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In which we want the green hat



I was down at Duke today for Keely’s pre-operative appointment.  First, we met with Keely’s surgeon to discuss the surgery and then we had a 10:00 appointment in Surgical Pre-Op.  We were sitting in the waiting area and then they called us back.  Since Keely is 22, I only came along to scrape her off the floor after she passed out due to their taking her blood. Keely hates to have blood taken and normally turns green and if we’re lucky, she stays awake.  At any rate, first they do the normal “meet and greet” where they talk to you about how you’re going to get there (Duke Hospital) and check in (what floor) and yada, yada, yada.


They noticed that she graduated from Duke last week and gave her a “congrats” and continued on with their over-explaining.  Apparently they have a new “hat” technique in the pre-operative area before the surgery. They give you a colored hat to wear.  The hat is RED when there are things that must be done before surgery.  Obviously, when they are all ready for you to go into the operating room, they give you a green hat.


Ok, we got it.  Then they explained, “For example if you still need your blood drawn then you will have the red hat” to which we replied “gotcha.”


Then the woman explained “… or if the anesthesiologist hasn’t spoken to you then you’ll have the red hat.”


“Ok” we agreed and then she continued “or …” and I thought Keely was going to tackle her because honestly, who couldn’t have gotten the point by now?


It was now time to sign the forms so Keely was writing her signature when she asked the woman a question.


Keely:             what’s this?

Woman:         oh, that’s a form you have to sign about anesthesia

Keely:             what does it mean?


(I was playing Words with Friends on my phone so wasn’t paying attention)


Woman:         Because people have all seen these movies where patients are awake through surgery but “frozen” because of the anesthesia we now have a form where you sign off that the hospital isn’t liable for that.

Keely:             Wait! What? Can that happen?

Woman:         I’ve never heard of it happening but you see it in the movies.

Keely:              So, is that a yes or a no?

Woman:        Just sign the form.


So we finish up and go into the waiting room, which is full to capacity.


Me:                 what were you asking that woman about the signature?

Keely:             they made me sign something saying the hospital wasn’t liable

Me:                 liable for what?

Keely:             for if I’m frozen due to anesthesia but I can still feel them cutting into me

Me:                 like that movie? (I think Jessica Alba was in it)

Keely:             yeah

Me:                 can that happen?

Keely:             she says no

Me:                 I hope not

Keely:             wouldn’t you think that your heart rate would go up?

Me:                 when?

Keely:             I mean, if you could feel them cutting you open but you couldn’t speak and move wouldn’t you panic and your heart rate would go up?

Me:                 probably.  I mean, I would think so.

Keely:             wouldn’t they notice if your heart rate went up?

Me:                 I would hope so.  They monitor that shit.

Keely:             I hope that they would notice too


All of a sudden the woman on the other side of me said something.  I looked up and there’s a woman in her 30’s who is bald and is obviously there for pre-op.  She doesn’t look happy with us at all.


Woman:         I think the heart rate would definitely go up

Me:                 I think so too

Keely:             they’d notice that right?

Woman:         I’m sure they would …


And then they call Keely back to take her blood.  Later we were driving home and Keely said:


Keely:             did you notice that the entire waiting room was freaking out during the conversation?

Me:                 no, were they?

Keely:             well, half of them were; probably the patients.  The other people were the people accompanying the patients and they were all like “who gives a shit?”

Me:                 hahaha … you certainly freaked out the woman next to us

Keely:             I think she just wanted us to shut up

Me:                 yeah, I suppose that’s an uncomfortable conversation to have in front of a room full of people about to be put to sleep

Keely:             in the movies they never notice the heart rate

Me:                 true

Keely:             … also, in the movies there’s always a tear leaking out of the patients eye and they NEVER notice that

Me:                 I tell you what. We’ll make a list of all the things you’re paranoid about and hand it to the anesthesiologist before the operation.  After all, you’ll see him if you want to get a green hat.

Keely:             I thought I’d have to kill that lady

Me:                 “if you haven’t taken off your toenail polish you’ll have a red hat … not a green hat”

Keely:             “if you drank some water you’ll have a red hat”

Me:                 “if you shaved your legs and nicked yourself you’ll have a red hat”

Keely:             I felt like telling her “look lady, I just graduated from Duke.  I GET IT!”

