‘Magic 8 Ball’ has all the answers

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 6, 2004

My publisher and I have had a bet going this past week. We even have $50 in &uot;Monopoly&uot; money wagered on the deal. We have joked and hypothesized about the various reasons folks have given for my weeklong absence from work. The word leaked I was having some sort of &uot;secret surgery,&uot; and the rumors started to fly. I heard from several sources I was having a gastric bypass, a face-lift, and my favorite…breast augmentation. Well, they were all wrong. My &uot;secret surgery&uot; involved the removal of an unneeded, extraneous, tumor-laden ovary.

I’ve got to admit – I have had a good bit of fun keeping folks guessing about this one. It’s not that I am cruel or mean spirited – but seldom have I been in control of the &uot;rumor mill&uot; regarding my health. I’ve been through this ordeal a few times before, and I have to tell you surgery is in fact, a cakewalk. The time leading up the surgery is a royal pain in the derriere. When folks know you are going through a crisis – they can’t help but gossip about it, and generally think of the worst possible scenario that will lead to your ultimate demise (though their intentions are of course good). Therefore, I have learned to keep this sort of data under wraps.

Before being rolled into the operating room, I asked everyone planning to handle a scalpel during my procedure to swing by for a quick visit. I don’t know about you, but I like to have a little &uot;face time&uot; with anyone whose job description involves &uot;slicing and dicing&uot; my body.


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I asked each a series of pertinent questions: &uot;Are you in a good mood today?&uot; &uot;No fights pending with your kids, boss or significant other?&uot; &uot;Did you get plenty of sleep last night?&uot; Once I was confident all &uot;slicers and dicers&uot; were on task, I declared &uot;the game&uot; officially on.

After my first hit of Viccadin or Varsette (or whatever good stuff they use these days), I was feeling groovy so I decided to have a little chat with Dan, the surgical nurse. I had spent all morning aggravating the pre-op nurse – no reason to stop now.

As he put that hideous silver shower cap on my head while hooking me up to some machine with suction cups and cords running in a dozen directions, I asked Dan to consider, at the very least, allowing my well-earned title of &uot;Diva&uot; to stand. I begged for him to allow my fringy, newly texturized bangs to peek out of the alien space cap and gracefully swoop across my forehead for that &uot;glam girl&uot; effect. Since I was having to get sliced up, which isn’t too much fun, I thought he would at least give me the pleasure of a good hair day.

Though Sylvia (the best nurse at Obici) and Valencia (the nurse anesthetist – also very cool) seemed all too humored by my request, Dan was unmoved. To my chagrin, he crammed my bangs into the silver cap, putting my official state of diva-hood in question for the rest of the day. With zero make-up on and a hospital gown complex, certainly a little bang action wouldn’t hurt anything. Luckily, I was too drugged up to realize it for most of the day.

The surgery, though longer than expected, seemed to go off without a hitch. Post-op was another story. Apparently, my body does not like being under general anesthesia for more than three hours, and as a result, decided to rebel and partake in a little Jane Fonda-style workout right in the middle of post-op. According to my doctor, and many other observers, I could have easily led a Jazzercise class with all the thrashing about my legs seemed to be doing. Though the reason for my thrashing was unclear, I was admitted to the hospital for observation.

Moments before being wheeled back to my room, I had the pleasure of expelling various bodily fluids from multiple areas of my body pretty much simultaneously. I must tell you, when a nurse states she has never seen such a vivid shade a green in all her years of nursing, makes you think not only are you a freak of nature (with your techno green vomit, blue pee and a plethora of extra spleens and tumors), but also you may come off the morphine in a day or so with an alien spawn inseminated in your womb. I’m just saying – the thought crosses one’s mind when the morphine is high enough.

Here’s my advice to survive such a surgery, both mentally and physically.

Recommendation #1: Bring ample distracters the day of surgery. Television choices like the &uot;Price is Right&uot; and repeats of &uot;In the Heat of the Night.&uot; may not keep your mind off your impending doom. By the way, does anyone else think Bob Barker should be on display in a wax museum?

Recommendation #2: Bring a cell phone or a Pocket PC so you can feel connected with the outside world. Be advised however, you can’t hack into the hospital’s remote wireless server to retrieve your e-mail. I tried.

Recommendation #3: Make a point to befriend the mouthiest nurse on the floor. He or she will be will be a great ally when you are spewing multicolored fluids, walking with your rear exposed through your hospital gown, and high as a kite on morphine. My personal favorite – Sylvia in pre-op! She is the best!

Recommendation #4: Don’t tick off the surgical nurse or surgical tech. He or she not only controls the future of your &uot;diva-hood&uot; but also controls the razor. Need I say more?

Recommendation #5: Have your daddy rescue you from hospital room a few hours early. Have him host a &uot;Farewell to your Tumor&uot; party and invite all your friends over, (as my awesome daddy did for me)! This makes the drama of it all – tolerable!

Recommendation #6: Find a good surgeon. Mine was awesome – young, cool, and on top of her game. So, dear readers, if you need a baby birthed, or ovary removed, or other ailment cured, Dr. Dianna C. Hicks with Genis Women’s Care, P.C. is your gal!

Recommendation #7: Keep the mystery alive. Do as I did this morning upon returning to work. Ask folks how your &uot;boob-job&uot; looks. It will give you a hell of a giggle, keep your mind off the contents of your tumor-laden ovary, and keep the rumor mill going long enough for your column to publish.

Anyhow, I’m still waiting to hear what was growing inside that tumor and I hope to hear from pathology soon. However, I did question a higher power – my &uot;Magic 8 Ball:&uot; Is my future looking bright?

It’s answer: &uot;It is decidedly so!&uot;

Rebecca Hill is the advertising director and a regular columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald. She can be contacted at 934-9601 or via e-mail: rebecca.hill@suffolknewsherald.com