minor operation


Vista from En Chu Gong hospital 14th floor visitor room.

Last time I was given anesthesia I was 14 years old. I had fractured both arms around my wrists. I was playing a game of Lagori Someone threw a ball at me and it was off target. Eyes on the ball and I ran backwards in my attempt to catch it. One of my shoe laces came loose and I stepped on it with my other leg. I used my both arms to break my fall as I fell backwards. Nothing hurt but my wrists started to swell up immediately after that. That day I was given a general anesthesia if I remember correctly.

Today however I got my second anesthesia as I had a minor surgery on my back. I was carrying this little bump on my back for past several years. It didn’t hurt even if I pressed it or poked at it. However recently I got back in to exercising and it suddenly started to swell up and also caused some discomfort. I figured it was time to check it out. Last weekend during the check up doc advised me to remove it by surgery as tumor looked benign but might have caused some inflammation under the skin. The technical term he used to describe it was epidermis tumor but I think he meant Epidermal Cyst . They say you could develop one of these on scalp, face, neck, chest, upper back, genitals, or behind the ears. I’m glad to have it on my upper back instead of on any of those other parts.

So this morning I checked myself in on the 5th floor of En Chu Gong hospital, a major hospital right behind our apartment building. I had been on this 5th floor 3 times before. Once on each of my two kids birth and once for a minor surgery of my wife. A lot of nervous wait, joyful moments and painful memories came back. I was given a wrist tag that had my identification information and asked to change into operation room cloths.

Few minutes later, two nurses came and asked me couple of questions to verify my identity and whether I was aware of what I was going to be operated for. After the questionnaire one of the nurse led me to the operating room. Ambient music was on and few nurses shuffled equipments around. I was told to lie face down. My whole upper back and head was covered with towels and only the area of my upper back was open.

Surgeon, the same doctor who diagnosed me, gave me local anesthesia and explained me the process. Doc made a test incision to check if anesthetics have kicked in. It hurt so he waited for another 15~20 seconds more and made another test incision. This time I didn’t feel anything. Next 10~15 mins I spend listening to doc explaining the process to another much younger fellow which I think was an apprentice. I also noticed a couple things such as my hands started shaking involuntarily, I could actually hear the tearing of my skin and cutting of body tissues, blood squirting and rushing down my back & neck. I hurt a little here and there as I guess the anesthesia might not be uniformly spread across but it was okay. I could handle it.

I could hear a cooler liquid getting sprayed inside the wound which I suppose was to clean and check if any part of the cyst wall is left. As the doc stitched the wound I asked him how much longer the anesthetics would keep in effect and was told I should be okay for another two hours. I was also shown the cyst that was removed. It was approx 2cm in diameter and looked pretty gross. I am trying to forget it ever since.

Before the operation doctor had emphatically told me that I could go to office in the afternoon. I should have known he was joking. Once the anesthesia wore off it felt like someone was constantly poking a knife in my back. It hurt every time my back muscles worked which by the way happened almost every time I did anything like turning my head sideways or just lifting my arms a bit. Nevertheless makes me appreciate more to be alive in these times when anesthetics are available.

Later we went to 14th floor of En Chu Gong to get my ultrasound scan of lever done. Last year I was diagnosed with fatty lever however in today’s checkup it was found that I don’t have fatty lever anymore. So two good things to take away from today’s visit to En Chu Gong.

Published: September 05 2013

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