgical staff asked if I was certain I didn't want a sedative. I told her I was certain and she said no more about it. Shortly after, my surgeon showed up and asked he asked if I was certain I did not want a sedative. I told him I had been up to this point, but now I began to wonder if I hadn't made the best decision. So he and I discussed the reasons and he made clear to me that sedatives can provide a minor reduction in pain, but they are primarily designed to keep the patient relaxed and relatively unreponsive during the procedure since the patient is awake the entire time. Sedation keeps the patient from getting anxious or nervous which will cause a patients' blood pressure will rise, which will make things more difficult for the surgeon and staff. With that understanding, I told him to go ahead and skip the sedative. They reassured me a sedative would be immediately available should I change my mind. From what I understand, even when a minor outpatient surgery is performed, the patient is on an intravenous line - just in case something goes wrong, there is instant access to the intravenous system.

Well, everything went perfectly. The surgery was simple and successful and I no longer have a port. Or as my friend Jacquie said, "I have been deported!" Plus, I got to experience the procedure conscious and sober and even got to see the port after it was removed from my chest. I was amazed at how big it was. It looked somewhat like a two-sided stethoscope only not as broad but a little thicker (over one inch thick). I'm amazed the port sat almost an inch deep into my chest muscles. I had no idea.

Today I got one step closer to closing this chapter and it feels great.


  1. GREAT news Bert! Congratulations! Margie and I wish you and your family a Very Merry Christmas!!
    SO PLEASED YOU'RE COMING TO AUBURN!! We look forward to seeing you 1/9/09 for the release of John Reillys' CD. Hope you're riding the bike and using the bands to build up your strength. God Bless.

  2. Congratulations on your deportation!