They always tell you...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

They always tell you...

...that there are risks involved before under­going any surgical procedure, but I wonder how many of us really hear what they are telling us.

I know I didn't when I was being prepared for my gall bladder removal in Spring '02.

The kindly, and top-ranked, surgeon my wife found for me explained the laparoscopic pro­cess to me, and that if all went well, I'd be out of the hospital in less than 24 hours.

I heard him say the "if all goes well" part, I just didn't pay much attention to it.

I certainly should have, because instead of hopping out of bed and dashing off to see my son and Blues Traveler at The Vanderbilt, I came to the following day with a "candy-striper" fumbling around my nether parts trying to insert her first ever catheter!

No, this was not the stuff of fantasies... I was pretty certain of that because I felt as if I'd been struck by a semi on the L.I.E.

It was subsequently explained to me that the laparoscopy had started off well enough, but when it was discovered how severely impacted my gall bladder was, they went to Plan B... which involved opening me up like a can of rancid cat food and dispensing with the organ the old-fashioned way!

I missed visiting with my son on the B.T. tour, confined to the Stony Brook Surgical ward for the next three days, and spent the remainder of June and July recovering, mostly from the damned anesthesia.

It was all supposed to be a simple surgery which turned out not to be... but I survived.

Solange Magnano

The same may not be said of the former Miss Argentina 1994, one Solange Magnano.

"The 38-year-old former beauty queen died after undergoing cosmetic surgery to tone up her buttocks at a Buenos Aires clinic on Sunday."

The one-time model, a mother of 7-year-old twins, apparently felt that her butt was a bit too saggy.

("Really? Well, welcome to motherhood," my wife said.)

Elective surgery... a gluteoplasty... for some­thing so superficial seems silly in the extreme, especially given how things turned out!

There were "complications from a pulmonary embolism," and following three days on the critical list, she passed away.

A terrible happenstance, but vanity, thy name was Solange!

And me, with cataract surgery coming up shortly, I'll be listening more closely to what my surgeon has to say, no matter how per­functory it seems!


1. HighHatSize said...

Dear Dean,

I am sure that your wife has apprised you of the low risk of cataract surgery. Don't sweat it.

As for any surgery that requires general anesthesia, it is the anesthesia itself that is the greatest risk.

If the patient isn't in great physical condition, a bad anesthesia reaction can cause cascading organ failure.

I know this because someone I loved died two years ago from an operation that none of us thought was life-threatening. Her surgery was elective, but necessary for a decent quality of life. It wasn't cosmetic.

Nevertheless, had I considered for a moment that death was other than a remote possibility, I would never have encouraged her to proceed. But for my stupidity, she would still be here.

While cataract surgery isn't cosmetic either, my concerns are focused on the anesthesia... 7½ years ago, that was the major stumbling block in my recovery.

Thank you for you concerns. Keep givin' 'em hell over on 27East!
– Dean

2. Shepard M. Scheinberg said...

Do not dispair for in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

How comforting!

However, what Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) actually said was: "In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

And as W.C. Fields, in his Wilkins Micawber guise, said: "Nil desperandum!"
– Dean

3. HighHatSize said...

Dear Dean,

I could be mistaken, but I do not think that cataract surgery involves general anesthesa. There may be no anesthesia at all.

The patient is seated in a specially designed chair and his eyeball is numbed. Perhaps he is given a tranquilizer but I don't think that he is anesthetized.

The operation is quite brief, untraumatic, and minimally invasive. The only trauma is a one or two millimeter incision in the eyeball that the patient never feels.

Mrs. Speir concurs.

4. Tugboat Bertha said...

Dear boy, I had this done in July 2008 and survived and drove my car two days later. The dearly beloved here will have a cataract removed in February. His only worry is that I will be driving him for a couple of days. Him doesn't like my driving.

Interesting how common a contention this is between couples.

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