Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In the waiting room

The word for today is "waiting."

Kaleb had surgery this morning. Without going into the gory details, it was elective surgery designed to correctly complete an elective surgery that was not very successful the day after he was born. 'Nuff said.

I went to bed early...9:30 p.m. on Monday night...and actually managed to fall asleep right away. Kaleb was already in bed at the time. Jenn, for some reason (maybe the Dr. Pepper????) was wide awake and decided to stay up for a bit. Glad she did, because Kaleb woke up at 10:30 p.m. and was hungry. She came to bed again shortly after he zonked out again.

It was surprisingly easy to get moving this morning when the alarm went off at 3:30 a.m. I got showered and dressed and started making sure everything was packed and ready to go. Jenn got up shortly after and did the same. We got Kaleb up about 15 minutes before we left.

We were the first customers at McDonald's at 5:01 a.m. and actually had to wait for them to get the register ready. Then it was off to the hospital in Toledo.

We got there at 5:45, valet parking (trusting your car is a difficult thing to do, even if he has a name tag and hospital logo on his shirt!!!!) and got K-Bob registered. By then he was wide awake and was running up and down the halls and babbling at the top of his lungs. He loves to listen to echoes, and hospital hallways are good places to hear them.

We waited for 20 minutes before we were called upstairs to pre-op, where we waited some more. We held him the entire time in pre-op, where a number of things surprised me. The first most surprising thing was how open it was. We were in plain view of 4 other beds filled with 4 other patients. Somehow, it seems Health Insurance Privacy Protection Act law, which prevents hospitals from even acknowledging you exist, even to family members who call to inquire about your well-being, have managed to protect your privacy from the guy on the next gurney. Weird.

The second strange thing about pre-op is how many times you are asked the same exact question by countless number of people, regardless of how many times it is written on all of their multiple charts. I can't even begin to tell you how many times we were asked the following questions:
  • Does he have any allergies?
  • When was the last time he ate?
  • Is there a family history of trouble with anesthetics?
  • I see he had RSV. Tell me about that.
  • When was the last time he took medication of any kind?
  • What is the air velocity of an unladen swallow? (bonus points for those who catch this reference)
Ad nauseum; ad infinitum; lather, rinse, repeat.

We spent more than an hour in pre-op answering the same 5 questions over and over again. I think 6 people quizzed us using the same test questions.

And then Kaleb was off to the races, wrapped in a warm blanket and whisked away to the operating room while we were left alone to figure out that we were to leave and make our way to the waiting room all by our lonesome. It's a good thing we both have broad shoulders because we were really left out to dry. I should mention that in their "suggestion box." Some parents who have just handed their child off to a stranger who is going to knock him out cold and cut him might not have their wits about them quite as much as we did.

So now, after an hour and 20 minutes of waiting, the REAL waiting began.

Jenn and I snagged some really runny, cold eggs, tater tots (hmm...I should watch Napoleon Dynamite again), and bacon (Jenn gave me hers because it was more like pig jerky than bacon), and then returned to the waiting room. Jenn read a few pages in a book and then cried her eyes out while Good Morning America or the Today Show, or whatever it was, showed bits and pieces of the last interview of Patrick Swayze interspersed with appropriate (or inappropriate?) clips from his film "Ghost." I have been informed by Jenn that not only will we be watching the interview when it airs tonight, we will ALSO be watching Dirty Dancing sometime soon. Sounds like a good reason to me to go get lost in a corn field on purpose!!!!

I read a few pages in my book, but had a hard time concentrating. I was clock-watching instead.

An hour later, almost to the minute (now about 8:20 a.m.) the doctor who performed the surgery came down and updated us and gave us some after-care instruction. His update and instructions alike were pretty graphic. Again, this was in front of everyone in the waiting room; HIPPA laws be damned.

We then waited for permission to return upstairs. This was another 10-minute wait. During that time, Jenn's mother arrived and began waiting with us. She came up because we needed to make sure that Jenn and Kaleb got home safely and quickly. I couldn't go home because I had an interview scheduled for 11 a.m. in Perrysburg. More about that later.

