Posted by: gaylejervis | April 7, 2010

TOOLS TO ENSURE A SUCCESSFUL SURGERY

The nurse laid a blanket that was inflating with heat from the compression machine on top of me.  She told me that some doctors are now requesting this blanket since research is indicating that it speeds recovery and that this heat helps temperatures from dropping when the anesthesia is initiated.

I had been asked whether I wanted to lie on a bed or sit on a reclining chair while I was being “warmed all over.”  I had opted for the chair and that is where I “rested” for two hours prior to my surgery on Friday March 12th.   As Greg sat beside me in this pre-op room I appreciated this extra “tool” to help my recovery.  However, I had also brought my own set of “tools” to help ensure a successful surgery!

As soon as the nurse  finished taking all of my vitals, I put on my  headphones and pressed play on my I-Pod.  I closed my eyes and began listening to the meditation called, “Day of Surgery”.  I understood the importance of approaching surgery with confidence rather than anxiety.  And as I listened to the suggestions that enabled me to experience relaxation, I also listened carefully to the suggestions of how my body would respond to this surgery very positively. The “heated blanket” was a nice “prop” as I imagined myself in Santorini chatting with God!  I took deep breaths every time I could feel  stress trying to have control over me.  Thirty minutes later I was pleased with the results!  I had timed listening to this meditation so that it would end about ten minutes prior to the orderly coming to pick me up.  I proceeded to take my bottle of water into the bathroom.  I hadn’t been able to drink anything since midnight and since the beginning of my chronic illness I have experienced terrible thirst.  Without constantly sipping on water, my tongue literally sticks to the roof of my mouth and it is difficult to swallow with the lack of saliva.  Therefore, I decided to bring a bottle of water with me to the hospital and I received permission to swish water in my mouth and to gargle with the water just prior to the surgery.  I left the bathroom feeling a little refreshed and feeling very happy I had thought to bring this bottle of water!

I returned to my chair and sat again under the heated blanket.  This time as I turned on my I-pod, I found my “theme” song for this surgery sung by Selah:

I find no hope within to call my own

For I am frail of heart, my strength is gone

But deep within my soul is rising up a song

Here in the comfort of the faithful one

Just as I was taking off my headphones, the nurse came to tell me the orderly had arrived!  I got onto the guerney and Greg followed us to the next room taking us closer to the surgery.  Besides saying goodbye to Greg, I wanted my last thoughts to be focused on God.  Therefore, in this room where there were a number of patients lying on guerneys waiting for their surgeries, I listened one last time to my “theme” song. I appreciated hearing again the second verse and chorus:

I walk a narrow road through valleys deep

In search of higher ground, on mountains steep

And though with feet unsure, I still keep pressing on.

For I am guided by the Faithful One.

Faithful, faithful to the end,

My true and precious friend,

You have been faithful,

Faithful, so faithful to me

It was time to say goodbye to Greg as the orderly arrived and he quickly  pushed my guerney into a very cold room. A clipboard was suddenly placed in front of  me  and I was asked to initial where it stated the type of surgery.  Only the words “hysterectomy” had been written and the doctor had added the words “hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy” which is just another word for “radical hysterectomy” in which the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes are removed.  I asked the the nurse to point where I needed to initial since I didn’t have my glasses!

The nurses helped me move onto the narrow operating table.  The anesthesiologist introduced himself and then poked a needle into my left arm’s vein and proceeded to hook me to intravenous.  At the same time, a nurse was putting a blood pressure cuff on my right arm and suddenly my hand was feeling numb by the constant pressure and releasing of pressure.    As we waited for the doctor to arrive, I quietly repeated my “theme” Bible Verse:

“And when you walk through the waters, I will be with you,

And through the rivers, you shall not be overwhelmed,

When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,

And the flame shall not consume you.”

When the doctor arrived, she walked over to my side, smiled,  and asked, “ Are you ready?”  I returned her smile and said, “Yes”.  Actually, I felt   I had done everything I knew how to be “ready” for this surgery!   And obviously, my doctor was doing her best to control the outcome of this surgery – even by ordering the inflatable blanket!   However, I was very conscious of my dependence on friends and family who were praying for me and I was aware how their prayers empowered me and enabled me to experience the “peace that passes all understanding.”  But I was also aware that no matter how many variables I might try to control  –  even by asking others to pray and by having very qualified people perform the surgery – ultimate control was in the hands of my very loving God and that was the best reassurance of all!  And so, as a mask was placed over my face, and I heard the anesthesiologist begin counting backwards from ten,and as I thought, “Oh, I don’t  like this mask,” I was glad that my last conscious word was, “God”

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Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing. No matter how much we want to take away the pain or somehow settle your thoughts and help you to get through your valley…only He can really do it.
    Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
    Psalm 31:24


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