I had my pre-op appointment on Monday and everything went swimmingly thanks to the awesome folks at Columbia-Presbyterian. The sign outside does not lie. And when I checked-in for my appointment, my surgeon serendipitously walked by, in a blue-scrub blur. I would have made him stop for a picture, but I didn’t want to prevent him from saving a life.
First up was a meeting with the Cardiac Outreach Specialist (or at least that’s what I think her title was). I was given a fabulous canvas tote bag with all sorts of goodies: a robe, special soap to shower with the night before and morning of surgery, and paperwork galore.
The paperwork was actually quite informative and gave a lot of detail about what to expect for the entire duration of my time in the hospital. It also came in a snazzy folder.
Next I was sent downstairs to be poked and prodded and baselined. This entailed checking-in at the Heart Center Lab along with what seemed like half of the city. I imagine the crowds are what gave them the hilarious idea of issuing buzzers (like the ones at chain restaurants) to each person as they sign in. It felt like a cross between The Cheesecake Factory and the DMV.
Luckily I had an ace in the pocket: Marjorie. She checked me in and told me how to game the system. It seems I had to visit both the laboratory and radiology (for a baseline chest X-ray). The Lab was the busier of the two and also issued buzzers for those in line. Radiology, on the other hand, usually was in less demand and therefore the wait was much less. Marjorie instructed me to go get my lab buzzer and then instead of waiting to be called, go straight to radiology because by the time I was done there, I still wouldn’t have made it to the front of the lab queue. So that’s exactly what I did.
I got to try on yet another fabulously fashionable hospital gown before sitting for my portait. By sitting, I mean standing. And by portrait, I mean X-ray.
The X-ray tech was lovely, but didn’t want to be in the photo, so instead you just get this shot of equipment porn.
After the X-ray, I headed back to wait to be buzzed by the lab, which had not happened yet – just like Marjorie said. Finally though, my buzzer went off and I found myself wishing I really was at The Cheesecake Factory since I hadn’t eaten in a while. Not such luck. Rather than being seated at a table, I was “seated” in a lab room sans menu. My lab tech Washington was cool though and took my blood and did and EKG all in under 10 minutes. He also couldn’t stop saying how he really dug my name. I was happy to stick around to keep being told how awesome my name was, but unfortunately he made me go.
So two hours and forty-five minutes after I walked in, I was released back into the real world with another wrist souvenir.
Then I waved goodbye to the Milstein Center and told it to be strong, I would be back next week. Sadly, it didn’t wave back.