I had a hyperparathyroidectomy
And a minor mental breakdown
I was sure I was going to die. Of course, it was a possibility. A surgeon was going to dig around my neck to find a parathyroid the size of a grain of rice and pull it out! What are the odds that I would get through this without someone nicking an artery or cutting some nerves?!
I kept thinking of the game Operation where you try and take stuff out with a steady hand, but if you don’t, you kill the patient. The nose lights up, and a loud buzzer announces the end. Yikes, what a way to go.
A surgeon was going to dig around my neck to find a parathyroid the size of a grain of rice and pull it out! I kept thinking of the game Operation where you try and take stuff out with a steady hand, but if you don’t, you kill the patient. The nose lights up, and a loud buzzer announces the end. Yikes, what a way to go.
Feeling brave and embracing my potentially disastrous destiny, I did all the things you are supposed to do when still living and facing impending doom of some kind or another. I wrote my last will and testament. I wanted to create a trust because it takes care of a lot of legal details, but I was limited on time and didn’t have the extra $6,000 in legal fees. So, it was a last will and testament.
With great care and a bit of dramatic flair, I bequeathed my worldly possessions to those closest to me. Then, I quickly realized I cared more about my stuff than anyone else ever would.
It is a random collection of items: an engraved ring, some books, too many photographs…
In the end, I just encouraged, “Whatever is left, give to charity.”
I was able to find a notary willing to attest that I am who I say I am, my signature really is mine, and I am of sound mind and body (I had to pay extra for that last part).
Then, I proceeded to gather and place stuff in boxes with labels so Handsome wouldn’t have to do it, leaving $200 cash in an envelope next to the boxes for shipping costs.
Next, I identified my beneficiaries for all retirement accounts. They are the only real valuable items I own, to be honest. It was hard to decide. Do I give 40% to so-in-so or 50%? What about so-in-so? Shouldn’t I give some to them? And how would so-in-so take it? I didn’t leave anything for them.
Fortunately, no one would know about it until after I was gone. So I didn’t have to worry about any possible relationship fallout, hurt feelings, or cries of, “That’s not fair!”
With needed names, percentages, birthdays, addresses, and – on one form – social security numbers, I fulfilled the necessary beneficiary requirements. That way, the money I work so hard for would benefit someone. Well, multiple someones.
Next, the Advanced Directive. It is a legal document given to me by the hospital. It identifies the people who can make medical decisions for me if I can’t, and it explains my wishes if I should become a human vegetable.
In my case, I made it very clear that I just wanted to be let go. No need to hook me up to machines and leave me in a coma for years (even though I would finally be well-rested).
I had to get signatures from my two health reps and two additional signatures from witnesses who won’t benefit from my death. Because evidently, everyone is looking for someone to pull the plug on in order to inherit that deluxe Kitchenmaid mixer from 1989.
After filling out all this paperwork, it is no wonder I had a decidedly morbid outlook on my chances of survival. It didn’t matter that it was an outpatient surgery that my particular surgeon performs several times every week. It didn’t matter that 95% of people who had the operation were cured. Yep, 95%! Best recovery rate I’ve ever seen, and yet I was still sure that this would be the end of me.
It also didn’t help when Handsome asked, “So when are they cutting open your throat?”
Please describe it less graphically, I begged.
On the day of the surgery, they had me put on a baby blue hospital gown with holes and flaps all over it.
It was lined with light plastic. It made no sense to me, but I figured out the two armholes and slipped it on. The two ties also didn’t make sense either. In the end, I wrapped one tie around my waist and knotted it with the other over my right hip.
The nurse had to untie me when she came to check on me, “We don’t want to use the ties,” she explained.
Then, why does it have them? I wondered, but it didn’t seem essential to comment on at the time.
Then, she had me lie down and connected a long hose to one of the holes in the hospital gown. The entire hospital gown ballooned up around me with semi-warm air. I must have looked like a giant baby blue marshmallow lying there. I was surprised Handsome wasn’t laughing at me from the corner.
The pre-operation hoops were many but quick to get through. Urine sample, check. Intravenous port installed in hand…no wait, arm…what? Ok, the foot. Sanitization of the neck area, check. Meeting with the anesthesiologist, check.
The next thing I knew, I was wheeled back to the operation room. Six people were standing about as I scooched over from the gurney on wheels to the operating table. The lights were huge, bright, and aimed at my face.
Well, this is it.
Everything faded to black.
I didn’t die. In case you were worried.
Nope, but I did throw up multiple times (those anesthesia drugs cause crazy amounts of nausea) and talked with a cool husky rasp for about a week.
Yep, all that work for nothing.
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