Monday, April 16, 2012

No Rest for the Wicked

Part II

From far away I hear someone saying my name.  I'm groggy and can't get my eyes fully open.  Peering out from heavy hooded eyes, there's a nurse standing beside me.  She tells me surgery is over and I'm now in the recovery room.  All I know is my face is terribly itchy. Scratch..scratch...scratch...  I fall back to sleep only to be shocked awake by the nurses yelling at me to not  roll over.  I like to sleep on my side and seemingly I was trying to get into that position in the hospital bed.

She asks if I want to see my mom.  Of course I want to see my mom!  My mom comes in with Ramon and I can barely acknowledge their presence.  I'm so cracked out I have no recollection what we talked about other than Ramon took my cell phone home with him.  Still so itchy, it's now moved on to my chest.  Scratch..scratch..scratch.  The nurse tells me to stop before she puts gloves on my hands.  Back to sleep I go.

Many hours later I'm woken up by being rolled down the hallway.  After 12 uneventful hours in the recovery room I'm finally being brought upstairs to a room.  There is no rest in a hospital.  I can see why people hate it!  What seemed like every 5 minutes someone was turning on the lights and poking and prodding at me.  Finally, I fall into a good sleep only to hear them bringing in another patient.  All night long she moans and groans and at one point is screaming because the medical team is trying to give her a suppository.  Again, I doze off to be jarred awake time and again by her moaning.

Next morning I'm up and at them bright and early.  I'm exhausted after a night of cat naps.  My back is killing me from the hospital bed, my hand is so swollen from the IV I can't even flex my fingers. I ring the bell for the nurse and no one answers me.  I ring it again and again and there's not even an acknowledgement from the Nurses' Station.  I'm annoyed.

I feel lost, no one is at the hospital yet; I have no cell phone, no tv and no room phone.  I can't even reach the room phone to use the automated system to turn it and the tv on.  Where are all the nurses that poked at me all night??  A housekeeper comes into the room and very kindly moves the cart close to me.  Hallelujah!  TV and phone is turned on. 

My sister calls and we're discussing the night before and I'm telling her about the roommate carrying on.  Well, apparently roomie was awake and full of piss and vinegar and starts screaming. I got like a loonie and told my sister I'd have to call her back.

Roomie is screaming, "I had surgery last night!" over and over. I'm screaming back, "So did I and I'm not crying like a bitch keeping people awake all night!"  Back and forth we go for a few minutes then the male day nurse walks in and that shuts her up.  About 10 minutes later I hear a low voice say, "I'm not looking to fight with you." and I said nor was I and I was not actually complaining about her disrupting me.  I really wasn't.  Long story short, her name was Erin and she was actually a pretty nice girl.  We lapped the hallways together a few times.

During all this my sister calls my dad to tell him I'm fighting with the roommate.  My dad's answer?  "Donna must be feeling ok, then." And he was right. I barely felt like anything was done to me.  Good meds??

I pretty much hung out in bed all day with visitors and staff in and out.  Day One comes to a close and everything seems to be progressing smoothly.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On the Bench!

Today is 15 days since surgery.  It's gone very quickly and most gratefully, pretty much without a hitch.  I'll give you all a very long recap of the last two weeks, and I'll be as graphic as possible.  I'm going to space it out over a couple of posts to save your eyesight (and lunch).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012: Surgery Day

I had to report to Montefiore at 8:50AM for an 11:50AM surgery time.  I actually slept well the evening before, but woke up at 4:30 that morning.  I took it as an opportunity to lounge in the tub and just try to relax.  Smoked a few cigarettes (A big no-no, I know), read some of my new book, cuddled with the dogs.

When you arrive on the surgery floor, you're brought back to the "waiting area" where you change into your gown, the nurses take some pre-op vitals and basically you just sit around.  My mom, dad and Ramon took turns spending time back there since only one person at a time was allowed.  The nurse working with me, Kathy, was just a nice, calming presence- she cracked jokes and harassed the staff for talking to me about food. I hadn't eaten anything solid in 3 days at the point, and nothing at all since about 8PM the evening before. I was HAPPY to hear about someone's jerk chicken and rice dinner.

Anesthesiologist came in to discuss what he'll be doing.  Dr. Choi, the surgeon, stopped by to see how I was and go over any last minute questions or concerns.  Back to waiting... Dr. Choi's schedule was already behind so 11:50 was now closer to 1PM.  As time drew nearer, Kathy allowed everyone to the back with me.  She attempted to "hide" my father behind the curtain.  That worked well.

Out of nowhere appears the Nurse Anesthetist and it's time to hit the road.  Kathy, the nurse, gives me a big hug and wishes me well.  Hugs all around and away we go.

You actually walk unaided to the OR.  It's a surreal experience, the halls twist and turn through the hospital like a maze and you're surrounded by all kinds of medical equipment and staff rushing about.  During this long walk I keep saying to myself, "It's not too late to say F this".  I walked in the OR and it's just plain weird.  There's huge flat screens on all the walls, a nurse is laying out the surgery tools- some looked like utensils you'd use to barbeque.  Other people milling about doing their jobs. 

In the center of the room is the table.  It seriously looks like they're about to crucify you.  It's narrow with two arm rests jutting out at the top.  Up on the table I go and they begin strapping me down.  The NA inserts my IV and starts some calming meds.  Laying there, I again say to myself, "It's still not too late".

Someone realizes I still have my nose ring in, I had totally forgot about it!  Groggily I hear them discussing what to do about it.  I reach up and pop it out.  A voice asks if the hole will close quickly, I slowly nod my head yes.  This calming med is good stuff, I'm barely conscious!  The nurse drops the ring into a specimen bottle and places it on the cart next to me.

Suddenly, I just need to close my eyes, more of the good stuff was pumping through my veins.  And I'm out...