Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kidney Talk: Pre-surgery appt at Einstein - the Bovie 'knife'

Ada drove Sarah and me to our last appt at Einstein before our surgery on Friday. Purpose was to Register for surgery. Lots of paperwork and blood testing involved.

Neither Sarah nor I have ever had surgery. The thot of being cut open is mildly horrific, one step below the Aztec human sacrifices.

Well-oiled machine is a good way to describe the efficiency of our 4.5 hour visit at the hospital. We'd forgotten to bring food tho and Sarah and I were absolutely starving.

I ate a huge breakfast as always...two eggs, homemade toast, beloved grapefruit that I'm eating every day since when I'm on the immunosuppressants it's No grapefruit no more.

A symptom of kidney diz which I don't have is loss of appetite. And inability to enjoy the taste of food.

Sarah and I were each taken into separate rooms. She has her own transplant team w/her own nurse. She saw a different surgeon.

I got reacquainted w/ Dr Stalin Campos, an exceedingly nice guy, orig. from El Salvador. His oldest daughter,22, is in med school in Tampa.

His youngest, Johanna, is 5 and goes to school at Ancilla Assumpta in Wyncote. B/c he's not home a lot, Campos said he and his wife want her to learn values and ethics.

He met his second wife when he worked at Thomas Jefferson. She's an ICU nurse there.

Campos trained at the Thomas E Starzl Transplantion Center at Univ of Pittsburgh. I've wrin extensively about Starzl within these pages.

Campos is a very high-energy dude. He struck the above pose as a way to relax, zen-buddhist style.

He's a reader and showed me on the computer a couple of books he's recently read, one The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, the other a redemption story by a former Latino gang member.

Campos encouraged me to ask him questions.

What will you use to cut me open, I asked.

On the computer he showed me a pic of a scalpel. Very sharp.

Then he showed me the Bovie electrosurgical tool, named after its discoverer. It's a small machine which cuts and cauterizes (stops bleeding) as it moves along.

The first use of an electrosurgical generator in an operating room occurred on October 1, 1926, at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. A few days earlier (September 28, 1926) Dr. Cushing had been unsuccessful in removing a mass from a patient's head due to its highly vascular nature. In Dr. Cushing's note from October 1st, "...with Dr. Bovie's help I proceeded to take off most satisfactorily the remaining portion of tumor with practically none of the bleeding which was occasioned in the preceding operation."
- Bovie Medical

During my interview w/ Campos, young Roberto, orig. from Mexico, sat in w/us. He's a med student at Penn and also wishes to be a transplant surgeon.

Ready for the rigorous life?

Yes, smiled this tall good-lookin young man. "My father is a transplant surgeon," he said.

His dad works at the Starzl Center.

And, lo, Campos himself originally trained w/ Starzl.

Ah, the rarified world of transplant surgery. (Note to myself: great word rarified, Ruthie! I've never used it before. While I have no idea what it means, I'm sure it's correct.)

Campos wanted to be a t'plant surgeon, he said, b/c of the close ties he forms with patients. Plus he follows them thruout the years.

On Thursday I'll receive a call from the hospital telling me what time to check in for surgery the following day. I can't eat or drink after midnite. Since I drink huge quantities of water, I've gotta eat non-thirsty meals on Thursday.

When I went downstairs today I appreciated my pain-free state as the light of morning flowed through my many windows.

Pic of Sarah's kidney that Campos got up on the screen. He showed me the artery they cut and how the left kidney has a longer one than the right, and that's why they use the left one.

The countdown begins to D-Day, now called K-Day.


  1. Can't believe how close you are getting to K Day so want to send all of my best wishes and good energy for an uneventful, successful surgery and for a relatively quick recuperation for you both. Is Sarah sticking around for a while or returning home?

  2. sarah and ethan are staying downtown in a bed n breakfast. in an amazing coinicidence, his band - the bad plus - was just booked to play in a downtown jazz club.