Dr. Robert Santaella
The surgery was done by Dr. Robert Santaella at Forest Park Medical Center in Frisco, TX. I received the referral to Dr. Santaella from my Primary Care Physician, Dr. Chris Noyes. (I've posted about my great experiences with Dr. Noyes as my children's doctor, but since late August, I have begun seeing him as well.)
I had my original office visit with Dr. Santaella in early September, when he verified what I was certain of; I had a pretty big hernia that needed to be surgically repaired.
I had had hernia surgery before, but that was when I was ten years old. That one was also in inguinal hernia, but on the right side. I also had another procedure done at that time and had a brief stay in the hospital. I do remember some painful follow-up visits from that surgery but learned that those were due to an infection that had developed.
I felt that Dr. Santaella and I hit it off really well and very quickly. He went to Catholic High in Baton Rouge, is an LSU grad - although he did some time at that "Ala-something-or-other" school - and went to John Hopkins Medical School. We joked about a crawfish boil, and that he had done his residency at the aforementioned "A" school "before that Nick Saban stuff", and I later set the date for the surgery; October 8.
I was actually glad to hear Dr. Santaella say that he would perform "open" surgery and use a general anesthesia followed by a local pain killer once I was out. I had no desire to be awake during the procedure.
When In Rome, Prayers, and Forest Park Medical Center
Although Forest Park is just a few miles from my house, I was not really familiar with the facility, but I have nothing but good things to say about my experience there. The staff was very friendly, and I was made to feel as comfortable as possible.
Now, I had the assurance of prayers from so many people, and of course from God that all was going to be fine. It didn't hurt that I learned that morning that Fr. Vincent Anyama would be offering Mass that morning for me...in Rome. ;-)
Already feeling fine, my O.R. nurse came in to introduce herself to me; Monica. "Well, I won't have trouble remembering your name," I told her, "I have a daughter named Monica."
Kendra came in to sit with me, and soon the anesthesiologist - Dr. Mohammed Aleem - came in to discuss what we had discussed the night before regarding the procedure.
Sometimes Truth is Hard to Hear
Now an interesting side note here is that until a few days before my surgery I was unaware that a tracheal tube was placed down your throat when you received general anesthesia. This is to help you breathe.
A few days prior to my surgery, a friend of mine who works in the medical profession - knowing that I was going to have general anesthesia during my surgery - for some ungodly reason informed me at that time that he had participated in an emergency tracheotomy that day. Apparently a patient had a severe reaction when the tube was removed, thus necessitating a last-resort course of action. That's when I learned about the tracheal tube during surgery. Awesome!
But by now I really was over any concern about that and even joked with Kendra when Dr. Aleem discussed the tube.
Geaux Texas Tigers!
Dr. Santaella came in and commented about Kendra's LSU shirt, and Dr. Aleem said that he had not noticed the shirt while talking to me. It was then that we learned that Dr. Aleem had attended Salmen High School in Louisiana, and - you guessed it - LSU!
Monica (O.R. nurse) then walks in, and Dr. Santaella announces that she is also from Louisiana. Woa - I'm in Texas, and my surgical team is from my native Louisiana. Nice.
Of course, then Monica asks Kendra - my wife - if she is my "daughter, Monica." Ugggggg! Oh well, you can't win 'em all.
Over and Out; Out and Over
Literally, the next thing I knew, the nurse in recovery is asking, "How are you feeling? Your're surgery is over."
"Over? I don't even remember going in." I said. I honestly didn't believe it at that point. "That's the whole point." she said, reassuring me.
To be continued....