Mistaken Surgery - 3/22

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deni234
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Re: Mistaken Surgery - 3/22

Postby deni234 » Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:34 am

This is my first attempt, so please give me some honest feedback.


I didn't recognize this Doctor. The anesthesia was pulling me down into a foggy sleep. With my mind about as clear as a cotton ball, I gave in to the darkness.

It started in the distance. Noise, voices and the smell of food began pushing me out of the stupor. Finally, able to focus, I realized that I wasn't in surgery any longer. Gradually, I lifted my head slightly, looking for something or someone familiar. Looking back at me, from the foot of my bed, were two nurses. Talking in hushed tones and looking very serious, I was askeed if I felt any pain. The chart was removed from its holder and notes were written by one nurse, as I responded, while the other returned to the nurses station in the distance.

Taking a mental inventory of my body proved to be a slow process. As I attempted this monumental task the curtains opened and in walked my Doctor, a Doctor that I thought looked vagely familiar and a well dressed woman, juggling a stack of papers, a clipboard and her briefcase. My Doctor introduced them, beginning with the woman. She was from the legal department of the hospital. Not comprehending her presence, I nodded. The other Doctor was introduced as the Doctor who performed my surgery. Slowly, I recalled seeing him before I drifted off. I couldn't figure out why he had performed my gall bladder surgery instead of my own Doctor.

Wiggling myself to a full, upright position I made every effort to pay attention. My mind was like a machine gun sending thoughts, questions and scenerios as they spoke. Trying desparately to conceive of the idea that I had had the wrong surgery, I was sure they had the wrong patient.

Quickly, I was wisked off to a beautiful, private room, with a view and assured the kitchen would be available at any time for me.

With my mind reeling, I waited for my wife to arrive. When told, she bombarded me with the same questions that had been roaring through my mind and I still had no answers.

A nurse appeared with a meal for me and my wife and stated that the Doctor would be in soon. Not feeling very hungary, neither of us ate much as we waited.

The door finally opened and my Doctor entered with the others in tow. There was a large, round table in the room and they all sat around that, opening folders and spreding out papers. My wife was seated beside my bed. We listened, unable to say anything.

Both Doctors apologized; the legal representative assured us, repeatedly, that there would be no charge for either surgery, neither from us or from our
insurance carrier. Details were very explicit regarding a monetary settlement that the hospital would be glad to offer and that all of it was detailed in the stack of papers on the table. Then they were gone.

As hour had elapsed by the time they left. We sat in stunned amazement, each with our own thoughts and didn't know what to say.

Suddenly, my wife began to giggle. She usually did when she was nervous, but this turned into an all-out laughing episode that had me struggling to hold it in. Losing that battle, the tears rolled down my face as I doubled over with laughter, as I'd never laughed in my life. When we finally tired ourselves out, we eventually gained control and looked over the documents again.

By the time my wife left, we knew what we had to do. In spite of everything that had transpired, we both slept well that night.

Two days later, I was re-scheduled for the original surgery to remove my gall bladder. This time it went without a hitch and full recovery was never a doubt.

As for the two toenails that had been removed by mistake, both Doctors concurred that when the bandages were removed, the best way to heal would be a lot of saltwater, fresh air and sunshine. By the time I was released all arrangements had been made.

It seemed that two tickets on an around-the-world cruise and an early retirement were just what the Doctors ordered!

sawhitman
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Re: Mistaken Surgery - 3/22

Postby sawhitman » Sun Mar 27, 2011 4:53 pm

I hate hospitals. When they told me I had to have surgery to remove my gallbladder, the fact that it's a "routine" procedure did not comfort me. The smell sickness in hospitals, the sterile white walls, the dull conversations of the nurses ... there was nothing inviting about a hospital. I had heard stories of mix ups in surgeries. That really didn't help my nerves. I also heard that people say all sorts of things when under anesthesia. I just hoped I didn't have any deep dark secrets that could be revealed.

Check in went relatively well. I hate waiting though. There was a lot of it. The more I waited, the more I wanted to bolt. I was almost relieved when my time finally came. As much as the TV shows always seem to show the cheesy wheeling down the hall with the surgery lights overhead, I was almost surprised to see that it was pretty much the same in real life. I was just grateful once in the operating room to not see any of the instruments. I would have passed out if I had. I guess since they were going to knock me out that wouldn't have been such a big problem.

