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Where to go for surgery?

3/26/2005

MGB is only performed by a select few surgeons in 5 or 6 locations in the US. My selection of High Point was not very scientific. I live in Vermont, so the 2 closest locations were High Point or Bay City, MI. Since my surgery was taking place in late winter, I chose High Point because I figured I'd have a better chance of seeing some signs of spring if I headed south. Since we are required to remain in the general area for a week after surgery, I wanted somewhere close enough to drive to. Flying and renting a car there would have increased costs too much. As it turned out, the friend who accompanied me as a support person (Anne) is very familiar with the route to NC. Her brother has a vacation home not far from the hospital, and after I was released, we went there for the remainder of my time in NC.

Let me tell you how wonderful that decision was! I arrived for my pre-op check in on Wednesday afternoon. The process was very efficient and friendly. The woman who took my information was very professonal and organized. When we were done, she walked me down the hall where I was interviewed again by a nurse anesthetist, then by another member of the hospital and by the MGB nurse. They all asked the same questions, but in a little different way. Rather than get annoyed by that, I was impressed. I know each of them learned more and retained more than they would have if they simply read a chart completed by one person. It was clear they had my interests in mind.
Later that afternoon, Anne and I went to a clinic at the Millis Center, right across from the hospital. There, I met Dr. Dasher who was my surgeon. I also met Debbie Green who is the MGB coordinator. I had only dealt with her by e-mail until then, so it was a real pleasure to meet her face to face. I also met my "litter-mate", Joan, who had surgery the same day. Another woman stopped by to visit who had the operation 6 weeks before. Think about how unique this is in the medical world! We had quite a lively interaction, between the 2 pre-ops, the 1 post-op and all 3 support people, surgeon, nurse and coordinator. What one didn't think to ask, the other did, and we all learned a great deal, as well as developing a larger support group for all.
After that meeting, Anne and I went to a steak house for dinner. Some people go all out for their "last supper". We are warned that our surgery and recovery will be much easier if we don't do that. I had no interest in a huge meal. I was too excited to eat! I had a salad and my last cup of coffee. Since I had to be at the hospital at 6 AM, I showered with the anti-bacterial soap as required, took my pre-op meds and went to bed early. Tomorrow truly would be the first day of the rest of my life. I felt very comfortabe with the surgeon, the hospital and the staff. All had explained exactly what to expect to me and to Anne, so there was no anxiety at all.

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