Yesterday's outpatient surgical procedure appears to have been successful. I've got a new, relatively deep slice taken out of my left thigh, just below the groin, where the abscess was opened up and "washed out", so to speak. It's going to be left to drain again, and the hope is that it'll seal itself up permanently. Here's hoping!
It was intensely frustrating, as always, to have to deal with the hospital staff. I'm sure they're doing their best as they see it, but almost without exception they won't look you in the eye, won't engage in any sort of human-to-human conversation, and maintain what I suppose they'd call a "professional distance". Time was, I recall, when one was treated like a human being in hospital, and expected to treat the hospital staff in the same way. Today... not so much. It's abstract, remote, and not very "caring" from the patient's perspective. One feels like a piece of meat on the slab in a butcher's shop.
Just as frustrating is the difficulty of digging information out of the system and the personnel. I had some prior bloodwork done, but had never been informed of the results. Yesterday morning I was informed that a major health indicator was "out of balance", and I needed to address it urgently - but nobody had called me as soon as it was discovered, days before the procedure, to alert me to it and give me an early opportunity to deal with it. What's more, no follow-up treatment was suggested or offered. Instead, I was told that I needed to fix it, without any further information or input. Fortunately, I'm aware enough of my condition and potential treatments that I can do that: but others, without that advantage, might be left floundering. Why couldn't someone just have called, told me what the test revealed, and offered a suggestion or two as to a way forward? Would that have been so difficult? From the lack of effort, I can only suppose that yes, it would have been that difficult - at least, in their eyes.
To make matters more frustrating, my surgeon lectured me on what he considers to be the best short-term solution to the problem (which, perhaps inevitably from his perspective, would involve more surgery). He completely failed to provide the other side of the argument, which is that the operation in question frequently results in complications, is of limited effect, and is fully successful in less than a third of cases - all facts I already knew. Needless to say, I won't be following his suggestion. I don't like being taken for a fool.
Sometimes the system is amusing. I had my procedure under local anesthetic. As part of the preparation for surgery, the anesthetist stopped by and informed me that I'd be fitted with a drip, so that if emergency anesthesia was needed (in case of complications), it could be administered without delay. That was understandable: but he also informed me he was going to give me a "pre-anesthesia" dose, something to relax and sedate me without knocking me unconscious, similar to what they give patients before a colonoscopy. He was startled and upset when I refused that, saying I wanted only the local anesthetic.
"But... but... everybody gets the preliminary shot!"
"I don't want it. It's only a little pain."
"Oh... well... I suppose it's your right to choose."
Yes, it is, and I exercised that right. In the theater, the anesthetic technician was also surprised by my choice, and couldn't understand how anyone would want to "endure pain". First of all, there wasn't much to endure, and second, I'm a combat veteran. I've been shot, stabbed, bashed around and sundry other unpleasantries. I know what real pain feels like. Compared to those injuries, a little scalpel work is nothing to write home about. The local anesthetic took care of 90% of it, and I sat through the rest. That's all there is to it... but clearly, that wasn't the politically or anesthetically correct response!
Oh, well. After more than 20 hospitalizations for this, that and the other, with stays ranging from a few hours to 40 days, I've grown accustomed to (but still intensely dislike) being no more than a digit in the system. I suppose it's the inevitable result of more and more people seeking care from fewer and fewer doctors, nurses and medical facilities. The torrent of illnesses, injuries and complaints overwhelms the system, effectively forcing it to become dehumanized in many ways. I don't know how that can be fixed, except for those wealthy enough to have access to concierge medicine and private facilities.