Me:                 “if you graduated from Duke you’ll have a red hat” and then Keely yelled at me because she had to pee and we were laughing too hard.


So, wish us luck because we’re going for the green hat!!!

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  1. Vidya Sury
    May 18, 2012

    Yikes! I’ve signed that form several times, and have felt freaked out until the op / procedure was over. It seems like the hospital is basically indemnifying itself from just about anything that could go wrong. And that is One. Scary. Thought. And it is the easiest thing in the world to imagine all sorts of things. The worst things!
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    • Lynn
      May 18, 2012

      I’ve never seen it before…we were like “what”

  2. Vidya Sury
    May 18, 2012

    I actually came by to wish Keely all the best – and look forward to reading your account of the hospital visit. And I forgot. NO I didn’t. I just said it!

    • Lynn
      May 18, 2012


  3. Jennifer Boykin
    May 18, 2012

    I LOVE you guys!!! Please tell Keely congratulations on her GRADUATION!!!!! I’m sending a thousand metaphorical GREEN HATS your way.

    • Lynn
      May 18, 2012

      thanks…we will keep everyone posted

  4. Julie
    May 18, 2012

    Positive thoughts will be pouring out of me on Monday. The conversations the two of you have absolutely slay me. I’m looking forward to hearing a tale or two when she is “waking up” from the anesthesia. Maybe you can post a pic of her paranoia list, highlighting the part where they monitor her heart rate and look for tears. Just a thought.

    • Lynn
      May 18, 2012

      yeah…she says funny things when she’s loopy so I’m sure i’ll document them

  5. Jester Queen
    May 18, 2012

    I hope hope hope she gets her green hat, sleeps peacefully, and wakes feeling better. JEZUS I hope this goes well. I know you’ll keep us posted.
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    • Lynn
      May 18, 2012

      thanks so much…yes i will

  6. Melanie
    May 18, 2012

    I have your daughter in my good thoughts. You are both way more patient than I am. I have been known to say, “I know you have to say this shit over and over but I understand. Just give me whatever I need to sign that says you can remove the wrong arm and it’s not your fault and shut up already.”

    • Lynn
      May 18, 2012

      to be honest, i was playing on my phone the entire time

  7. Sandy Rose
    May 18, 2012

    Sending a prayer that the surgery goes smoothly! I don’t care if she’s 22 or 72, she’s still your baby and you will be by her side. Although I had to ask my mother to stop introducing me as her baby girl about 5 years ago when I was 37. I had to ask her upwards of 3 times and I could tell it really hurt her feelings, but come on! The good thing is I’m learning from my mom how NOT to act with my grown children someday. Thanks for that, Mom! My kids are 15, 18, 21 and 22. My son is the youngest and he’s still ok with me calling him my baby, but I’ll tell him to put on a red hat when he wants me to stop!

    • Lynn
      May 18, 2012

      my son is still my baby too!

  8. Fearless Fibro Warrior
    May 19, 2012

    Happy Green Hat Thoughts sent your way—–and no shed-a-silent-tear-no-one-sees moments, as well.

    • Lynn
      May 20, 2012

      thanks…i appreciate it

  9. Jen Anderson
    May 19, 2012

    Hmmm…I’m not sure I had to sign that form the last time I had surgery. The hat system sounds like a good and ridiculously simple idea.

    • Lynn
      May 20, 2012

      yeah…although we understood the concept immediately

      • Jen Anderson
        May 22, 2012

        It occurred to me later on that it wasn’t that the nurse thought that you were too dumb to understand. It was that she wasn’t smart enough to adjust the spiel for people who didn’t need to hear it ten times.

  10. Marinka
    May 19, 2012

    Oh, best wishes to your daughter for a smooth recovery.

    And I hope the medical team isn’t color blind. Maybe polka dots would have been a better choice?

    • Lynn
      May 20, 2012

      hahaha..thanks so much Marinka…i appreciate the comment!!!! i will let them know about polka dots

  11. Delila
    May 21, 2012

    I am praying for your daughter. Hope she gets well really soon
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    • Lynn
      May 21, 2012

      Thanks! They just took her back

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