24 November 2008

Unabashed Post-Op Homo-rrhage

The walls of my Ear, Nose, & Throat doctor's office resemble those of the Hard Rock Cafe, complete with framed gold records "in honor of ten billion, trillion records sold" from random artists like Tom Petty and Meat Loaf to Clay Aiken and Carrie Underwood. I studied the wall and read the personal notes made out to my doctor with things like, "Dr. N--You saved my voice! xoxo, Jordin Sparks." It might have been a dry-cleaners in North Hollywood with autographed headshots, "Thanks Ming! Love, Tawney Kitaen."

My doctor and I are very chummy. I have seen him for the past five years and he instantly took a liking to me. Like many Beverly Hills boutique doctors, he doesn't take insurance but he gave me a big discount on my tonsillectomy and always half-off on my visits. Like the father I never had, he would always instruct me not to suck dick while battling a case of tonsillitis. When I came out of my tonsillectomy surgery, I told him not to sneak a peak under my gown. We have that kind of relationship.

Doc comes into the room interrupting my wall-reading and pulls out his tongue depressors. "Say ah, ah-ah-ah." He says it just like Madonna's doctor said to her in Truth or Dare when she had laryngitis. He began fiddling with something where my left tonsil used to be and his assistant gave me cold water to swish in my mouth. He had cauterized one spot behind a blood clot on my tonsil. I wasn't bleeding very much but he told me I would have to hang around for an hour just to make sure there was no bleeding.

He came back to check on me about ten minutes later and his energy became frantic. He was telling his assistant to get him this, get him that, hurry, hurry. "You're going to feel a little sting," he said and stuck more than one needle into the holes where my tonsils used to be to numb them. It hurt. "You're doing great, Matthew," he whispered to me repeatedly. "Swish this and spit into the cup." I watched slow-moving, black-red blood flow from my mouth. A lot of blood. "Nancy, cancel all my appointments and tell them I have an emergency. Call an ambulance." He made several calls to Cedars Sinai Hospital telling doctors he had a post-tonsillectomy hemorrhage and he needed an operating room immediately. "Matthew," he said in a very direct, wannabe-calm voice, "we have to go back into the operating room. We're going to take an ambulance to Cedars." At this point my hands began shaking and I started to freak out silently. "Do you have a xanax or something you can shoot in me," I asked the doctor's assistant. They didn't.

Being carried out on a gurney, covered in blood on Bedford Avenue in Beverly Hills, gets a lot of stares. I texted my friend Brooke on the way to the hospital, "emergency surgery come to cedars now." She texted me back immediately, "What?" Ugh GOD, I can't be more clear. On our way into the Operating Room, I reminded my doctor that I had left my car in the parking lot on Brighton Way to which he just stared at me and said, "We'll take care of that later."

I hate waking up from anaesthesia with all those people around you cheering you on, "MATT, MATT, YOU'RE AWAKE. THE SURGERY WENT WELL. MATT." I'm like give me a fucking minute, I just woke up. Shit. "You peed yourself in surgery," the recovery nurse appropriately named Ruby (she was a fuckin' gem), cheerfully informed me. I guess that was in case I was wondering where my undies had gone. She presented me with my boxer briefs in a ziplock bag with moisture bubbles all along the plastic. "No thanks, Rubes, you can throw those away." Ruby kept the Dilaudid flowin' in my I-V. Dilaudid is my new favorite painkiller, allegedly ten times stronger than morphine. That little factoid came courtesy of Ruby who told me as if to say, this is the good shit.

I really liked my room on the 8th floor of the north tower which is the spinal floor. It had high ceilings and spacious with enough room for friends to lounge around. There was even enough room for me to dance with my I-V stand for my friend, Kate. The TV in my room was on at all times and served as a comfort during my morphine-hazed stay. With 60 channels, how a hospital named for a Hebrew could manage to have every Christian network on earth but not have Lifetime is beyond me. And to my dismay (and that's putting it lightly), I saw SNL alum, Victoria Jackson, on one of those stations talking about how she loves Jesus in that squeaky voice of hers. I thought I had had too much morphine or was watching an old SNL Church Lady sketch but it was real.

The nurses were weird and alternated so often, that the minute I got used to one, she was gone. I actually found the male nurses more comforting than the women which was surprising to me. One crazy nurse, Veronica, insisted that she watch me take every medication she gave me. Keep in mind that pain medications were administered through I-V, otherwise it was thyroid meds and anti-depressants--nothing you'd want to hoard. I swear to Christ (and my friend Adriana can verify this), she brought me a suppository so I could have my first BM in a week and told me she was going to put it in me. If only their had been photographers to capture my expression. I said, "Veronica, dear, I know how to put a suppository in" and she looked shocked and dismayed telling me that she has never had a patient do it themselves. Maybe that's because the 8th floor is typically the spinal floor but with a fully functioning spine, I was the only one who was going to insert anything into my anus. But the real humdinger was when Veronica insisted upon watching me insert the suppository. I kid you not (Ask Adriana). I said, "Well, how close up do ya have to get?" Veronica said that I didn't have to be rude about it and as she stood in the doorway watching me stick my finger up my ass I explained that I wasn't being rude, I was joking. Sensitive nurses.

This was my first time in the hospital and I deduce that it is one step above county jail. Not prison, but county jail. You get TV with limited channels, shitty food, people watching you while you're on the toilet, and I would liken my I-V to a set of handcuffs. At least in jail you can get laid.


Anonymous said...

oh my god!! i'm so sorry to hear about this! i'm glad you're okay now, though. crazy nurses.

- tom o'connor

patty chocolateMilk said...

hmmmm...only Christian channels at Cedar-Sinai? isn't that like some kind of oxymoron? dichotomy? conundrum? ok. i've used my 3 favorite words for your emergency. only other time was in re: to the righties complaining about us w/holding our pink dollars in post prop 8 protest of how they so freely spent their pre prop 8 dollars. so glad you're ok.

Sarah T. said...

Honey...when did this happen? I spent aloooot of time on the eighth floor of Cedar's last summer with my appendectomy debacle. Enjoy the morphine!

Kate said...

Hey- you got laid at Cedars!!! How dare you so quickly forget our special three minutes of bliss. Don't tell me you were REALLY sleeping. I thought that was just a joke you were playing on me.