Shortly after my surgery, I remember glancing at a Facebook post about how my friend Laura had her pinning ceremony (for nursing). A few days later, I wrote her an email and told her what I liked about some of the nurses I’ve met so far and how she’d have no problem meeting my standards. As a daughter of a nurse and now a frequent patient, I find compassion and a great personality to be the key to making the uncomfortable stuff bearable. Yes, I definitely want medical professionals who know what they’re talking about and who I can trust with my life, but I also need to see the fun side.
When I was first taken to get prepped for surgery, I met a very jovial nurse named Maureen. She immediately put me at ease and insisted on calling me Lexie because she has a god-daughter named Alexis and she calls her Lexie. I told her that only friends or family call me Lexie, but it was fine that she continued to call me Lexie. As soon as I was dressed and my vitals were taken, Maureen brought back Bri and my parents to wait with me. Shortly after, another hospital staff member (not sure of name or position, but probably not a nurse) came to walk us upstairs. Maureen saw me walking away and hollered, “Good luck Lexie. You’ll do fine.” Unfortunately, the new woman was not as friendly or warm. She didn’t do anything wrong, but she just didn’t have personality. A short elevator ride up one floor felt like an eternity with her. We walked down a few short corridors after the elevator. Bri and my parents were still by my side. Then Ms. No Personality gave us general directions, “Turn right, then 1st left” (or something like that). So, I repeated the directions back to her, only to be abruptly told that no, I don’t get to go that way. I have to leave my family and go someplace else.
Well, that is when it all hit me. I had been in for a minor procedure with anesthesia before and Bri was allowed to stay with me until the lights almost went out. So, why was it different now? Of course the tears started flowing freely and I quickly gave hugs and kisses so I could be escorted to the unknown. I walked into a room full of beds and was directed to a specific bed and just left there. No one really told me what was next or what to expect and I was alone. I would see nurses walk by to visit other patients and I could hear other conversations from between the sheets that separated the beds, but no one was coming to talk to me.
Finally, after laying alone in my bed for about 20 minutes crying my eyes out, I received a visitor. A male nurse, Sal had come to my rescue. He was a heavy-set man with a Latino flare and he was great. He was hilarious, but he knew where to draw to line. And he really helped dry up the tears. I had overheard him speaking with another patient earlier and I was secretly hoping that he would come by my area. Sal took my blood pressure and asked a series of questions: allergies? medications? vitamins? prior surgeries? problems with anesthesia? All were questions I had been asked a million times earlier and would be asked a million times more. Shortly after Sal left, a medical student working with the anesthesiologist came by and asked the same questions. He walked away and a nurse anesthetist came in to start my IV and ask the same questions. I think I should just record my answers or have them already typed up to just hand over. Anyway, as I’ve done before, I also explained to her how much I hate needles, so she was nice enough to cover everything up.
The anesthesiologist came in and introduced herself as Dr. Moore. I had noticed her earlier walking back and forth and talking with her colleagues. Again, I secretly wished that she was the one that would be taking care of me. She was so short and petite and really pretty. I talked with Dr. Moore for a while about my situation and why I was there that day. She seemed genuinely concerned for me and for some reason this made me emotional again and I started crying. She quickly spit out the ever familiar series of questions and I started crying even more. She shifted her line of questions and asked me who was with me at the hospital. Dr. Moore told me I needed my husband with me and although he was not supposed to be in that area, she was going to try to get him in. A few short minutes later, Bri was standing by my bed. Honestly, I do not remember much after that, but I’m really happy that I was able to just see him one more time before I went to sleep. So, thank you Dr. Moore!!!