Everybody was really surprised, as the entire routine took about four hours, house to house. Apparently this type of thing used to require an overnight stay and a lot of grief.
Having worked in the field, I don't like doctors and I like hospitals less. But I have to say that the experience was not bad, all things considered. The hospital ran like a well-oiled machine, the surgeon was on time and visited me immediately after, and the staff was competent and really personable.
For those of you familiar with gallbladders, this was apparently an interesting case. Initial symptoms looked a lot more like gastritis than gallbladder. The diagnosis was a bit of a surprise but we trust the diagnostician. The tests barely showed anything wrong. The surgeon said he only operated because of the family history. He was shocked to find the bladder was bogged, whatever that means. Apparently it was much worse than any of the indicators. He said the timing was right because it might have burst in the next two weeks.
We'll take those odds.
Once again we had a reminder that you have to be up on your condition and your meds before and after the procedure. In spite of getting about five doctors together on pain meds, the staff still questioned my wife about the meds. She actually brings a list of her meds with reason, dose, and prescribing doctor noted in case there are any questions. In spite of this, they still tried to give her narcotics for pain (her pain meds are non-narcotic).
In short, don't go along for the medical ride. Question everything and go no further until you're satisfied with the answers. The life you save may be your own.
You know for a fact that absolutely no outing could possibly proceed without grief (hence this blog), so allow me to let loose.....
Since when do you need to show up at the hospital with two hundred dollars before you have a procedure? Answer: since we got HMOs and since my coworkers are apparently crack addicts.
Follow this logic (if you can): too many people were using emergency rooms as their primary care, so the insurance slapped on a fifty dollar fee for using the emergency room; waived if you got admitted. Then it went to one hundred dollars. I get the point- you were being penalized for using the emergency room.
I recently discovered that if admitted, there is now a five hundred dollar fee! So now we're being penalized for being admitted, as opposed to being penalized for just appearing in the emergency room.
When I complained to my benefits people about the fees, they told me those fees got raised so they didn't have to raise other fees.
And that helps me how?
So I'm minding my own business in the waiting room, which is an impressive feat. Today was especially cold, perhaps out of spite. The hospital doors opened right into the waiting room, dumping large amounts of arctic air into the area.
There was a very large flat-screen television mounted in the corner of the room. You could see it from outside. But even if you couldn't see it, you could hear it. There was no apparent way to turn down the thunderous aural assault. To make matters worse, there was no apparent way to change the damn channel either.
I cannot afford a flat-screen television that large. Strangely enough, I cannot afford two hundred dollars copay for the procedure either, yet there I sat, traumatized by both.
There were several signs on the wall that I truly appreciated. They told everyone to be courteous to your neighbors by not talking loudly, especially on cell phones.
Personally I thought it was a violation of the Geneva Convention to force anyone in a confined area to watch The View. Perhaps this hospital never got the memo. Next up, possibly to rhyme, possibly just to annoy, came The Chew.
I know this in spite of never having looked at the screen. I was trying to check email and amuse myself in other ways.
It was at about this point that I got company in the waiting room. There was one fellow closer to the television but by the look on his face, I think he was incoherent long before he sat down. To my right was the television, to my left were two yentas. Yenta is a Yiddish word meaning chatterbox or ratchetjaw. So here were the perfect pair of negative Jewish stereotypes for my amusement.
But amusement is not really accurate. Nor bemusement. Perhaps something a bit closer to Two Hour Trip to Hell. When I die, I figure I'm going south anyway. If it's every bit as bad as its press indicates, hell will be eternity at Chuck E. Cheese's.
You have to understand my plight... thunderous bad tv on my right and two loud yentas to my left. There was simply nowhere to go. The phrase stereo assholes most accurately depicts my dilemma.
The Chew is apparently some sort of cooking show. I would place it squarely in the Annoying Cooking Show category in spite of not watching many cooking shows. Suffice it to say Jacques Pepin it wasn't. What made the show more intolerable was the color commentary from the yentas....
tv: ...we start with olive oil
yenta #1: ooh, I don't use olive oil.
yenta #2: yeah, it's too expensive.
yenta #1: right.
I'm still trying to read something on my phone.
tv: we'll be right back.
yenta #1: there are too many commercials
yenta #2: yes there are
yenta #1: I wish they wouldn't have so many commercials
Now I'm trying to read a book. And failing.
yenta #1: where do we check the status?
yenta #2: I don't know - go to the desk.
yenta #1: there's nobody there
yenta #2: isn't that just perfect. Nobody's home.
yenta #1: there should be somebody there
yenta #2: yes there should. They're absolutely horrible.
yenta #1: horrible.
I'm reading the signs up on the wall, which state to be courteous to your neighbors by not talking loudly, especially on cell phones. I was thinking of repeatedly pointing to the signs but I had no way of knowing if either of them could read. And by this point the other guy was looking even more glazed over than before. I'm not positive but I think he killed himself rather than having to listen to the yentas for another minute.
And I felt a sudden pang of jealousy.
yenta #1: oh my God, it was eight minutes.
yenta #2: eight minutes?
yenta #1: eight minutes before they went to commercial! I timed it.
yenta #2: so you need to pick up his prescription?
yenta #1: yes, on the way home.
yenta #2: [groan] how long will it take?
yenta #1: i don't know.
yenta #2: you know you can't just take a prescription in and expect it to be filled on the spot. It doesn't work like that.
I noticed I was reading the same paragraph over and over again.
yenta #2: is he done yet?
yenta #1: wait, let me look at the board... it says he's in ABC1.
yenta #2: what does that mean?
yenta #1: wait, let me look again. Maybe he goes to ABC2 after.
yenta #2: go find someone and ask. Sheesh.
yenta #1: there's nobody there.
yenta #2: still? This is terrible. You'd think it was their job!
And if I shoot them, I will be the bad guy.
yenta #1: it's very cold out.
yenta #2: yeah, well, they shouldn't put the door so close. Am I taking you to the pharmacy? Maybe you can tell them it's an emergency for the sick patient in the car. Because if I have to wait, you're walking home. They should have told you this up front.
yenta #1: they did tell me. They gave me prescriptions. Oh no - another commercial. I forgot to time it this time. So many commercials.
Some argue religion. Some argue supreme beings or deities. I am here to tell you that angels exist, ladies and gentlemen. I saw my first one today. Yes, she was dressed in scrubs so you couldn't see her wings but she was an angel all the same. She stepped into the waiting room and asked if the yentas were there to pick up Steve. The yentas said yes and stood. It was at this precise moment that I could see her halo and golden light filled the room as the yentas prepared to get the )$*# out of my waiting room.
It saddens me that I shall never again see a sight as beautiful.
At that point, all I had to do was wait. And listen to soap operas in my right ear.