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Chris DeWald | Outpatient surgery at AMC

Wednesday of last week started to be a journey with fear and severe anticipation. I was scheduled for surgery at Augusta Medical Center and was apprehensive about any outcome. Starting the journey on rain soaked streets while heading out on Richmond Road was a time of reflection. The road had the feel of a long perilous flight into the Twilight Zone. 

Rod Serling would say, “You’re traveling through another dimension — a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Twilight Zone!”

I finally landed in front of the Augusta Medical Center without a famous guest star and it lacked commercial breaks. I entered the automatic door and off to my left was the elevator. The sound of the sliding door had an ominous noise. The noise of oblivion was forming. I was one step closer to the land of “Needles” and “I.V.” lines. My eyes were adjusted to a morose feeling from the weather outside. The mood was set and I started thinking “Run, Run”…This is very hard to do if you have stroke issues. Last time I tried to experience a run, I turned sideways and fell. I was quick as lightning doing that intelligent move. Was lightning going to strike again?

The door opened to the second floor. My mood started changing as the lighting to outpatient surgery was so “warm” and friendly. I felt my defensives subsiding. Despite my apprehension, I knew that I would write about my surgical visit and had my notebook at my side. I went to the surgery reception desk to sign in. I was met by two lovely ladies who were the first line of admittance. They were so quick and efficient that I did not have time to get their names

I was more prepared for the second “official” registration clerk. Her name was Liz Tinsley. I noticed that all medical staff had great personalities. Their smiles made me feel at ease while I faced a surgical procedure.

I was then received by a remarkable young man by the name of Rodney Freeman. Rodney is the PCT (Patient Care Technician) in the surgical ward. He is a remarkable friendly technician with a calming effect for the patient. He is a genuine reassuring gentleman that any hospital would be proud of his representation.

I was taken to the “serious get prepared room.” You get to do fun stuff like remove your clothing and don the “Sheik” Hospital gown. It is at this point when you get on the gurney and await the “vampires.” I have this inner despair when it comes to needles. The first RN was Cynthia Hoover. I realized this could be a deception of look to your right when the needles come from the left. Cynthia had the fluids for my IV. I knew what was on the agenda. Then I met the “Singing nurse”….Yes, one exists at AMC. Judy Desetti RN was the “nemeses” of internal my fear. I tightened my eyes and felt the pounding of my heart while picturing the fate of the “needle”….Turned out, I did not feel a thing. I had to ask when they were going to inflict the “fear.” What great nurses I had while awaiting the next step. The beginning of Outpatient Surgery was shaping into a positive attitude about AMC.

The anesthesiologist was next. Dr. Gregory Henson explained everything I wanted to know about my sedation. He explained it in layman terms and I was left with a comfortable and confident feeling. My surgeon, Dr. William McKibbin, is a very capable and knowledgeable surgeon. His confidence and procedure explanations left me with very little questions. He had his challenges with me. Two brain stem strokes, diabetes and being on a blood thinner called Warfarin made it necessary to have a fine qualified surgeon. I trusted him thoroughly.

I woke up to a Denise Swartz, RN, and a mentorship student by the name of Carrie Rutledge. Woke up? Well…The ceiling seemed interesting and I was in the best mood. I was really reliving the late 60’s. Breathing the air was quite comfortable and all seemed well and “groovy” in Fishersville.

I went in with warm, understanding and professional people surrounding me. I left with the same degree of professional service rendered. Now I am able to recover from home due to their diligence. I am proud to live with AMC as my area hospital.


– Column by Chris DeWald