It Takes As Long As It Takes
They say that doctors make the worst patients. But what they fail to add is that doctor’s relatives come a close second. Case in point is at my mom. A couple of days ago my mother had to be admitted to the hospital for a cholecystectomy, or in normal English, a gall bladder surgery to remove her gall bladder which had become blocked with gall stones. Like all patients my mom had plenty of questions and as the doctor we had chosen for her surgery being a hot-shot surgeon who didn’t communicate much to the patient’s I had to bear the brunt of the questioning. Here’s a sample:
Mom: Is this a good doctor?
Me : well, I guess so. I talked to some friends and colleagues and they recommend him as having the best success rate.
Mom : so you guarantee he is good?
Me : well, you know, I cannot guarantee anything, even the best doctors have an off-day and things can be bizarre during the simplest surgeries but yours is pretty much a straightforward procedure, so we don’t have to worry much about the doctor.
Mom: don’t you know anything about this? Aren’t you a doctor too?
Me : of course I know a little about this – but only the theory part. And yes I am doctor too, but I am not this kind of doctor, my specialty is different.
Mom : aren’t all doctors supposed to know everything about diseases? Like for emergencies?
Me : yes of course – for emergencies, like there was a plane crash in the Sahara desert and there is no other doctor for 3000 miles anywhere, then I suppose I can do something about it. But right now we are in a big city in a big hospital with the best doctors treating you- so I will let the experts work on you and stay out of it.
Mom: will you be there? I mean watching inside?
Me : I would love to, but I would rather not. No surgeon will like it when someone else comes and stands beside them to observe them. especially if it’s a relative of the patient. They get nervous and we don’t want that do we? We want him relaxed and concentrating on your surgery alone and not on me. Besides each hospital has different policies and they usually never allow any stranger, including docs inside the operation theatre.
Mom: how long will this take? Is this a big surgery or a small one?
Me : it’s the smallest of surgeries. You should be done by an hour or so. But we don’t know what the doctor prefers – whether he prefers to work fast or slow. So depending on his technique the timing may change. We can’t say right now how long it will take- just make a guess.
Mom: ok how long will take for me to get well?
Me : the minute the thing is out of your body- you are getting well.
Mom : that’s not what I meant. Getting well from the surgery I mean
Me : hmmm, like all wounds it takes about a week’s time after the surgery – for the wound to become strong enough to no longer need the stitches. But it might take a month to get back its full strength again. Why do you bother about that? Let it take as long as it takes.
And on that note we ended our conversation. Sitting along with my mom in the hospital room while she rested – for my dad who is alternating with me, has gone home to change before coming back- I was bored out of my skull and thought I would write something for my blog to pass the time. It was either that or to play stick tennis again on my mobile phone and I am frankly getting fed up of the number of time that federer keeps beating me that I am sorely tempted to delete the game. And so arose this blog post composed of a view from the other side- the patients’ side. Watch out for more hospital updates in the coming days.