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Lost in Suburbia: Off the (rotator) cuff

By Tracy Beckerman

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“Hi, I’m Doreen. I’ll be your nurse today,” said Nurse Doreen. “We are fixing the torn rotator cuff in your left shoulder, correct?”

I nodded. It felt like déjà surgery. I’d had surgery for a torn meniscus ten months earlier in the same hospital with the same doctor and the same nurse as last time. So, the obvious question was,

“Do I have the same anesthesiologist?” I wondered.

“Who was that?” she asked.

“Watt.”

“Who?”

“Watt.” I repeated.

“What?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Yes, what?” she wondered.

“Right,” I agreed.

She paused. I could see she seemed confused, although I had no idea why.

“OK, let’s try this again,” she began. “Who was your doctor?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Yes, what?”

“No, he was my anesthesiologist.”

“Who?”

“He was my surgeon.”

“Who was your surgeon?”

“Yes, Hu.”

“Don’t you know?”

“I do,” I replied. “It was Hu.”

“That’s what I want to know,” she sighed. “Can we start over?”

“Sure,” I replied.

“OK, tell me, who was your surgeon?”

“Yes, Hu was my surgeon.”

She blinked. “What was the name of your anesthesiologist?”

“Yes, “ I agreed. “Watt was the name of my anesthesiologist.” Confident we were on the same page, I went back to my original question.

“So do I have the same anesthesiologist today?” I asked.

“But we don’t know who you had the first time!!!” she exclaimed.

“WATT!” I replied.

“I said, WE DON’T KNOW WHO YOU HAD THE FIRST TIME!” She shouted.

I paused and decided to take another approach. “OK, who do I have today?”

She looked at my paperwork.

“Watt,” she replied.

“I said, who do I have today?” I repeated.

“Watt,” she said. “ Is that who you had last time?”

“Who?

“Watt.”

“What?”

“Yes,” she said.

I sighed. At this rate I was going to be numb from the conversation before I got my anesthesia anyway.

“You know, I guess it doesn’t really matter who is my anesthesiologist today,” I said.

“OK,” she replied. “But Hu is your surgeon.”

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Lost in Suburbia: Off the (rotator) cuff