Friday, June 09, 2006

Good to Go

Thursday, 6/8/06,8:30 am

I'm ready.

Well, after a few more errands today. Drop off the MRI's at the surgeon's, one last run to Sam's for 10 rx's - and pretzels - and drop off 2 more gallons of orange juice to stash in my mom's freezer at her condo.

THEN I stay home and *relax.*

Ya know. Mop the floors, finish a little raking outside, like that.

Usually I'm a lot calmer about health issues like this little surgery. Looking back, trying to figure out what set me off into the trepidation zone last week, I realized what it was. What part of it was, anyway.

Doing the pre-op work takes a little time, these days. Blood tests, chest x-ray, EKG, medical clearances from my primary and from my ID doctor.

When I go into medical facilities, I bring a computer printout showing all my meds, my medical history, insurance information, and list of doctors. On that printout it says that I'm infectious, and please, to use precautions around me such as gloves.

I'm adamant about never ever ever giving this germ to anyone else again.

So I went to the imaging center for my chest xray. I'd also scheduled my annual bone density test and mammogram. Get it all done at once.

First was bone density. The tech strapped my foot up to hold me steady - and she was NOT wearing gloves. Never even looked at the printout I gave her.

I said, --Stop. Wash your hands and put on gloves, please. I'm contagious.

She was unconcerned.

I was adamant.

She asked what I had, and I gave her the MRSA, disseminated HSV, mycobacteria speech. I said, I scrubbed in Hibiclens surgical soap from head to toe before I came here, I'm on oral antibiotics too, but just to be extra safe, I try to keep everyone informed. Especially pregnant people, because even though the HSV is NOT shingles, I'm supposed to be careful around pregnant women.

Ooops.

Turns out she was pregnant.

At least it got her to wash her hands and glove up.

The chest xray was next. This was the important one, I needed it for surgery clearance. One extremely competent tech - gloved - was training another one - not gloved.

We did the xray. I told the ungloved one not to handle anything I touched unless she put gloves on. *Why...?* *Because...* all over again.

While waiting for the xray to develop and be OK'd, a woman with an air of competence and authority approached me. She told me I wasn't going to get my mammogram done today.

Why?

None of the techs were willing to do it. They were all too afraid of my germs.

The ensuing discussion included things like, --Why do they ever send you anywhere but a hospital for these tests anyway?--...and assurances from me that I'd rather they were safe than sorry. She said she'd talk to my ID doc and maybe would change her mind, but until then, basically, it was...*Don't come back.*

I've had medicos suit up extravagantly around me, almost in bio-hazard space suit things. I've had others refuse to examine me, very very politely.

Then I see my ID doc - Infectious Disease, who knows my germs beyond anyone else out there - and what precautions does SHE take?

None.

Outside of washing her hands, nothing at all.

She examines me with bare hands, including touching and pressing my skin lesions.

She also reminds me that I'm one of the safest patients out there, largely because I TELL them what I'm carrying. Think of all the germs people carry that they never tell anyone about. Now, think of all the people who are contagious and don't even know it.

Me, I scrub, I use Silvadene and bandaids to cover my boo-boos before I go around people, and I wash my hands constantly. I know what she means about me being safer than most, despite my known germs.

And I don't mind it, and I don't mind when people are scared enough that they won't examine me, so forth. The decision to take that risk is THEIRS, not mine, and I respect the sovereignty of the individual too much to ever take offense at that. That's the whole point of why I'm being so careful.

So it wasn't a sense of injustice or insult that got to me last week. It was just a sort of...shock, I guess. I'd never been thrown out of a medical facility for being Typhoid Mary before. I think I just had to absorb that, process it.

And now, I think I'm pretty much done.

I do know that I feel calmer and quieter about the surgery itself. They're scheduling me as the last patient, as a further precautionary measure. Don't do other surgeries after you touch the MRSA one, right? Sensible. I like that.

I'm ready.

In fact, I'm actually getting kind of...excited about it.

Be nice to have a working right hand again. And get rid of that pain too, I hope. Wrist, pinkie, all that, fingertip almost to the elbow.

Yeah.

Let's do it.

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