Other Side of the Stretcher (Ganglion)

I don’t even recall how I first noticed the bump on the top of my right hand near my wrist.  But I’m going to guess it didn’t just “appear” overnight.  Eventually I started noticing I had numbness and tingling in my pointer, middle, and ring finger of that hand especially early in the morning, and occasional pain and stiffness if I held a pen in my hand for too long.

The funny part, is that it didn’t even occur to me until now to get it checked out.  While working (onco) one day, I showed one of the other RNs and asked about it – her immediate response was “that’s a ganglion!”.  A what?! “You have to whack it with a book.  Drink a few glasses of wine tonight, and get your sister to smack your hand with a bible… err, an old nursing text book. You probably don’t have a bible at home” (ha ha, she knows me well).  I approached one MD while he was on the floor — his evaluation: “it’s part of your joint”. *insert rolly eyed smilie here*. I’m not a doctor but even I know it’s NOT part of my joint (not even close). Finally, I ‘harassed’ another MDs that rounds on the floor.  She just looked at it and said in her accent “that’s a ganglion cyst” and proceeded to give me options to get rid of it.  She took down my information and referred me to one of the better plastic surgeons here. (One of the few perks of working with good doctors).  The cutest part was her calling my cell phone and leaving me a voicemail with her cell phone number to call her back about the appointment she made for me.  It all happened so fast also, which was nice and effortless on my part.

Naturally, my sister and I youtubed “ganglion cyst on hand removal” one night.  Pretty darn gross. If you’re a freak like me, youtube “Hand Ganglion Cyst Excision (Dorsal)” and watch. Fantastic.

The appointment was set for today.  My manager was nice and gave me a day off (paid…. vacation) as I was scheduled to work dayshift today. Another perk: I was able to sleep in this morning. ahhh. (haha Sarah!!) Anyways, as the title of this entry suggests, I now better understand why the general public complains about the hospital.  Could I find a stupid spot to park at 1230pm?! No meter parking left. The rest are all handicapped spots and taken.  I was hoping I would not have to use my parking tokens, but alas, after driving around the parking lots for a good 8 minutes, I finally resigned myself and parked on the rooftop of the north tower where I normally park when at work. Drive through the gate to see there are only handicapped spots left (I contemplated parking there, but then my conscience got the best of me; gdaaamit) and this parking spot that was clearly meant for a smart car.  I managed to squeeze the SUV in, but every part of me cringed at the thought of some idiot leaving a dent in my doors. After this traumatizing experience (and I hadn’t even made it INTO the hospital yet) I felt that much more empathy for my patients and their family members.  And that doesn’t even include the parking fee $$.

I make my way to the ambulatory care unit (which is located on both the 1st and 2nd level of the south tower).  Wait in line with a “pick a number”, only to find out the doctor I have the consult with is located upstairs on level 2. Sigh. Upstairs I go to see the waiting room is PACKED full of people who all clearly look like they don’t want to be there, and grab a new number. Double Sigh. Have a seat. Wait.  And wait. And wait. It’s warm and this guy across from me with a black eye and left arm in a sling keeps staring at me.  Fantastic.  She finally calls my number and I register. Wait again. And again. Listen to a few random strangers talk about how ridiculous the parking fee is at the hospital. I silently agree in my head.  Check Facebook. Boring. Check Twitter. Nothing new.  A short male nurse finally opens the door and calls my name.  Alas. He shows me to a stretcher, asks me to have a seat. Says “Kimberly, right hand eh?” I nod my head.  He then checks something off on the paper, smiles and winks at me.  What. The.  Was that meant to be friendly? It turned out creepy.  And completely unprofessional on his part.  Tsk tsk.  All the while, 2 medical students and a resident (?) are looking at an x-ray of a hand (his name, and personal information clearly visible on the computer screen in my curtained-off area).  They leave soon after but don’t bother closing the x-ray that’s on the screen (eeeek!! confidentiality broken).
Another little wait, and the MD finally comes behind the curtain with a different set of medical students following him like lost little puppy dogs, introduces himself and starts questioning me about my hand.  He stated he could surgically remove it, however it will leave me with a scar and a high risk of permanent nerve damage due to the location of the cyst.  He believes if it’s not bugging me all the time to leave it as is.  But finally says it’s my decision, and left me his office number (and cell, haha) if I decide I want it removed or if the symptoms get worse.

All in all, a pleasant experience, however I definitely prefer being on the other end of the stretcher.  I am happy to be healthy and not needing to utilize our healthcare system at this point in time.  This experience definitely reiterated how impatient I really am.  Included driving the park lots, finding a spot, registration, waiting time, and time actually spent during the consult — a little over an hour.  Not too bad.

PS, I don’t think it’s much of a decision.  I cannot risk permanent nerve damage on my dominant hand. I’ll “suffer” for the time being.

Image

(Not my hand, but looks somewhat like this)

♔ Kimmie.L

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