Doc-in-a-Box

Recently, I experienced the pleasure of having a medical procedure performed. The name of the procedure is not important per se, but I will say, I have it done at least every five years and it involves a scope being placed in an area where a scope just shouldn’t go. I’m just sayin…

Now I bet you think I’m about to explain all the prep work involved leading up to this procedure. No, I will spare you those details. Besides, I’m certain each of you have walked that path, or perhaps I should say trotted on that path.

Trying to milk this situation to the fullest with my loving and caring wife, I began calling this a surgery. My wife, who is very astute and experienced in this arena, quickly informed me this was not surgery. In fact, she went on, calling it a procedure was probably stretching it, as some doctors perform this in their office. She emphatically informed me, “You get one day off, buster, before your expected honey do’s resume.

I just hate being called buster!

“But it’s in a hospital!” I protest.

‘One day, buster!” she restates.

So much for wife sympathy.

The doctor, or more accurately, his nurse, allowed me to choose from several of the finest medical facilities in the metroplex for my procedure/ surgery. While there were several locations much closer to my house, I had this delicate process performed at the hospital where both my boys were born. It is an excellent, award-winning medical facility, with all the latest and greatest equipment in the medical world. And besides, my sentimental side was just tugging on me to return to that pleasant facility, which houses so many beautiful memories of the birth of my boys.

The day of the procedure finally arrived after what seemed like a week of prep work, if you catch my drift. A nice lady greeted me at the front of the hospital. She gave me an iPad and told me to follow the instructions, where I signed with my finger, everywhere I saw yellow. There were things I probably should have read but didn’t. Once completed, a wonderfully optimistic man whisked me and my Drill Sargent wife back to a changing room.

Here, two fabulous and funny nurses came in to prep me. They gave me a hideous looking dress to put on and made sure I knew the open end went to the back, explaining in creative and cute detail the consequences of failing to follow this simple instruction.

Next, a stoic nurse came to take me away for my operation, er procedure. I kissed my wife. As I was being whisked away, I heard those familiar words drift sternly down the hall; “One day, buster!”

Visions of a highly technical room with all the latest and greatest instruments scrolled through my mind as my next landing spot. I wondered how many doctors and nurses were preparing to care for me.

My nurse made a ninety degree turn and voila, I was in my surgery room, in one of the world’s finest hospitals. Wait a minute! This was not a surgery room. This looked more like a supply closet. As she left me without a goodbye, I felt a loneliness like a little boy with no mother.

The room had six occupants plus me. None spoke. Guarding the door, which was open to the hallway, was a young man grossly occupied on his cell phone. To my right, and maybe three feet away was another young man. Guess what he was doing? You are right! He was having an affair with his cell phone. Surely these two were the students I previously agreed to allow watch my derriere being photographed. I tried to make eye contact, but nothing was coming between them and their phones.

Directly below student number two’s legs was an electronic device that may have originated in the mid-80s. It was playing music. The name of the song? I can’t make this up, was Grease!

God does have a sense of humor!

Still seeking someone to at least make eye contact with me, or even better, say hello, I turn my focus to what I think looks like the alpha dog. His back is to me. He is speaking intently to two females who I believe are nurses. I would not know their functions because they don’t dare make eye contact or introduce themselves. They are all looking intently at a computer. Surely, they are studying the complicated surgery-procedure they are about to perform on me.

Five minutes pass. I’m in a supply closet with six other people and no one is speaking to me.

Helooooo!!! Anyone out there???

I stay diplomatically silent, as I feel now is not the time to act like the part of my body they are about to exam.

My eyes search for the surgery equipment. To my front and right, I see a stack of boxes. And to make matters worse, those boxes aren’t even straight. In fact, I’m afraid they will tip over on me at any second. The top box is open with only one flap sticking up. That drives me crazy! Stick that stupid flap down!

To the left of these surely essential supplies for my highly technical surgery-procedure, is a bulletin board. On that board is a large chart explaining what to do if a patient should experience bloating, while undergoing a colonoscopy.

“That is nice,” I say to myself, because none of these introverts in this supply closet plan to speak to me.

Then I started thinking. Shouldn’t these trained professionals already know what to do in that situation? Why that particular chart? Why not instructions on how to handle a nicked artery? 

But no. Someone made the decision that bloating trumps all the three thousand disclaimers of things that could go wrong during my procedure-surgery, which they made me sign with my finger on an iPad, previously.

Ten minutes drag by.

Ear worms play over and over in my ears,

Grease is the word that you heard

It’s got groove it’s got meaning,

I think I might just get out of that bed, very unlady like in my dress, and finish that song with a little dance,

Grease is the time, it’s the place, it’s the motion,

It’s the way we are feeling!

I’m certain that would get their attention.

Finally, a young man comes into the room who actually seems to be a human being. He says hi! He does not have an electronic device in his hand. He says his name is Sean!

“Wow, Sean. You are the first human to speak to me in the last fifteen minutes.”

Sean explains he is my anesthesiologists.

I ask him what drug he will use to put me to sleep.

“Propofol,” says Sean.

“Wasn’t that the drug that killed Michael Jackson?” I ask, slightly inquisitive and slightly concerned, thinking of another more appropriate poster to hang on the supply closet wall.

The two kids stop texting and look at me. Sean nervously laughs and informs me he is a trained professional.

As soon as the anesthesiologist said he’d given me a “small margarita,” meaning he had started the Jackson drug, as if that was the code to break the phone stare, texting kid turns off the light in the closet. Texting kid number two looks at my arm tag and asks my name, to verify I am who I am.

“Michael Jackson,” I proclaim, as my eyes felt heavy, and I released that high-tech supply room to the introverted crowd and fell in the deepest sleep I have experienced since my last procedure-surgery.

Instantly a dream began. The doctor and his muted staff came alive. They began dancing in line dance unison, preparing their high-tech instruments. They were singing to the top of their voices, Cheshire cat smiles on their faces, to the tune of a familiar song. But what WAS that tune?  As the words started becoming clearer, it was what I thought; those astonishingly deep and reflective words from Grease!

We take the pressure and we throw away

Conventionality belongs to yesterday

There is a chance we can make it so far

We start believing now that we can be who we are

Now the doc-in-a-box starts the surgery as the staff chimes in on the chorus;

Grease is the word

Grease is the word, is the word, that you heard.

Suddenly, the doc demands silence. Everyone freezes!

“What is it, doc?” texting kid number one asks.

“This patient is bloating. Everyone put down your cell phones immediately. We must all turn our attention to the chart on the bulletin board to make sure we follow the proper procedure,” the doc explains, hand over heart, with all the melodrama of a soap opera.

“Okay, now we have the bloating under control, can I borrow someone’s phone camera to take pictures of the surgical area,” doc asks.

Nobody complies with his request.

It’s got groove it’s got meaning.

Thirty minutes later I awaken from my dream. I am so refreshed. I am in a room with my Drill Sargent wife. She asks how my procedure went.

“Surgery,” I say, as she rolls her eyes.

My doc pulls back the curtain and begrudgingly covers my results. I can tell he hates every minute of conversing with me, another human being. After about three minutes, he disappears.

As he strolls away down the hall, fading ever so low, I hear the doc -n-a-box humming a familiar tune….

Grease is the word; Grease is the word you heard.

It’s got groove, it’s got meaning!

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