My daughter went to one of my neighbor's homes, and it was time to go. Again, one of the huge blessings in my life is the neighborhood in which I live. People here really look after one another. It reminds me of when I was growing up. The parents looked out for ALL of the kids. I also remember getting busted and yelled at by various neighbors, the knowing there was going to be a continuation of that punishment meted out at home, as it was a given that the neighbor would be calling my parents. It seemed horrible then, but I LOVE it now.
I went to the outpatient center on Friday at 11.00 am. It still seems hard to believe that a procedure like this is outpatient, but anything that gets me home at night with the promise of home cooking is a winner to me. The first person to meet me was the intake nurse, a friendly and efficient woman with a nice smile. The intake was straightforward, checking my past history, confirming the procedures to be done, health care information, HIPA form, etc.
Then they asked me to go back to the prep area, while my wife waited in the lobby area. I got to change out of my clothes and into the world of hospital high fashion. Blue gown (the opening goes in the back, even for this procedure) and brown fuzzy socks with grippy bottoms. I shuddered, then realized it was in response tot he temperature of the room, not the outfit.
Trish, my nurse, brought over a blanket and draped it around me. The blanket was, mercifully, heated. I soaked in its warmth, as I signed a couple more forms. She then confirmed all of the health information I had filled out outside. She then said she was going to hook me up to an IV, and asked, "Do you need to lie back for this?"
"I hate needles, but I've never had a problem before. I'll be fine," I answered.
She took my hand. "Um, you're sweating. I'm going to have you lie down."
So I'm thinking "Well, I'm a little nervous about losing my testicle and having cancer, so that might explain it" but I say, "Okay" and she pushes the button that makes the bed go back. She's a pro and the needle goes in quickly and easily. Another advantage of being a exercising, weight lifting, fair-skinned person: the veins are very easy to find. My wife is allowed to come in and join me after I get hooked up.
Then I was introduced to Dr. Khan (secretly hoping, upon that introduction I would not have to face any of his wrath), the anesthesiologist. He was very relaxed (hey! He's an anesthesiologist....what was I expecting) and he explained the procedure as very simple. They would put some relaxation meds into my IV, then have me breathe deeply into the oxygen mask and I would go to sleep.
Then Doctor Wenger came in and went over the procedure, but first told me the good news about the blood test. What it means is that he is almost positive it is not a non-seminoma, the really aggressive cancer (think Lance) that spreads everywhere. I am still facing seminoma, and should have the results back by Tuesday or Wednesday (quicker than I thought--normally this takes about ten days, by mostof what I have read). He was going to make an incision on the left side of my Speedo-line, push Lefty up through there, tie a tourniquet around it and cut it off. Then he'll be sent to a lab where he will be poked, prodded, tested and evaluated. Easy enough--let's do this...
I am wheeled into the operating room, which is even colder(!). I slide over from the gurney to the operating table and Dr. Khan starts setting up. He places an oxygen mask over my face and I fall blissfully to sleep.
At about 1.30 I wake up. It’s a slow awakening, but I know immediately where I am and why I am there. I reach down and check. Yes. Lefty is gone. I don’t feel sad, or upset, or anything negative. What I feel is relieved…
As I awaken, I realized I am in pain. A minor pain on my right side (Vasectomy) and a major pain in my left side (Radical Orchiectomy). My wife is there, and I smile at her. I give her a kiss, and she says I still smell like the chemicals from the anesthesia. The nurse gives my wife a prescription for pain killers that she can fill downstairs, so she does that while another nurse offers me a pain killer right away.
They ask me if I want to wheel out or walk out. Yeah right. I walk.