Saturday, August 15, 2009

Surgery Day

I got up early Friday morning and showered preparing for the trip to Portland with Judy and my surgery on my three discovered areas of Melanoma. We stopped first at the diner for breakfast and to say Hi to the crew. I opened my email to a note from the National Restaurant Association. I received a letter the other day saying that we did not win the national award but were one of the finalists. In the email, they stated that as one of the finalists, they would like us to send them pictures of our various events so they can prepare a presentation of us. They also said to look forward to an invite to the awards ceremony in Washington DC. I still do not know what finalist means, however and so we will have to see whether we will end up going all that way or not. I am still completely humbled and proud to be the Oregon representative.

Judy and I drove up to Portland and picked up Trinity from our friends, Randy and Anisha Slocum's house in Vancouver where she stays while working in Portland. We arrived at the hospital and checked into the dermatology department shortly after noon.

I was quickly taken back into surgery by the nurse, Wendy who chatted with me on the way back about Bend as her parents live in Crooked River Ranch. She asked if I was the Jake's from the truck stop and I gave her the capsulized story of our transition as she placed me in the room and began to prep me for surgery. She told me that my surgeon would be a Dr. Foster and she explained what would be done in the procedure and the needed possible side effects as are required to give you before you sign the consent forms.

Two young people came into the room. A woman and man (both quite young). I was introduced to the woman, Dr. Foster. I smiled, shook her hand and said, "I am sure that you are tired of hearing the Dr. Foster nursery rhyme.". "What rhyme is that?", she said so I recited, "Dr Foster went to Gloster in a shower of rain. He stepped in a puddle up to his middle and never was seen again.".

The fellow with her laughed and they all said that they had never heard that Nursery Rhyme before. A nurse from the other side of the curtain stuck her head around, "Neither have I.", she said. "You are kidding me.", I stated. "None of your parents ever read you nursery rhymes?". "Not that one.", came the responses.

I talked with Dr. Foster and her associate about the procedure and it was decided to attack both of my frontal problems at the same time. The doc would do my leg while her associate would handle my abdomen. I felt since the doc was right there that this young guy would be alright as she could assist him if needed. "OK, I am ready, Doc, cut away! Slice and Dice me.". They both drew diagrams of how much skin they would be taking off which seemed to be more than I had thought. I knew that they would be taking a centimeter around the original but discovered that that would be beveled out to around a three inch stretch of skin to better help them stitch me back up.

While they prepped me, the nurse told me that I would have to come back in a couple of weeks to get the stitches out. "Couldn't Margo do that in Bend?", I asked. She ducked out of the room for a second and came back with the good news. Margo would be in Bend on the 28th and would be able to do so. Margo is their traveling Dermatologist who was the Doc who discovered the three spots on me a few weeks back.

They lay me down on the surgery bed, making me as comfortable as they possibly could and began laying out various covers surrounding the two areas of attack. Then almost in unison, the two young people were standing over me with needles in hand. "We are about to sting you a bit.", said Dr Foster. I felt the needles go into my skin or at least the first small jabs. "When ya going to start.", I quipped. "Just what we wanted to hear." stated the doc. I lay my head back and closed my eyes as the two deadened the areas. I let my thoughts drift to family, friends, and other places and I actually think I may have drifted off for a second till I felt a tug on one of the cuts and realized that both were working away with their scalpels.

I looked over to the doc and quipped, "Don't let this guy on my belly cut to deep, OK? There is some pretty important stuff under his knife right now.". He smiled and said, "I THINK I am not going to deep." "You done this before?", I asked. "Yes" came the answer. "Good, just wanted to make sure I wasn't your first rodeo.". He smiled and actually chuckled at that one.

At one point, the doc and Wendy pulled on the covers a bit which caused the fellow to pull back. I looked up to him and said, "My wife steals my covers all the time and then blames it on me.". "My husband steals my covers all the time too.", said Dr Foster.

