Well, that was fast…


As I mentioned earlier, I’m going to have to have sinus surgery, to deal with the return of the polyps that contributed so much to my health woes in the past.
What I’m amazed at is how quickly things are happening. In more than one way.
Back when I had this kind of surgery the last time, a little less than a decade ago, I had it done at the Oregon Health Sciences University, a teaching hospital and one of the best medical centers in the region. And everything took forever.
They were so jammed up that it was usually a month, six weeks, sometimes even three months before an appointment was available, and when we’d go in, it took a long time to get up the hill to where OHSU is located, a pain to find parking in the crowded garage, and then we’d check in at the ENT clinic and wait an hour or two beyond our appointment time to see the doctor. I can’t complain at all about the quality of care, but everything was just interminable, at every stage.
This time, things have gone a bit differently.
Last Thursday, I saw my G.P., to discuss the CAT scans of my sinuses that had been done earlier that day. He said they my whole left side was pretty well swollen shut, but there didn’t seem to be any infection to account for it, so I’d better see an ENT specialist. Where was I treated last, OHSU? That sounded good. I started to protest that maybe we should see someone else, it always took forever to get anything done at OHSU…
He picked up the phone and called down to them, explaining that this was an old patient of Dr. Hwang’s (no longer with the university; he’s at Stanford these days), and I needed an ENT consult, and when could they fit me in? Tuesday.
Tuesday? That’s fast. Since Monday was President’s Day, it’s even a little faster than it seems.
Tuesday we go in to OHSU’s relatively-new Center for Health and Healing (pictured above), which is down at the bottom of the hill, right off the highway. Very easy to get to. It’s linked to the main campus by a ski-lift like tram that runs up to the top of the hill on cables, and I’d like to see the view from that thing sometime, but haven’t needed to yet. There’s a brand-new underground parking garage, and we easily found plenty of parking space on the second level.
In to the Center, and instead of being told that we had to trek to the Administration Building to be issued a new “burgundy card,” a standard part of the old procedure, we checked in for the appointment and within ten minutes were seeing the doctor. He scoped my sinuses, confirmed they were full of polyps, recognized that I’d had previous surgery and that Dr. Hwang must have performed it, and discussed my options with me, confirming that I’d need surgery.
Probably two to three weeks from now, someone in Scheduling would call to set it up. Okay.
The next day, Lea in Scheduling called. The doctor had a cancellation. How did next Tuesday sound?
Well, okay, that’s great! But Tuesday’s now less than a week away, and I’ll need to be on pre-op meds for a week before the surgery, is that enough time? She’ll check.
She checks and calls back. It’s fine. Just start the meds tonight.
So I’m having surgery a week after seeing the ENT surgeon, and only twelve days after being referred to him. That’s the speed of light, compared to our previous experiences.
And today, I had to go on to the Center again, to do some pre-op stuff—a new CAT scan to use in the computer-guided surgery process, and a few other things. They tell me to get there at 2:05 for a 2:15 CAT scan, then I’ll go to the Pre-Op clinic for a 3:00 appointment with a nurse practitioner there for the other stuff. I’ve got a little work to do, so I figured I’d bring my laptop and do some writing while I’m sitting around in waiting areas. Just in case, I have a book and my Kindle, too. Can’t be too prepared.
We get a slightly late start, but traffic was light, we get there right at 2:05. By 2:10 we’re sitting down in the Imaging Center waiting area, and I crack open the laptop. Half a sentence later, I’m being ushered in for my CAT scan, and five minutes later, I’m done.
It’s not yet 2:30, and my next appointment’s at 3:00. So should we sit where Ann’s already settled, and head up to he Pre-Op clinic around 3? What the heck, we’ll go up and check in now.
We go up, we check in, we sit down. I start typing. Three words later they’re calling my name.
We’re whisked into an exam room, where my blood pressure, temperature and pulse are taken all at once, and they ask a lot of questions about what medicines and vitamins and such I’m on, to make sure there won’t be any anaesthesia problems. They need to do an EKG, though, so if I hang on, someone will be in shortly.
Great, no problem, back to typing.
Two words later, here’s a nurse practitioner to do the EKG and answer questions about what I can/can’t eat and whether Ann’ll have time to ferry the family down on Tuesday, drop me off, ferry the girls to school and then come back and find me. No problems.
We’re done and out by 2:55, five minutes before we were supposed to check in for our final appointment of the day.
I could get used to this!
Reality reasserts itself on the way home, as we run into traffic and construction, and what took 30 minutes one way taken almost 90 going back. I pop open the laptop a couple of times to add in a phrase or two before I forget it, but I can’t really write in a moving car. Still haven’t opened the book. Or the Kindle, and I have the new Joe Hill novel, Horns, waiting for me on it, too.
So that was the day. I finished the thing I was working on back at home, and it’s printed out for Ann to proofread, but I’m still a little dazed by how fast everything’s happening.
Or maybe it’s the Predisone.

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