Posted by: zhak39 | June 7, 2008

Pre Op (Warning, the Meds are Talking)

“Here is the pill pack and instructions,” said the pharmacist.  ” Do you have any questions?”

“Will I end up looking like Hulk Hogan?” I ask.

“Not after only one week.”  He smiles.

I smile too, resigned.  I’m a tea person, not a pill popper.  Does this make me un-American?  Weight loss products aside, last year the average number of prescriptions per household was 8.2 per year (Johns Hopkins).  This year I have had prescriptions for Vicodin (destroyed, icky), amoxicillin, leviquin (twice), nasonex, some kind of hyped up guafenisen and now prednisone.  Let’s see, one, two, three, nope.  Still below average.  Sigh.

Prednisone, a steroid, is supposed to open up nasal passageways  This will help the surgeon doing sinus surgery on Monday.  So it says in the small print.  The pharmacist did warn me that I should take it earlier in the evening than prescribed as it may cause sleeplessness.  And it does.  I took the last dose first day four hours before going to bed.  Didn’t sleep at all that night and discovered why it is taken by exercise nuts.  Three or four times during the night my heart rate spontaneously increased to 120 beats per minute.  The last time, about 3:30 in the morning my heart was pounding so hard I thought it was going to break a rib.  Whee, aerobic exercise with no effort!  I could live with that.  Two nights with no or little sleep and I get up not tired.  I can’t think.  I forget words in mid-sentence, heck, I forget sentences in mid-sentence!  Yeah, let’s just blame that on the pills.

These couple of weeks leading up to the surgery have been instructive.  The surgeon’s scheduler called.  It goes like this.

“We can schedule pre-op Friday, surgery Monday.”

“Hmm.  Can’t make the Friday,  too soon to find coverage for my job.”

“OK, later in that next week.  How about…”

“Hold on.  Let me look at my supervisor’s travel schedule.  Boys have dental appointments. Maybe we can do this when she is out of town. How about first week in June?”

“Ok.  The operating theatre has some openings then…”

“Wait a minute.  My daughter has driver’s ed that week.  I need to drive her and her friends to and from Jamestown every day that week.    How about the week following?”

“OK.  We have pre-op, 6 a.m. opening, post op.  Can you do that?”

“I can try.”

I have heard that linear time is actually an illusion.  It’s a construct for us to function in conjunction with physical matter.  That the past, present and future are actually simultaneous.  So why is it so hard to carve out a three hour time block to be completely sedated?  Three hours of complete effacement.  Knocked out.  Incapable of activity.  The line is busy – no call waiting.  Two days of recovery, rest, relaxation and healing.

I am struggling with these lessons.  How do I let go of some of this responsibility without letting go of  standards of performance?  Where is the balancing point where needs do not exceed time constraints?  How are needs prioritized?  How self-important can one person be?

My sister sent me a prescription on my birthday.  It’s a packet of intentional chocolate, three days worth.  The idea is that food can be infused with positive intentions like happiness, healing, joy, metta.  It also gives the user an excuse to intentionally take time to meditate on these concepts, attracting them into her life.  And its chocolate.  Dark chocolate.

I thought, what a perfect time to try this out.  Three days where I have nothing to do but relax, rest, meditate, let the body heal and enjoy the healing virtues of intention.

I look at the calendar again.  Arrange ride after surgery. Arrange someone to be with me for 24 hours after surgery (right).  Take Helen to airport Tuesday morning.  Dental appointment Tuesday afternoon.  Sam’s award assembly Wednesday morning.

How do we arrange our concept of time, which is in fact simultaneous so that we can do everything simultaneously?


  1. Great post, ZhaK. You’re one of the few people I know who need lessons in being selfish. I’m a good role model for you in that respect. Watch and learn, baby, watch and learn.

    Seriously, there comes a time when you’ve gotta come first. I hope that you’re over the hump by now and doing great!

  2. Thank you, Laurie, I think. I’m doing much better and will be going for a post-op to see if everything is healing all right.

    And by the way, if you think that you are selfish you are delusional. You are the most supportive friend I have ever had.

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