"Hi, Stephanie, my name is Robert. I'm just going to inject this into your IV and you'll start to feel sleepy. So tell me what brings you in today." The anesthesiologist's face was above me, but all I could see was his eyes between the surgical cap and face mask.

"Well, I started to have these stomach pains..."

Blackness crowded my vision. Suddenly, my tongue wouldn't move. Darkness won.


"Stephanie, are you okay?" John asked. My eyes fluttered open. It took a moment for my eyes to focus. I looked around the room. I still felt very heavy and my tongue was thick. My mouth was dry so my lips stuck to my gums and my tongue to the roof of my mouth.

"water?" I croaked.

I felt a straw at my lips. I gratefully sipped.

"Stephanie," John asked again, "are you okay?"

"Why do you continue to ask me that?" I asked. "I just had surgery."

"Well, you said you were here for your gallbladder"

"I am. Was. Why?"

John began to blush. "I, um, will go talk to the doctor"

Up to this point I hadn't moved nor checked my abdomen. Now I looked down.

Dolly Parton didn't hold a candle to me.

notforbreakfast
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Re: Mistaken Surgery - 3/22

Postby notforbreakfast » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:49 am

I’m the only person I know who actually enjoys surgery. Everyone else seems to have these unsaid fears of “going under” and never waking up, like the nurse telling them to count back from 100 is the last person who will ever speak to them. To an insomniac like me, though, that nurse is my best friend. Her voice means that I will effortlessly have what I yearn for every night at 3:18am.

I happen to need a lot of surgery. Not elective surgeries, either; my boobs are fine where they are. I’ve been under the knife for things like a small brain tumor, an angry appendix, perpetually-infected tonsils and rogue wisdom teeth.

This time, it’s my gall bladder. I don’t even know why it needs to be removed, but the doctor seemed pretty sure of himself, so I nodded and signed papers, knowing that the anesthesiologist would deliver hours of sleep that my body and mind ached for.

I’ve never been awake inside the actual operating room before.

“Count back from 100,” the nurse says kindly from behind her face mask. I grin.

“100, 99, 98…”

A man enters wearing bright red scrubs. It’s Dr. Hopp, a surgeon, but not my surgeon. I recognize his eyes from the pamphlet I read in the waiting room, though something about him now strikes me as familiar, even though I hadn’t seen it in his photo.

“91, 90, 89, 88…”

As I feel the first wave of sleepiness, I decide that I don’t like the red of his scrubs so close to me because they remind me of new blood. He looks at me, and I understand why I know his face.

It’s my face, the same tired eyes and sallow cheeks that I stare at in the bathroom mirror when sunrise is closer than sunset and I know I have to face a marathon day at work without an inch of sleep.

“81, 89, 88, 86.” My voice muffles like it’s playing through cheap earbuds underwater. Surely someone other than me realizes how exhausted Dr. Hopp looks? But the nurses aren’t looking. Where is Dr. Portland? The nurses grow taller and taller over my body, with the lights growing bright over their heads until their bodies turn completely to shadows. They’re so dark. Oh wait, that’s because my eyes are closed.


I’m in a hospital room and I forget why I had been so upset. I love surgery more than anyone else. I’m loopy with drugs and long-awaited sleep, my brain reenergized and ready to stay awake for months.

I worm my arm under the hot sheets to feel the bandaged, tender incision area. It’s strange, though, that I can’t find it the first time I try. How small was the incision? I don’t want to wake myself up more, but I have to, to find the bandages. But when I rub both my hands up and down my belly, it’s smooth and flat. Where are the bandages?

My mother comes into the room. She’s supposed to come tomorrow to bring me home, but I guess she came early to check in on me. She looks upset, so I try to say hi, but nothing comes out. Her hair is greyer than I remember.

“Her eyes are open, today,” Mom says.

“That’s common,” someone behind her says, “especially for our long-term patients.”

Long term?

“Couldn’t that mean she’s coming out of the coma?”

“We performed extensive tests on her this morning. There is still no brain activity.”

I pull my arm out from under the sheets but even though I can feel the right things happening in my head, my body’s not listening.

“Ma’am,” the voice says behind Mom, “It’s been seven years.”

“I know.”

“It’s time to say goodbye.”

