You know how on TV when surgeons butt-bump their way into the OR it's this gigantic room with spiffy tile walls and massive pieces of equipment that damn near beep in synchronicity?
Real life, not so much...
I was awake until I was in the OR and strapped down onto the table, and let me tell you, that was a major disappointment. They rolled me into a room that could have been a typical patient care room, but with a giant overhead light fixture and a way-too-narrow bed in the middle. No shiny, spiffy tile walls...just walls. No massive equipment taking up an entire wall, just an anesthesia machine--there may have been more but it wasn't THERE so I didn't see it.
They had me slide myself over to the tiny table--really! no one counted to three and then lifted me!--and then they strapped my legs down and then my arms out to each side. My last coherent thought was "holy hell...I'm being crucified."
We did not go to the base hospital because face it, retirees are low man on the medical hierarchy totem pole there*. Similar pain a few years ago had me sent home from the base ER with orders to follow up with my PCP within 48 hours...and that 48 hours turned into a month without seeing her, with another ER visit thrown in for good measure. They never did figure out what was wrong with me. I wanted to go to the civilian hospital, and that's where the Spouse Thingy took me.
I don't think he got the paperwork completely done before someone was taking me to the back, and as soon as they ruled out an MI they gave me an IV and pain meds. PAIN MEDS THAT WORKED! I totally love dilaudin (sp?) now. I didn't wait 3 hours just to see a doc, I saw him pretty freaking quick, and he took my pain seriously. Hell, everyone there did.
Instead of waiting a month for an abdominal ultrasound, I had one within an hour (or so...I may be fuzzy on actual time here. Drugs may play a part in that...) and was in surgery (and suffering crushing disappointment over the actual OR) by noon(ish.) From the time I hit my room until I was released, I had incredibly attentive care and didn't have to beg for pain medication. (And yes, they really do ask you repeatedly if you've farted yet...)
Gotta admit, Vacavalley hospital in Vacaville gets a big thumbs up from me.
Oh, and the at-home nursing care has been top notch, too. :)
*I don't blame the people working at the base hospital; I blame how terribly short staffed they are, and how crappily Tricare schedules appointments...after over a year trying to see my endocrinologist there, we had to get a civilian doc. The medical people care, the insurance grunts? Not. So. Much.