We talked back and forth a bit, me making sure that the conversation was rather light as I wanted them to concentrate on my skin not what I was saying. I think I eventually might have drifted off to a short nap again because before I knew it, they were both stitching me up. I quipped some more with the two and before I knew it they were asking me to sit up and look at their handy work. The cut and stitch on my belly was very straight and precise. The one on my leg that the doc had done was not at straight but OK except their seemed to be a dip in my skin in the middle of it. That was common, I was told by the doc. "That is OK,", I said with a wink, "My wife will probably think it is sexy.". I looked over at the other and said, "Good job there guy. You will make a fine doc one day. You win the prize for the best looking of the two.". The both looked at one another and started to laugh. "This is my supervisor.", Dr Foster stated, "My teacher.". I looked at him and asked, "So, you are the boss here?". "Yes", he smiled of which we all got a good laugh out of.

While Wendy got my two areas wrapped up, the two docs went to the other side of the curtain and began consultation with their next patient. Wendy got all of her bandaging items lined up and ready. "I like to get everything in order before I start as I want it to be just right.", she said. "OCD?", I asked. "No, but that is funny, though, as I work for the OCD...the Oregon College of Dermatology". "Oh, I was wondering as I have a friend with OCD.", I stated.

Wendy finished up and the supervisor came back in. "I will do your back as Dr. Foster handles our other patient.", he stated. While he worked on my back, I asked him how old he was . He laughed and said, "Physically or mentally? I am thirty yrs old but don't want to be old so mentally, I am often times seventeen." "Neither of those numbers are very old, Doc, I have a son who is thirty also. You married.". "I am married to my job right now.", he stated. "I don't know right now if I want to marry at least not yet.".

As he worked on my back and knowing that he was an accomplished dermatologist, I did not worry of making the talk to small and we talked of life, jobs, kids, areas, and whatever and the time went by rather quickly as he finished up on his area and Dr. Foster came back into the room and joined him for the stitch up. Before he left, the supervisor (I never got his name) came around the table, shook my hand and said, "It has been a pleasure meeting you.". "Same here, Doc.", I returned and he left the room with Dr. Foster and I could see he was still instructing her as he walked out the door with her.

Wendy wrapped me up and led me back out to the waiting room where Trin and Judy were waiting for my return. The clock read three Oclock. The whole procedure had taken nearly three hours.

While waiting for my prescription of Tylenol three from the pharmacy, we went over the walking bridge to the Oregon Health Center which has Dornbeckers off on one side of it and Judy and Trin showed me places that they had seen and looked at while I was in including the tram down the hill that they had rode. Some one had told us of a lunch area there that was pretty good.

As we waited for the elevator, a woman stopped and turned to me. "I thought that was you.", she said. I introduced her to Judy and Trin. "This is Doctor Foster from Gloster.", I said and she smiled. Judy asked her if I had been a good patient and the doc told her that I was an excellent patient. We smiled and said goodbye to the doc as the elevator opened and we went down to the cafeteria for some lunch.

Afterwards, we went back to the pharmacy to pick up the now ready prescription. The pharmacist was concerned as I had a previous reaction to percocete and the two had some similarities. I assured her that I had taken this one before and so we got the medicine and off we went.

We were very fortunate to find the right roads that led us past most of the worst of the rush hour traffic and arrived at Randy's house to find them home. Randy and Anisha have adopted three boys from the same family and they all call me Papa Kyle. As I walked in the door, one of them screamed, "Papa Kyle is here.". I gave high fives and sat talking with Randy while playing with the three boys. As we left all three of them had to give me high fives at the same time which was loads of fun.

I was still feeling pretty good and since I knew that it would be dark before we arrived in Bend and Judy does not like to drive after dark, I insisted on taking the helm on the way home. We stopped in Troutdale for gas and another quick bite to eat and then set sail for Bend. By the time we got to Madras, the deaden in my belly and back was pretty much gone and it would not matter if I was driving or not, but I began to feel every bump in the road. I felt my knee and it was still quite numb. I can only assume that Dr. Foster used more deadener.

We went to bed as soon as we got home and i dropped off to sleep pretty fast. But with each turn, the tenderness woke me up. I decided to get up and write this piece while it was still fresh on my mind and hoping to make myself tired enough to return to sleep. Why have I not taken the Tylenol? Probably because of what the pharmacist said about it's similarities to percocet. I think I just need to get over that, and take one so that I can get some rest.
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