Monday, June 3, 2013

Surgery - Korea Style!

This is a photo I took of Rocketman's hospital window which we called the "suicide window." We were told the window only opens a few inches to prevent suicides.

When Dr. Ahn, the urologist, finally agreed to remove Rocketman's kidney stone he didn't garner any confidence with his choice of words. He told us that it would be a very difficult surgery since the stone was so close to the kidney but he would try his best, but that he might fail. He told us this without an interpreter and with very good English. When I asked my Korean girlfriends about this they were not surprised at all with what he had said. A doctor would never be confident when speaking about a surgery because of the uncertainty of the outcome. It was like he didn't want to make any false promises.

I told my friends that doctor's are just the opposite here in the States. Even if they think the patient may have a terrible outcome, they try to be very positive and upbeat. Dr. Ahn seemed nervous and unsure, which, of course, made me a nervous wreck, and Rocketman, well he just wanted the stone out.

We were waiting in Rocketman's hospital room when a flurry of nurses came in to wheel him out for surgery some two hours before it was scheduled. I was left to wait in the room and thought it would be an hour or two before I saw him. I prayed, I watched television and I looked outside the "suicide window" as the hours ticked by. Finally, after three hours he was wheeled in and was very alert. I was surprised when he said that they just finished the surgery and wheeled him back to his room. No recovery room.

He was in a lot of pain and he wasn't loopy like he had been after surgery in the U.S. He also came back with a catheter. Dr. Ahn and his entourage came to visit a few hours later along with the interpreter. He brought us all out to the nurse's station and proceeded to tell us what had went on. It indeed had turned into a difficult surgery. When he added air to Rocketman's ureter to add the stent and to remove the stone, he tore the ureter. He had to stop the surgery and add dye to Rocketman to see the damage and sure enough, he had a photo to show us the tear and the dye leaking out.

He went on to say that the stent went in and he used a cage to try to capture the stone but the stone went back into the kidney. I could tell that this was bad news. He said he was able to capture it and crush it but pieces had scattered, even being trapped between the ureter and the stent. The pieces that he left were small and he was sure they would pass except he didn't have an answers for the ones trapped.

During this time another patient, an ajjosshi thought it would be nice to stop and listen to what was going on. He didn't seem to mind that it wasn't any of his business and it just infuriated Rocketman. Also during this time, a nurse decided to empty his catheter bag in front of everyone. It was the strangest thing.

Dr. Ahn told us that Rocketman would be in the hospital another 4-5 days to recover. Rocketman wasn't having any of that and I really thought that he would be ready to leave the next day. I was basing all of this on the similar surgery he had in the States eight years previous. It would turn out that I was wrong and so very wrong. Here we thought the removal of the stone would end Rocketman's suffering but instead it was only the beginning. Stay tuned.

I took a video of Rocketman's hospital room:

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