I almost want to laugh, because of how ridiculous it is. It’s like I’m in a soap opera and the soft lights are over Mom’s head as she talks about pulling the plug. This stuff might happen in real life, but not to me. It’s the insomnia. I went too many days without sleeping this time, and now my brain is punishing me with this nightmare.

The person behind Mom comes around and puts his hands on my face. Goopy tape pulls off my cheeks, and something gags me from deep in my throat. Breathing tube? No wonder I couldn’t talk.

“Mom?” But my voice is just in my imagination.

It’s getting harder to breathe. Mom clutches my hand.

Wake up. For once this insomniac doesn’t want to sleep.

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RE: Mistaken Surgery - 3/22

Postby tgnorris » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:36 pm

The hours of agony will soon be over-- or at least I hope so. The pain had started several months ago and yet, in typical male fashion, I tried to ignore it. In my own defense, I live alone and work from home (a gift of the technological age), so there was no one to look at me and ask, “Do you feel alright?” or even to pronounce pointedly, “You look like death warmed over! Get to a doctor.”

In fact, no one really misses me unless a deadline gets missed... and I never miss a deadline, so no one ever really misses me. I keep telling myself it’s freedom. I could work from Boston or Bangladesh and no one would know the difference.

But eventually the pain got to the point that I couldn’t ignore it any longer. So first a doctor, then some tests, and then the diagnosis. Now surgery to remove my gallbladder. Crazy that such a tiny organ can cause so much pain-- and you don’t even need the damned thing.

So here I lay, naked under the hospital’s green fabric and over-watched by a nurse and anesthetist I’d never seen before. I feel slightly chilled in the sterile room and, in the absurd ignominy of a surgery patient, wait for my surgeon, Dr. Sanchez, to take my gallbladder out.

The anesthesiologist and the nurse speak to one another with the detachment common to medical professionals. Their clinical detachment makes me feel even more isolated. I am just a body in need of repair. They are just mechanics doing routine tasks.

Then somewhere to my right the unfamiliar voice of a third person. Female.

“Hello Mr. Davidson. I’m Dr. Bane. I’ll be performing your surgery today.”

Performing. She actually uses that word. Is my body just a stage for her scalpel-wielding performance?

“We’ll be removing your gallbladder. Is that right?”

“Yes.” I say. At least she’s making sure I’m the right patient and this is the right surgery. But the way she says it makes it sound like it’s probably because of the lawyers. She’s probably checking off boxes on some liability prevention form. It doesn’t matter, though, I’m just happy she’s checking to make sure it’s the right surgery for me. As far as I know, getting the wrong surgery done is rare. But it’s been known to happen.

Then she emerges past the green surgery drape that makes me feel strangely disconnected from the part of my body I cannot see. She has her surgical cap and gown on, and her mask is already over her nose and mouth. All I can see of her is her eyes. Oddly enough, they are a dull green, like her gown.

“Don’t worry, Mr. Davidson. We’ve all done this too many times to count. We’ll have you out of here in an hour or so and then get you back to recovery and on with your life.”

“Ok, Mr. Davidson,” the anesthesiologist intones, “I’m going to administer your anesthetic. Your body will feel a little heavy at first and then you’ll have a pleasant sleep.”

Then, more quickly than I’d thought, his prophecy is fulfilled. My muscles relax, my breathing slows, the lingering pain from my gallbladder fades, and I gave in to welcome sleep.

Then... groggy. Still heavy. Sleep weighing like a corduroy quilt. Through gauzy vision I make the outline of the other patients in... the recovery room?

Is this right? My fuzzy mind tries to puzzle together the pieces I see and fit them into the form of what I think a recovery room should be. But not everything fits.

IV. Ok.

Curtains between patients. Right? No. Wrong! Not curtains but plastic sheets.

I raise my head and see that I am lying naked on this table, arms and legs restrained and... no sutures where my surgery should have been.

“One of them is awake!” shouts a voice from somewhere. Then the doctor (what’s her name!? Bane, I think) is at my side.

“What?” I begin.

“I’m sorry you woke.” She says flatly. “You weren’t supposed to. Don’t worry. We’ll get you back to sleep before we take your organs. You’ll be helping so many people.” Her dull green eyes show no emotion.

An uncomprehending and ragged, “Why?” comes from my throat in a voice that neither feels nor sounds quite my own. “Why?” I ask again summoning more strength.

