I want to give out a shout-out to our community hospital here in Taos County, Holy Cross. I had a procedure done there two weeks ago, and I have to give recognition to a lot of people for making it so quick, easy, and, to the extent that a colonoscopy can be, comfortable.
From the check-in at the day-surgery desk, to registration, to the procedure room, and then out the door, I was greeted by friendly faces and a level of efficiency that I was certainly not expecting. Although this procedure isn’t exactly something to look forward to, everyone on the staff made me feel comfortable and assured me that there was nothing embarrassing about any of it. To me, it was almost like everyone had been assembled earlier in the day and been instructed to make sure that I had a successful experience — I mean, specifically me.
Thinking that there would be a lot of paperwork, we arrived an hour early. This was totally unnecessary. The registration process took just a few minutes. I had all of my documents, but none of it was required. They had already determined I was who I said I was because they had my picture on file from a previous scan of my driver’s license. And when I offered up my insurance cards, they said they already had them.
I was told that my procedure wasn’t scheduled until 11:45 a.m., so I was asked to take a seat in the waiting room and a nurse would get me when they were ready. At 11:44 a.m. a smiling nurse called my name and my wife and I were escorted into a prep room. There, she cheerfully explained everything that was going to happen and went over my list of medications. She also confirmed that I had gone through the exhausting and not-so-pleasant preparation process. She left the room for me to change into the surgery gown and returned shortly after to decorate me with electrodes for the EKG, a blood pressure cuff, and an IV. She was unquestionably concerned about my level of comfort, explaining everything she was doing all while making me feel relaxed.
At 12:10 p.m. (there’s a clock on the wall), the anesthesiologist comes in and we chat for several minutes. He explains my options — they can knock me out with the same drug that killed Michael Jackson (yes, he said that) — or they can sedate me enough to do the procedure while I am awake. He explains that the drug killed Jackson because he wasn’t using it correctly, and he really recommended that I take that option because it makes the procedure easier for the doctor, and therefore, me. I said fine. A few minutes later, the surgeon arrived — we shook hands and I wished him good luck.
At 12:15 p.m., I kissed my wife goodbye and was wheeled into the chilly procedure room where I met three more people, the operating room nurse, another male nurse (who was there in case they had to move me — I’m not exactly a small guy), and the person administering the anesthesia. Within minutes, the surgeon arrived and asked me how I was doing, again.
Sixty seconds later, the anesthesiologist had turned on the drugs and I was out. Next thing I knew I was back in the prep room, waking up. A bit groggy, but fully conscious, I looked at the clock — it was exactly 12:45 p.m. I had been knocked out, had the procedure done, and was awakened all in approximately 25 minutes.
Another nurse removed the monitoring equipment and urged me to sit up. I felt groggy and a little uncertain, but there was no pain. With help from the nurse, I got dressed and was escorted out of the prep room, right out of the hospital and into our car. By 1 p.m. we were driving home. They found nothing, removed nothing, and I don’t need another one for 10 more years. If you don’t count the fact that we arrived substantially earlier than we needed to, the entire experience barely took two hours. I compare this with my similar experience, 10 years ago, in a different hospital, which was an exhausting eight-hour ordeal.
Hats off to Holy Cross. Next time we are asked to float a bond to help with this community treasure, you will have my vote.
Young is a resident of Questa.