Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Surgical Eyes

* I don't presume to know for certain what my doctor was really thinking, but rather.. this post is subjective and based on what was going on with me and everything I was feeling while
en route to the OR.
Having said that...his compassion and concern was evident to me and helped me tremendously in those moments preceding my surgical procedure.

Back in June, the night I was being wheeled down to emergency surgery I was really scared.

First of all...I had this relapse of a constricted ureter after I thought I was healed. So that was more upsetting than any words can convey. And I had a serious blood infection. So I was already thinking about what all this meant and I was afraid I was going to be told that I had to have the surgery I have been resisting.

I was already thinking that I would beg him to let me stay stented as long as possible to give me time before the surgery.

He will never know how much he helped calm me by coming up to my room and assisting in wheeling me down. Although... he knows me as a patient pretty well...maybe he did. Maybe that is why he did.

But then while up in my room, he expressed his concern that if he couldn't open it and stent me that I would have to go to the larger hospital to have a tube put into my kidney. My fear-o-meter exploded at that moment. I didn't say much. I was questioning a little but I also said that if anyone could do it...I knew he could. I meant that with all my heart. I had and have that much confidence in him.

But now I was even more scared.

And this seems trivial by comparison...but I had been NPO for so long, that my inner lips were sticking to my gums and my throat had NO saliva in it and was very difficult to swallow and I figured by the time they got me ready for transport and I arrived to my destination... it would be at least 2-3 hours before the procedure in the other hospital. So that was an immediate physical comfort thing.

But truly the most important thing was that I did not want to have these more invasive things done to my body and the consequences of what it all meant. And...even though I knew and know the goal is to get better... I just wanted to remain under his care. I know if I have the big surgery I will have my other surgeon that takes on these surgeries (I am high risk and my doctor wanted me in a larger teaching hospital for various reasons) and at least I met and like him and had the sense he would take care of me. And we did have an excellent rapport at the consult and on the phone.. we clicked and maybe I am stupid..but that is important to me.

Even so... I still wish my main urologist was at least there for the surgery. Hey..ya can't blame a girl for dreaming! ;)

So I was scared.

I remember small talk on the way down and then I got quiet and the fear was looming large. I was thinking I know you can do this. You have to do this. Please ..I DON'T want a tube in my kidney! I don't want to be transported. I felt bad for my husband, that he was having to go through this...again.. but maybe worse. All this stuff and more was swirling around in my brain at lightening speed.

What I didn't realize... was that I had locked eyes with my dear doctor when we all got on to the elevator. I held his gaze or visa-versa... I don't know. But our eyes were locked onto each other's and I have no doubt that he could read my fear and hopes and everything in my eyes in that moment...because without breaking contact he gave me a slow deliberate wink, to which I think I faintly smiled back.

When he did that... I interpreted it to mean... I know you're scared, I am going to do everything I can... you're going to be alright...try not to worry. And his making the effort to go the extra mile to help in transport (which believe me I did not and do not expect) and to care enough to want to reassure me to the best of his ability... well let me tell you...I will never forget his kindness....and it went a long way toward reassuring me prior to his doing the procedure. Yes... I was still scared but not as bad as I otherwise would have been going into that OR.

Understanding - compassion - reassurance - protection is what I saw in his eyes.

That was a true language of the eyes. No words were necessary. It was a conversation between two people..with their eyes.

That is one conversation I am so glad I had.


Elaine said...

That is a lovely post. Dear Seaspray I have been so worried about you.

Take care now.


SeaSpray said...

Aww,'re so sweet. :) and I'm fine. Thank you. :)

mottsapplesauce said...

Boy does this bring back a flood of memories SeaSpray. Especially my urologist, who had one hell of a kidney stone to tackle 3 yrs ago. His partner took one look at my films & said, 'you got the Rock of Gilbraltar in your back!'
Needless to say I was scared out of my wits because I had no choice but to have major surgery. He took very good care of me though, even though pre-op was so hellish, but that's another story. Isn't it great to have such a wonderful connection like that with your physician? It's like that with me & my GI doc, urologist, & PCP. I value their friendship as much as I value their knowledge. I trust them with my life, & I always throw a little extra kudos their way every chance I get. Awesome post!

SeaSpray said...

Yes it is great having a wonderful connection with urodoc. U sound like me MottsA! I could've written everything you said because I feel the same way you do. :)

I too value our Dr-pt relationship and can't imagine going through what I have with anyone else.

It sounds like you went through a difficult time. Rock of Gibraltar? OUCH!