Out of Surgery; Out of my Mind


So. My ass surgery has been completed, and that is good news. While it seems my fistula was a nasty little beastie, Dr. Ashworth found no suspicious growths or leaky bowels, and that is great news. I didn’t have any bad reactions to my anesthesias, more good news, and I didn’t get arrested or Tazer zapped- great news.

I think I might have offered to trade sexual favors for Insurance deductibles after they put me under, but my memory is fuzzy there. I guess no body was offended because, like I said, no arrest and no Tazer-inflicted woodie.

The staff at North Austin Surgical Center were fantastic, which is good news, and bad. First for the good news, because the good news is the bad news. These guys were nice, supportive, thoughtful, funny, tolerant, informative and well trained. Every person I encountered, and there were many, was a professional.

And a human.

From the minute I was checked in, I saw nothing but smiles. Not those shitty fake smiles like lawyers give you when they pretend to understand, or care about, what you are dealing with. Nope, these smiles were the ones that come from the heart, and use the face as a vehicle to communicate the sentiment. These smiles were sincere.

Each looked me in the eye when they spoke to me; they answered all of my questions directly; they detailed every expected event of my procedure, and carefully explained possibilities of unexpected events. I have already detailed for you the very high regard in which I hold Dr. Rodney Ashworth, my surgeon. He and his nurse, Christine, are remarkable examples of good bedside manner and empathetic medical care.

Somehow, all the guys in the Surgical Center were cut from the same Hypocritical cloth as the Doc, and I am herein expressing my gratitude. Thanks to Stacey, Shelly, Rene, Anna, Evelyn, and Linda and Ann. Those women, ladies one and all, were my nurses, and Doctor Gras was my anesthesiologist. Thank you for everything.

I must admit that I lost the paper on which I had written everyone’s name, and I needed Stacey to look them up on my chart. When I told her that I had the blog posting all ready except for their names, she said to me, she says, “Well, Mooner, if you can’t remember our names how can you remember what happened. You were knocked-out big time, buster.”

She had a good point, but I can’t let the truth stand in the way of a good story. Anyway, everyone was great.

“OK, Mooner, how can any of that be bad news?” is what you are all asking, right? You want to know how I can find bad news in such good news. Fine, here’s the deal.

See, North Austin Surgical Center is owned and operated by Saint David’s Hospital System, a money-generating business for the Catholic. Part of my pre-surgery anxiety was seated in my personal bias towards the Holy Roman Catholic Church. I assumed that the Catholics would run this business with the same brain they use to run their religion, and that I would have Catholic doctrine infused into my already heightened uneasiness over getting my ass all chopped up.

I was prepared to do my best to ignore all of the Christs-on-crosses and religious posters that would be hanging everywhere. I visited a Catholic church with a buddy back to grade school, and his church had this giant Christ-on-a-cross statue. It was on the wall behind the Priest and it was lit by floodlights, each of which focused upon an unsavory aspect of the crucified Christ. The lights punctuated His bloody wrists and ankles where the spikes pegged him tight; the open wound on His side with the blood graphically flowing.

In the brightest light of all was the statue’s face. Christ’s countenance was the sculpted feature that messed me up really bad. This was the “Face of Christ’s Agony” look, and all of you Catholics know what I’m talking about. I sat there, staring into the eyes of the Son of God, and I could feel every torturous act inflicted on his body as if I were one of the thieves who hung beside him.

I could hear the slaps of whips, the pounding of spikes with heavy wooden mallets. I could feel the weight of my body jerk at wrists and ankles on those spikes as the Roman Soldiers roughly dropped our crosses into their crudely dug, rocky holes. Halfway through the service, as I imagined the sharpened blade about to slash my side, I freaked out and ran screaming from the church.

I still see that statue’s face in bad dreams. I had numerous witty remarks planned for when I encountered the lobotomized nurse who I imagined was going to tell me that, “God is going to be assisting Dr. Ashworth today.”

And I was especially looking forward to my visit from the priest. Oh yea, I had a full load of shit to drop on his head.

I didn’t realize until I was coming around after the operation, that much of my anxiety over this business was centered in my expectations that St. David’s would get all Catholic on me. I was worried that I would get preached at, and looked down upon, by sanctimonious asswipes.

The thought of having my naked torso exposed to people who have already condemned my heathen soul to an eternity of fiery hell, made my stomach twist up. I was also worried that one of the Catholic women who protest routinely at the Planned Parenthood location over to Anderson Mill would be my nurse.

I was petrified that the protester would seek her revenge on me while I was under the knife, and perform the promised castration she threatened when I disrupted her protesting this one time. She was mightily pissed that I joined her sign-waving crowd with a sign of my own. Their signs had all of the typical anti-abortion crappy and trite sayings, like, “Honk if you want to save babies,” and “Kill abortionists, not babies,” and “Catholics Against Birth Control.”

Mine said, “I’m an abortion and I’m OK!” on the one side. Other side said, “Fuck the Pope!”

So anyway, I’d been laying up at night worrying that the one lady would be one of my nurses.

I had planned to spend this time telling you about my terrible experience surrounding surgery, and follow that up with the misery of recovery. But only the misery of recovery part would be accurate. The entire experience at North Austin Surgical Center is as good as it could be without them having icy cold Carta Blanca beer as one of their post-op drink choices. I chose Coke for mine, but it lacks the power to punch through the taste an operation leaves in a person’s mouth and throat.

It takes more than sugary bubble water to cut the anesthetic aftertaste, and that nasty-assed way your throat feels after they remove the breathing tube.

Anyway, I feel like crap, but the worst should be over. Manana, y’all.

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4 Responses to “Out of Surgery; Out of my Mind”

  1. Doug Bell says:

    Mooner, my new friend, St. David’s Hospital was founded by St. David’s Episcopal Church in the 1920’s. It is not a Roman Catholic organization. It was originally an Episcopal hospital. Now it is just a secular hospital. The St. David’s Foundation receives a lot of money each year from the hospital. The money is spent on many fine charities in central Texas. So relax, the Pope has no connections to this organization.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks, Doug. That must explain why everyone was so nice. My very bad.

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