Friday, August 15, 2008

Surgery Summer Camp

I've blogged a lot about the results of hysteroscopy, egg retrieval, and embryo transfer but I haven't told you much about the experiences I had. They're an important part of making this adventure an adventure.

The clinic I'm going to is quite posh by Bavarian standards: gorgeous artwork lines the walls (the head doctor is a collector), stunning and exotic fresh flower arrangements are delivered weekly, and there are upscale beverage choices to name just a few of the amenities. Of course none of these are the reason we chose this clinic; I'm merely illustrating it's not your average doctor's office. Two of the things that really impressed me were their in-house lab (a veritable luxury here) and their own operating theater which is in the same building but on a different floor than the main office.

When I went in for my hysteroscopy, I was given a packet of information, in German, and I didn't translate it until the night prior to the procedure. It stated I was not to eat or drink, be sober, not smoke, etc. before being anesthisized--the regular things they tell you before surgery. It then went on to say I must bring a sheet, blanket, pillow, nightgown, and pair of socks. Huh? I don't even own a nightgown. I rustled up all the other stuff and packed my bag. When I arrived, TOIAW remained in the waiting room and I was taken through a door that led to a room with four beds and on the other side of that was another room with beds also. I chose a bed, made it, and changed into my oversized t-shirt because that's all I could find. The women whose bed end-to-end with mine was all over it and was sitting in bed doing Sudoku puzzles. I was the first patient called to have a procedure so I walked to the operating room and the next thing I knew I woke-up back in "my" bed. I slept for a while longer then asked someone when I could leave. She said I should drink something first and offered me coffee. Ummm, how about water? All during this time they kept bringing patients back from the operating room via stretcher--tummy down--then rolling them onto their backs in their beds. I eventually just got dressed and left and no one really seemed to mind (but I was only going to the main office to see my doctor for the results).

For the retrieval, it was the same routine. I had found a nightgown while packing so that was a bonus (my Ma--grandmother--had given it to me so I was happy to wear it). We arrived a little early and found a wating room full of people. As soon as the nurse opened the door for us to go into the bunk room/recovery room, there was a mad dash. I kissed TOIAW quickly and left--I didn't want to get the sucky bed. I actually got the same bed I had for the hysteroscopy. There were only two other women in my bunk room one of which I dubbed Supermodel. Supermodel didn't speak English but the other one did and she was nice. I really just wanted to make my bed, change, and relax but they were chatty. Again, I was the first person for surgery. Same drill, I woke-up on my bed only this time I was in a lot of pain. My bunk mates were clearly enjoying camp way more than me as they sang along with he radio and showed each other pictures of their dogs and maybe children...or perhaps she said her dog was her child...my German isn't good and my pain was substantial. I was hoping a camp counselor would come in and tell them to SHUT UP but someone did finally turn out the lights. For all I know, they then braided each other's hair. Thankfully, Supermodel's name was called and there was silence. I eventually got dressed and went to the doctor's office where I ran into Supermodel. Her hair looked as if Ken Paves flew in and spent three hours to give it the perfectly tousled look--you know, one that said, "I just had my eggs retrieved, but I'm still sexy"--and she had on enough make-up for three people but it looked great and I was amazed she was able to do it so quickly.

I believe it's reasonable to say the weekend between the retrieval and transfer was a tad bit stressful. Apparently when TOIAW spoke to the embryologist he told him I was supposed to bring my IVF Kit with me on the transfer day as well but TOIAW didn't tell me this nor had anyone told me before. The first person I saw when I walked in the waiting area was Supermodel and then I saw her bag next to her...crap! I freed myself from Supermodel's clutches (we were BFF's and that day she had morphed into Miss Congeniality and, I kid you not, she was going around introducing me to people...nevermind that she doesn't speak English and I don't speak German) and asked the front desk staff if I needed everything today and she said no. Whew! So, when TOIAW walked in (he had to stop by the bank because at this clinic IVF is on a pay-as-you-go basis) I told him about my freak out and he told me what the embryologist told him. The next couple of minutes were "uncomfortable" for him. We then went to a secret waiting area to avoid Supermodel. In addition, there was a lot of extra room there so, in the event I had a stroke while waiting for the embryologist's report, the paramedics would have room to work on me. Fortunately, I didn't require medical attention but you can bet that after the embryologist told us about the embryos I asked him about alternative arrangements for bedding and a gown. He had some, he assured me.

So off to the operating theater we went. The embryologist was able to rustle up everthing but a gown so I made my bed and just stayed in my clothes. I tried to avoid Supermodel's room but I was the last to arrive and it was the only choice. She is a really nice person, I could tell but I just wanted to relax and pray and she kept chatting. [Oh, and she looked like she was dressed for a slumber party at the Playboy mansion...short, tight, sparkly tank dress-like thing and pig tails that, curiously, she did not have earlier. Thankfully, once the doctor arrived, I was the first one called back. I left my shirt on and disrobed from the waist down. When they were done, I was rolled onto a stretcher and then wheeled through the room NAKED FROM THE WAIST DOWN. At least they covered me when I got on the bed.

Once I have a baby in my arms, I will laugh about this ordeal...right?

1 comment:

The Gutsy Mom said...

Okay, so they were able to drum up some sheets for your bed, but no blanket or scrap of a shower towel or ANYTHING to put over you while they wheeled you back to your room? Seriously. :)