By now you know that I am a senior citizen. While I have reminisced about my childhood in Nicaragua, the intentional parenting of which I was the beneficiary and my college days, today I will share with you my experiences getting old.
It is a joy to think that the preparation and hard work of my younger years, and the continuity in ever increasing responsibility and income that came later, allows me to live comfortably in retirement. Now, the time has come to pay attention to my body so that I last for a while longer, hopefully a long while longer. So I am beginning to take advantage of medical procedures needed to maintain my aging body.
My genetic make-up, the genetic inheritance that I received from my parents, brought many benefits to me such as good hair and good teeth. It also brought some deficiencies, like bad feet. What do I mean? Feet with bunions and hammer toes – not a lovely thing to share with you.
Because of this needed repair and maintenance, I have seen a foot surgeon to improve the function of my feet through surgery. After going through the required X-ray and examination necessary, getting insurance approval for the procedure and scheduling the surgery, I asked the surgery center how long my procedure would last. The medical assistant told me it would take 3 hours. Three hours? I asked, as I began to have second thoughts. That’s an awful long time, isn’t it? But, everything was set, so I thought, there is nothing else to do but get on with it.
On the day of the surgery, my healthcare assistant picked me up at 6:45 am to be at the surgery center by 7:15 am to fill out and sign necessary forms – the kind that spell out how you will not sue anyone for anything going wrong. At around 8:15 am they brought me into the prep room and that’s where the 3 hours began. The nurse attending me got me to sign another form, just in case I had not already waived all my rights to a law suit, should something go wrong. She guided me to a curtained area where I got into a hospital gown and set me up with an IV. My surgeon, a very amiable person, came in with his mask, head cap and the glasses necessary in the operating room. I hardly recognized him. I asked him: “Doctor, this procedure take 3 hours?” He said: “Well, I have scheduled the operating room for that time so that we don’t have to rush. The procedure may last less than that. Everything about your profile looks fine.”
The anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself. His last name was unknown to me so I asked him about his nationality. He said his background was Irish. I told him that recently I had been watching the Netflix series about the fight of the Irish for independence from the British and we got into an interesting conversation about his trip to Ireland and his realization that the Irish, in his view, were not perceived as equal by the Brits even now. He told me that this was the first time he had experienced discrimination because of his background. Being that I am Latina, I shared with him my experience as a minority in the U.S. This was an interesting exchange.
The Operating Room nurse came in and introduced himself. I guess this is why the procedure takes 3 hrs – there is background information that needs to be discussed between the doctors, staff and patient that have value to get to know the patient and to make her comfortable.
I was wheeled into the Operating Room. The anesthesia was applied and I don’t remember anything else that happened until I was wakened up by the nurse in the post-op area. My doctor came in to tell me everything went fine. I was to stay off my operated foot and use crutches or a scooter, which was loaned to me by a friend. They gave me some juice and a snack and helped me get dressed. My health care helper was called to come and pick me up and off I went home to continue with my recovery. Altogether this experience was uneventful. The recovery was yet to come.