On Thursday January 23, I arrived at the hospital at just before the required 11.30. Wearing sweatpants and loose-fitting boots over which a made-for-Antarctica parka kept the -24C at bay. I was not to eat or drink anything after the previous midnight, and although I had no problems with not eating, I did have my morning cup of tea, but more out of habit than thirst. Nonetheless, I visited the toilet just to be sure to arrive on empty.
Upon checking in at the surgery area a nurse took me to a changing room and got me to strip and slip in one of those hospital gowns. They are indeed open on the back, for what reason remains a mystery to me. Luckily I was also to wear fancy -large- underwear and to sport a pants-like maroon-colored, well, for want of a better word, trousers. Top that off with support socks, tough plastic sandals and a flashy dressing gown, I was ready for the spotlights.
My electronics I would get back after surgery. Ah...so no live streaming to YouTube and updating my twitter feed from the operation room. But there was television in the waiting room, and some magazines. I was not the only patient in the waiting room, but I was the youngest. We all dressed similar, I did not stand out for my fashion sense; something I am quite used to.
It took about two and a half hours before my turn was up and I got called into the operating room. As I laid down on the operating table one nurse started to place nodes onto various places on my body, while another shoved a needle up a vain in the top of my left hand, hooking it up to some IV thingy. A third woman, yes they were all female, introduced herself as the anesthesiologist and asked if I could tell her which procedure I had come in for. Astonished I asked her if she was kidding me (it was other terminology that came to mind, but I kept it polite). Apparently this is routine, to make sure that the right patient is in the right place at the right time.
"Open your eyes. Do you know where you are?" I heard a voice ask while someone placed a mask with oxygen over my mouth. I opened my eyes, and slightly nodded. I remembered nothing about the operation, and I was so sure that I would only be put under regional anesthesia. Apparently not. Both the urologists and the nurse who had taken me through the procedure on the preceding Monday, had me believe that I would be under anesthesia from the waist down, not general anesthesia. No wonder they wouldn't allow me my tablet, they knew I wouldn't be streaming to YouTube anyway! After sniffing some more oxygen, I was rolled from the recovery room to a two person patient's room where I could rest some more. The nurse told me that she would get my clothes and stuff. From behind the curtain to my right I could see that I was not alone, and that I was not next to the window.
The nurse brought in my stuff and asked if I would like my phone, for instance. She correctly took my nodding as a sign of the affirmative and placed my bag on my bed and allowed me grab my tablet, ear-buds and charger. She brought me water and I was told to drink, and then she left. I was still very groggy from the anesthesia and just tried to get as comfortable as possible, lifting the head part up a bit so that I could place my tablet in front of me on my chest and comfortably watch something or tweet something. Yes, I know, very sad.
Another nurse came in -interrupting my watching Russel Peters's "Notorious" show on Netflix- and explained that she thought it best that I would stay over-night so that they could monitor my urine output and to give me all the rest I need. Fine, I'll do whatever is needed. Then she told me to get out of the bed and try to walk a bit. She helped me in my slippers, grabbed my left arm tightly and commanded me to stand up. I did my best. "Eyes open!" she grumbled and I complied. But she seemed satisfied with our walk to the door and back, and even placed my pillows comfortably before allowing me to continue with Russel Peters.
Later she brought in some painkillers just before an evening snack. The hospital and I have different opinions on what consists of an evening snack. I wasn't hungry, but a slice of bread with salami and cheese, and a cup of tea is not an evening snack.
Although feeling weak and heavenly drugged, I could hardly sleep and watched Netflix until very late. During the night, I slept for short periods and finally visited the toilet at about 01.30. I managed to pee, but had to wait a while, basically for gravity to take over as I didn't want to "push"; but I managed in the end. And it took very little time for the night nurse to show up and ask if I had visited the toilet. When I told that I had, and that I had succeeded in emptying my bladder, she went for some ultrasound machine to check my bladder. I hadn't lied to her, and this satisfied her.
At 06.00 I had another bladder check and the nurse told me that I should go and visit the toilet again. I did while she was waiting on the other patient in the room. She questioned me about my visit, and I told her that I didn't want to push and that I really couldn't knowing that she'd be standing behind the door waiting for me. Apparently she understood, and less than an hour later she had her desired result and ultrasound reading. Leaving me to enjoy the fine cuisine of the hospital once again. As this is Finland: porridge, frigging salty porridge. The sugar cubes meant for my tea went straight to the porridge, to make it a bit more edible. The slice of bread, salami and cheese tasted a lot better.
At 08.00 my urologist came by and explained what she had done during the operation. She told me that she had removed the right testicle, I told her that I had noticed. (What? You think I hadn't checked yet?) The operation itself had gone well. There had been some swelling so that she had needed to use a bit more force on the skin than expected; this would result in some temporary bruising. She also told me that she had sliced the removed part of my body in half and that there indeed was a 3 cm long tumor, and that this had already been sent to a pathologist, and that I could expect the result in about 3 to 4 weeks time. If I felt well, I could leave today. With that she went on to the patient next to me.
By 09.30 I was dressed, had my discharge papers, some extra painkillers and left. I asked the receptionist at the main entrance to call me a taxi and I was home by 10.00, where I spent the rest of the day in bed.