Wednesday, February 16, 2011

pre-op testing day

Today (that would be Wednesday for those of you reading on "tape delay" on Facebook), Jeanne and I headed down to New York Presbyterian for our pre-op testing. Traffic was pretty normal - which is to say there was a lot of it - so we arrived about 10:30 for our 10am appointments. We quickly parted ways as we each had our own sets of tests and interviews to take care of.

First up for me was to meet with Marian who went over some of the basics. I have been scheduled to arrive at the Same Day Surgery Department at 5:45 am on Friday the 25th. I can have food up until noon the day before, then only liquids until midnight and then nothing after midnight. I also have to do a bowel prep mid-afternoon. Marian assured me this was a mild one and nothing like the type of cleansing necessary for a colonoscopy. I sure hope that's true, because I'll be hanging around the hospital waiting for news on Jeanne at about that point in the day. To be safe, though, I'll make sure I have all of the nearby bathroom locations mapped out in advance! Marian also stated, as she had previously, that it is expected that I will be discharged on Sunday the 27th. In fact, one of the handouts I got was a sheet which details out what is expected of me after surgery and states that I will be discharged home by 10am.

Next stop was a visit to the surgeon. His staff kept me busy for a while with a pile of paperwork and then called me in for our discussion. I am going to be in very good hands (sorry about the pun). My surgeon was at John Hopkins in the late 90s when they first began performing laproscopic kidney removal and has probably performed this surgery as many times as anyone else on this planet. Even though I am not (not yet?) feeling very nervous about the surgery, I found this information reassuring nonetheless.

I found out that it is my left kidney that they will be removing. Apparently, that is the "default" kidney that gets removed because it is anatomically slightly easier to transplant the left one than the right one. If there were some reason to believe that one of my kidneys was "better' than the other, they would leave me that better one, but otherwise, they take the left one and leave the right one.

I also was presented with the opportunity to be part of a study. Apparently, there are two similar, but slightly different ways to perform the laproscopic surgery. The conventional way is to place three small holes in the abdomen for a camera and surgical instruments along with one incision for removal of the kidney. In the alternate method, a single incision is used for the camera, the instruments and the kidney removal. The study is intended to determine if the alternate method provides any benefits in terms of donor recovery. I very happily agreed to be part of the study. As a result, they will randomly choose which of the methods they will attempt to use on me. And, then I will have to answer some occasional surveys over the next five years or so.

After the visit with the surgeon, I was sent over to the pre-op testing area, and did a lot of waiting. First I waited for someone to show up at the desk to tell me to go over and sit in the main waiting area. After waiting there for a while, someone came and took me in to go over some paperwork. That took about five minutes and then that gentleman took me to yet a different waiting area. After probably another twenty minutes, a nurse came by and had me give a urine sample and then drew some blood. Then I had to wait for someone to give me an EKG. I was told I would be next. So, I waited in the room for someone to come. And waited. Then, another patient needed the room I was waiting in, so I got brought to yet another room to wait some more. Finally, after 30-40 minutes of waiting, I got fed up and went looking for someone. Of course I found the nurses chatting around the desk. They scolded me for leaving my assigned room, but it appeared my actions finally got someone to give me the EKG.

Next stop was radiology where I got my chest XRay - with almost no waiting! :-)

Now done with all of my testing, I went in search of Jeanne, and found her getting off one elevator while I was about to get on a different one. She was headed down to radiology for her own chest X-Ray. While she was waiting for the X-Ray (I must have just beaten the rush), she filled me in on her day. She had her own set of tests she had taken and her own doctors to talk to. Jeanne needs to show up for her surgery at about 5:30 am on Thursday the 24th. Since she doesn't get home from her (hopefully last and final) dialysis session until about 1am, and even at that time of day, its at least a 90 minute drive to the hospital, there won't be a lot of sleep to be had the night before the surgery.

So, now that we have times scheduled for the surgeries, I guess the next step is to work out all of the logistics (how we'll get to the hospital, where I'll stay the night before my surgery, who's watching the kids, how we'll get home, etc.) Thankfully, we've been offered a lot of help - we're going to need it!

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