“Because no one will miss you.” she says.

sheilaleebrown
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RE: Mistaken Surgery - 3/22

Postby sheilaleebrown » Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:18 am

I came out of the anesthesia, groggy and slightly nauseas. Anesthesia always makes me sick. I spied a nurse fumbling with an IV bag to my right. She marked something on her clipboard. No one else was in the room.

“Where’s my husband?” I asked. My throat was dry and my voice didn’t sound quite right.

The nurse turned to me and smiled.

“Oh, you’re awake! Would you like some water?” She turned a quickly handed me a large, lidded cup with a straw. I took it and sipped a large gulp of icy deliciousness. The nurse chatted as she checked the needle in my arm. “I think everything went rather well. I know Dr. Felix doesn’t usually like to do so much all at once, but you must have been fairly persistent.” She pulled back the sheets to lift my gown and check my incisions. I couldn’t see anything. I was still a little hazy from the anesthesia, but something about what she said set my alarm radar off.

“So much all at once?”

“Yes. Didn’t Dr. Felix tell you? Usually the surgeries are scheduled a couple months a part. And, of course, you'll still have to have some follow-up procedures.” She tucked the sheets back in around me.

“What!” I sat up quickly, feeling pain in my chest and lower abdomen.

“Careful, Mr. Banner!”

“Mr.!” I yelled. “My name is Lois Danor and I think it’s fairly obvious that I’m a woman.” The nurse’s eye went wide and she grabbed her clipboard. I felt the binding around my chest and reached down to touch the padded gauze where my underwear should have been.

“There must be some mistake.” The nurse said slowly. She looked at me and her gaze drifted down my body. “Oh, my. I have to get the doctor.”

“And find my husband.” I yelled to her. “Ted Danor.” She nodded, backing out of the room quickly, her eyes getting wider by the second.

I thought she might forget about Ted, but after a about fifteen minutes he entered the room.

“Something serious must be going on at there.” He said as he walked in. “I thought I would never find you.” He stopped when he saw my face. “Is everything all right?”

I shook my head side to side. I couldn’t bring myself to speak. Ted swallowed hard.

“Is it something they can fix?” He asked, moving to my side and clutching my hand.

I shrugged, tears beginning to form in my eyes.

“What is it? Tell me!”

I threw the sheets off and pulled up the thin hospital gown so he could see what they had done to me. I had already looked and knew. From what I could determine, I was more than halfway constructed to be a man.

Ted screamed and fainted.

JennYes79
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Re: Mistaken Surgery - 3/22

Postby JennYes79 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:40 pm

Skstiles - Loved your ending! :o

skapple55
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Re: Mistaken Surgery - 3/22

Postby skapple55 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:10 am

After reading these...and they're all amazing....I don't ever want to get surgery! :O

SGRANT
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RE: Mistaken Surgery - 3/22

Postby SGRANT » Mon May 23, 2011 3:40 pm

NOTE: I did have surgery in which I was awake and they did not know. I could hear their conversations and I was trying to let them know I could feel pain by squeezing my hands. Finally I could speak and was acutally jumping in on their conversations, only then did they understand I was awake!!!! This story is somewhat changed.

"More Than I Asked For" by S.E. Grant

Splayed arms spread wide, cold table, blue paper, all wired and prepped for surgery. The room is like a mechanical dance and I am the star with everyone focused on me.

Crossed eyes and shadow approaching with plastic apparatus. Breathe deep I'm told, breathe deep and hold.

One and two and "Who is that!!!!??"

Too late, I'm knocked out and have lost all control.

Sliced and diced and soon I silently awake. I can hear you and wonder what you are doing to me. It seems you are not cutting the right area. I try to speak but everything is jumbled and all I see is the blue glow of my drape. I feel the pain but can not vocalize my discomfort.

With my brain so numb, I then squeeze my hands tight thinking you will catch on that I am semi-concious but you don't see. I attempt to speak and make a sound and you tell me you can't hear me and that I am mumbling. You are frustrating me and so I try again. You then call me by a wrong name and continue to still work on me. The blue tone of the drape blocks my sight of you and I can not see what you are doing.

Soon you are done and my drape is lifted and I see and hear a nurse speaking on the phone accross the room. She then says to you that the margins of tissue are clear and that all the cancer is gone.

I did not have cancer! What are they talking about? I was just having my gallbladder out.

My chest is heavy and I'm wrapped all up and now I am told I have two C cups!!

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