Thursday, May 13th 2010
A New Surgeon – The next day, the new surgeon came in and introduced himself. He’s also a real funny guy and we had a grand old chat. It turns out that he lived in Houston for a couple of years right before we lived in Dallas, so we talked about the common experiences of Aussies living in Texas, difficulties with the language, nuances of the culture, and all that.
Surgeons and Pilots – I’ve come to the conclusion that surgeons have that great alpha kind of personality, sometimes misidentified as arrogance – a bit like airline pilots. Yes, they are confident; yes, they are cocky; but really, do you want a pilot that says “Er… Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. This is … um … your … er …. captain here, and I kinda hope that we might be able to…. you know…. maybe land this … er …. plane … um … safely”. NO, you want someone who knows sure as hell “I’m the greatest pilot the world has seen, and I’m getting y’all to where y’all are going without any problems. And y’all can go to the bank on that one!!!!”
What’s Involved – And I wanted a surgeon that was the same. Someone who would bet on his own ability to see me through what was fairly complex surgery. You see, the first operation was laparoscopic, so not really invasive, small incisions, suck out the kidney, neat and tidy. But this one was “open”; that is, he was going to make a vertical incision down the front of me, move the stuff to one side, and reach down towards the back to get to the “stub” of that pesky little renal vein. That vein attaches to the inferior vena cava (IVC) – the main vein that runs up and down alongside of the vertebral column carrying blood from the lower part of the body and the major organs to the heart. And he’d have to cut that stub off and open the IVC, and make sure it looked ok, and then stitch up the IVC, and then put all the guts and stuff back in place and then stitch me up.
The Risks – And I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get … well …. stitched up, to coin a phrase, in the process. So I asked him, “What are the risks?” His response was one for the ages. “Well there is a risk of bleeding. But we should be able to handle that. Look, I guess you could bleed to death, but I’d be really disappointed if that happened”. When he saw the looks on our faces, he turned to Helene and quickly added “Yeah, I guess you would be too, eh!?” Great!!!!! See you on Saturday, Doc……. (to be continued)