Sunday, February 13, 2011

The mediport or much ado about nothing

So I had to get a mediport put in and it freaked me out a little bit. I know a lot of people thought it was silly that after these past weeks this little procedure would be the thing to put me over the edge, but it kinda did. I guess it was just something else to wrap my mind around. But I do like the idea of not getting another IV in my hand, so I was always going to go through with it. Plus I have this bizarre need to make my chemo nurses happy and they love ports. But I was nervous.

So after several false starts, I get to the pre-op appointment this past Tuesday and meet with the surgeon who will put it in. He is lovely, sweet, soft spoken and makes me feel completely at ease. His name will not stick in my head, I absolutely can not say it. So I just smile and call him doctor. They fill me in on how it works, where it will go, how it'll eventually desensitize and using it will get easier and easier until it basically just becomes apart of me. I've been told this by people who actually have it, so I'm feeling really good.

Friday arrives and we're on our way into the city. I snap at my husband in the car so yup I'm nervous. We get there and wait and wait and then I get called in. I get my final IV in my right hand, next to the vein that I passed out from last time so the fact that I remain conscious fills me with pride. The nurse who did it is from Staten Island, we tell each other our respective neighborhoods but that's it. I don't know if we were both equally embarrassed to be from there, or if we felt it wasn't enough to bond us more deeply. But she nailed that IV man! And she is a big port fan so she further informs about how it works.

I go back out to the waiting room and my mother points out that over the past 3 weeks no one ever asked my about my ginormous black and blue arms and then we decide it's probably the hair cut. Between the spikes, the bruises and the extra 70 pounds on my frame I either look like a drug addict or that I know how to swing a broken beer bottle. It was an interesting conversation.

Then I get called in and the nurse who calls me, sees the posse I brought and panics. I said, don't worry I just need him, pointing to John. He says "good, he's the most responsible looking one of the bunch!" It was quite funny. My mother feigned offense, but not so sure she was feigning...

They give me super comfy socks that the nurse is very proud of. I change into my gown and we wait some more. They put me on a stretcher and wheel me down to the OR. The distance between recovery where I hopped into the bed and the OR is ridiculously long. It's back and forth through a series of hallways, I immediately think whoever designed this is a class A moron. The poor transporter was working hard, she was a mega Yankee fan and was talking to John about all the Yankee stuff he was wearing. He got it from his cousin Lou, their dugout manager, she was totally impressed.

Then we get to the OR. The surgeon I originally met, comes in and says "I met you at clinic? You gave me consent for this?" I'm not thrilled that he sounds confused, but I said "yes, yes I did". Then he goes to another room and we hear tension. You realize that I'm on the table right...

Turns out there was a scheduling mix up and he was scheduled for 2 surgeries at the same time. But there's another surgeon available to do it, if I'm ok with it. While they are all arguing and John is becoming livid, a young surgeon comes to me and explains the procedure. She tells me that she's the one actually doing the procedure, they are just sorting out who is showing her how. This should probably freak me out, but it doesn't.

What is driving me nuts is meeting so many doctors who are younger than me. I don't know why this bothers me, age has nothing to do with what they know and being fresher out of school is probably a good thing. But the idea that she was playing with barbies while I was losing my virginity annoys the crap out of me. What's wrong with me?

So my surgeon, who's name I finally learned how to say, says to me "Ok I'm supposed to be in another room, but I will be here if that is what you want. Otherwise Dr. Colby is here and she can do it. Whichever you prefer." I agree to Dr. Colby who immediately introduces herself to me. I like her, she reminds me of Josephine the midwife who works with Dr. Reilly. She has to go over it all again with me and I have to sign another consent. But she's cool, she's chill and she's older than me. She also recognizes that my birthday is 3 weeks away (your date of birth is your identification at Sloan, the minute you walk into the building until you leave, you will give your birthday about 4700 times). She says, "hey that's my younger brother's birthday too, but he was born in 1972 though". So we've established that both she and her brother are older than me. This makes me feel good, why I don't know since I am unaware that her brother has any part in this procedure.

So I sign my papers, John leaves and they hook me up to my meds. I was completely awake but felt just the injection of the local anesthetic. Other than that I felt nothing but pressure. The surgery took literally 15 minutes. They spent more time preparing me for it than actually doing. There was lots of shoving so I figured I'd be sore when all the meds wore off.

When it was over I opened my eyes and everyone was gone. There was no one to say thank you to, except for two lovely nurses who tell me I did awesome. I live for nurse's praise can I tell you. I have an unnatural need to please them. So they wheel me back to recovery where I meet Bing.

She's my recovery nurse and she can't wait to tell me that Mubarack has left Cairo and the military is in charge in Egypt. This was news to me because last I heard he had punked the country. I wonder how he'd feel if he knew I associate him with lung cancer. She and I share our joy of witnessing democracy in action.

My family comes in and we watch CNN and the jubilation in Cairo. Anderson Cooper says we'll all remember where we were today, yes, yes I will.

After an hour I can't help but notice that no one is feeding the fat girl. I haven't eaten since 7pm and it's now 3pm. It's 20 hours, I'm about to eat Bing. She's small enough, I know I can take her. But she looks boney. The other nurse whose name I don't know looked fleshier, but she'd be harder to overpower...

No cookie, no juice. WTF? And where the hell are my cancer pretzels?!!!

Then I am set free. I inhale a granola bar and announce that we will be eating Mexican for dinner. So my port is in. All this fuss over a 15 procedure. My arm is still sore and laying down in a challenge, but it's not bad. Just sore, like someone stuck a thumb tack into my upper chest.

It's 2 inches above my right boob. I'll take a photo of it once it heals, right now it's just bandages and black and blue. But it'll be a little bump under my skin as it heals. I look forward to freaking out little kids with it.


  1. Yay! Go you! I'm so happy to hear the procedure went aces. I'm loving Sloan the more I hear about them. Lisa would like to work there, except that they're not part of a union and she's become a "unionized" gal working at Mt. Sinai.

    Thank god you'll no longer have to be poked for an IV again!

  2. I'm with Lisa! We're a big union family!

    But yeah Sloan is really earning my trust, I like my team more and more.