So we finally get called to go back up and see our little guy, and when we arrive, he is still unconscious (he was put completely under, including an IV for this procedure). So again, we waited for him to wake up. That took about 20 minutes, during which time we got additional after-care instruction from a nurse, asked a bunch of questions, and signed a bunch of papers.

When Kaleb finally woke up, he was RAVENOUS. He downed three bottles of sugar water provided by the hospital before he finally settled. He fought the nurse when she tried to take out his IV. Jenn held him, and I had to get involved by holding his arm still so the nurse could cut away the gauze that held the IV in place.

Now, I get blood tests once each year for a condition I have had since birth. I can watch them stick me and draw blood all day, but IVs are something that turn my stomach when they have tried to give them to me in the past. To watch them give them to or take them out of someone else is completely intolerable. I can't even watch people getting flu shots on the news.

So you have to appreciate the vision of me squatted down next to Jenn, who is seated comfortably in a chair holding onto Kaleb for dear life as he kicks and screams. In the meantime, I am holding Kaleb's arm still so the nurse can cut off the bandage and remove the IV, and all of this is happening at eye-level. MY eye level. Blech.

With that trauma finally over with, we get to take him home, only THIS time, we are escorted back to the waiting room.

Jenn, Kaleb and Elaine climbed in one vehicle and head back to Bowling Green while I climbed in our van and head toward Perrysburg for my interview.

(Before I move on to the interview portion, I want to inform you that Kaleb is doing VERY well. He is back to his babbling; he is walking, though gingerly, and he is for the most part happy. He is sleeping a LOT, eating monstrous amounts of anything he can get his hands on, and is being his all-around monster-ham self. Now, we return to our regularly-scheduled program).

This interview was scheduled two weeks prior. Jenn and I had talked right before I received the phone call and she gave me some advice, which was this: Pick a time in the middle of the pack. If you are first, they will forget you. If you are last, they already have their minds made up by the time you get in there.

So being a good listener, I chose the middle day when I was given the choice. Wouldn't you know it, I picked the same day as Kaleb's surgery and damned if I didn't hear about it for two weeks straight. Oh well. My fault. I neglected to add Kaleb's surgery to my Google calendar. My fault and I admit it. But I wasn't about to change the interview for fear of losing whatever good standing I may or may not have had.

Here's the rub: I wore my street clothes to the surgery with the intent of changing while we were waiting for Kaleb to be released. That happened way earlier than expected. So I drove to the Way Public Library in Perrysburg and changed in their public restroom. Ever do that? It's really uncomfortable standing there in your skivvies while people walk in, do their business, and leave. I caught two people who neglected to wash after doing the deed. Nasty.

It's also distracting when the motion-sensing toilet in your stall is flushing every two minutes because you are setting it while changing your clothes.

So I did that, read a little bit, and got my head in a good place for the interview before I drove the two blocks and jumped in the snake pit.

For those of you not paying attention to this blog, I applied for a dispatching position with the City of Perrysburg Police Department.

I think things went pretty well. I answered the questions as best I could; I only regret one answer. I didn't say anything bad; I was just taken off-guard and gave a really weak response.

I also learned some new things. I originally was told that there were 16 finalists. Now there are either 14 or 15. I don't know why that number went down and I don't care, either. Maybe they found a new job, or maybe their background check disqualified them.

I was under the assumption that after this week's round of first interviews, the final two would be chosen, contacted, and put through a psychological examination, a physical, and a drug test, followed by a SECOND interview. I was under the assumption that then and only then would the selection committee make a recommendation to council.

I was wrong. This was the ONLY interview. It was my last chance to make a good impression. I hope I did what I needed to do. Any examinations and tests, I was informed, will be done AFTER the job is offered to someone.

I was told that I should know my fate by the end of NEXT week (by Sept. 26).

I have done all I can do.

Now, I wait...