On the Brink
This morning I went to the hospital for my final pre-op bloodwork, a consultation with the hospital's patient advocate, and a consultation with an anesthesiologist. Once again I've managed to become a bit freaked out at the gravity of unsurprising information. First of all, I do have to say that I think it's smart for a hospital to have a person whose whole job is to be a patient advocate. Do all hospitals have patient advocates on staff these days? They really should. She offered so much information about the ins and outs of being in the hospital - it was very helpful in terms of knowing what to expect and how to deal with different issues that may arise. This was the same lady who had taken the time to give me the information from the spine class over the phone (good news: I don't have to go to the four-hour class tomorrow morning!). She said that I should spend a couple of days wearing my brace before I have my surgery so that I'll not only get used to wearing it, but I'll also know what questions to ask the physical and occupational therapists in terms of how best to go about my ADLs (hospitalspeak for "activities of daily living"). So far (read: in the last hour) I've noticed that the following things are difficult to do with my brace on: getting into bed, getting comfortable in bed, getting out of bed, sitting up in bed, rolling onto my side while I'm in bed, and reaching for things. I know that the PT and OT will likely be painful while I'm in the hospital, but I'm finding that I'm very thankful for having had the experience of working in a nursing-home-slash-inpatient-rehab-facility with a huge staff of PTs and OTs last year. I've spent a lot of time watching them and working with them and even though I know the therapy itself can be painful, I really am taking comfort in the fact that I know they really know what they're doing and that I'm finding that I have a lot of trust for them.
The thing that really freaked me out today, though, was that the hospital staff gave me a form to fill out with advance directives detailing a living will and power of attorney. My mom was with me at the hospital and when I said that she should be my POA, she actually said that it'd probably be better for me to appoint my dad. Honestly I think either one of them would be fine - I don't actually have a preference between the two of them - but somehow it was comforting to see that she was just as freaked out about the need for advance directives as I was. I don't think I can bring myself to fill out the form just yet... although I'll have to do it tonight so my dad can take it to his office to get it notarized tomorrow... but somehow it's comforting even just to know that I can put it off for a few hours.
I'm finding comfort in some really odd things these days, aren't I?
Thank you so much for the emails of support today (as always). I just want to clarify that they shouldn't actually need to use the advance directives for this surgery. It really shouldn't be an issue that comes anywhere near that; what freaked me out earlier (and still does freak me out) is being asked to think about it. As I've discussed with some of you, I do think it wise to have advance directives and a living will in place. It's just bizarre to actually make those decisions. (Sample question: "If you are pregnant..." - which, believe me, I am nowhere near.) I did fill out the forms tonight, though, and I'm glad to know that whatever happens - at any point - I do have my wishes in writing and they will be respected. Oddly comforting, once again. What is with me today?