Well, it’s been an interesting experience. I learned that no matter how many times you re-read the literature the doctors give you, talk to friends who’ve had a procedure done, or ask questions of anything and everything you can think of … you’ll still learn a few things. If you’ve ever had any kind of surgery done, some of this is nothing new to you, but it was very new to me and I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned from my surgery and the time spent recovering from it, along with a few things nobody told me. (and partly glad they didn’t! LOL!!)
Waiting, and Pre-Op
It doesn’t matter what time you are scheduled to come in and be admitted, you will still sit and wait. And generally, the length of your wait is proportional to how hungry you are. I remember by the time I was taken to Pre-Op, I was absolutely starving; and I happily shared this with anyone that asked. I remember one staffer who kept walking by who smelled of peanut butter — that drove me nuts!
A few minutes later I was presented an odd purple paper gown and some non-slip socks, and was given instructions as to how to strip down and in which bags each article of clothing should go. It’s not rocket science, but my attention span was already significantly lessened due to my anxiety, and was gone altogether once the nurse showed me where to hook up “the hose.”
Get this … they have a warming unit which connects to the gown via a plastic hose. It was pretty neat, though once I got the air going at the temp I wanted, the gown quickly filled up and inflated, making me feel like I was wearing one of those inflatable sumo wrestler suits. Jim snickered and told me that I looked like the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka, and started snapping a few pictures.
Yeah, I was ready for him to go back to the waiting room at that point. :dry_tb:
Aggravations aside, I really WAS glad that Jim was there with me. My parents had also shown up (despite my protests against this) and waited patiently out in the main lobby.
So the time came near to move me to the OR. Another nurse came by to check my blood pressure and pulse again, and was preparing to insert my IV. She commented that my heart rate was “a little high.” I told her that it’s normal, my heart rate has always been “a little high.” She and I go back and forth about this for a little bit until she says, “No, it’s REALLY high!”
My anxiety was already through the roof and at this point, I was nearing panic. The fact that she was holding the really big needle that she was preparing to jab into my arm didn’t help much!
She looks at my face a little funny and asks, “Are you nervous?”
Ding! Ding! Ding! Tell her what she’s won, Bob!
She then pulls out another syringe and tells me that she’s giving me something to “numb” me a bit. It was a much smaller and shorter needle, and honestly after that, I really didn’t care what else she put into me.
Hooray for good drugs! :thumbup_tb:
Not long after I had my IV, my surgeon popped in and asked me if I was ready. At this point, Jim gives me a reassuring arm squeeze and kiss and is directed back to the waiting room. I was wheeled into the operating room and moved from the gurney to the table. A mask was placed over my mouth and someone told me they were giving me “some oxygen.”
And that’s it.
The next thing I know, I’m semi-awake in another room. I remember falling in and out of consciousness and though I can remember seeing a clock, the minutes seemed to pass like seconds. Every time I opened and closed my eyes, 10-15 minutes had passed. Oh, and pretty much everyone that walked by said, “Wake up!”
That got annoying. I really, REALLY wanted to go back to sleep!
I was wheeled into the recovery room and soon after I remember seeing Jim walking down the hallway. I wanted to yell, “Hey baby! Over here! I’m OK!”
All that came out was: “Yeeeep.”
I’m pretty sure I waved at him, but things are a little blurry there. I remember my throat hurting quite a bit. Everyone had told me that I’d have a sore throat when I woke up because they put in a breathing tube. (And I’m thankful it was removed before I woke!)
Tolerate the drink
I’ll say this: once you are in Recovery, you are expected to do only a few things in order to be released:
- Stay awake.
- “Tolerate” liquids. (meaning, keep them down)
- Go pee.
I was having trouble with the first two. There was a monitor hooked up to me so that every time my breathing was shallow (i.e. I was nodding off), it would start beeping really loudly — which scared the ever living shit out of me every damned time!
Secondly, one of the nurses kept shoving a Coke and crackers under my nose, telling me to eat and drink. Despite how hungry I said I was before the operation, I was definitely NOT hungry then! I guzzled the Coke and managed to chew a couple of crackers, which made her very happy. She suggested I try going to the restroom, so I sat up … and then the floor started bobbing and weaving and I turned a little green.
I buzzed the nurse and told her, “I’m feeling very nauseous!” She gave me this really neat thing. I don’t know its official name, but I’ve been calling it the collapsible barf bag, because that’s exactly what it was. I remember thinking, “Hey, I’d like to play with one of these,” when … one of my puny crackers came back to visit.
Yep, apparently the anesthesia made me very, VERY sick.
It was mostly air though, which was a good thing. (I remember being told that they would fill my tummy with air. Was the Coke really a good idea after that?) Despite being a little embarrassed because I was squawking like a duck, I decided that then was a good time to find the restroom. Jim insisted on helping me walk — which was a good thing because I was surprised to find that my legs just didn’t feel much like cooperating at that time. LOL!
Once in the restroom, after assuring Jim that I could make it to the toilet by myself (after all, the wall was holding me up!), I was delighted to find that I could pee. I remember thinking, “I can go home now. Hooray!” There was no more horking or squawking like a duck after that point, so I was feeling pretty proud of myself. I mostly dressed myself. Jim was such a big help, and I was really grateful to have him there. (even in spite of the jokes)
I was coerced into a wheelchair and taken to the main lobby. Honestly, I had originally protested this, but Heaven only knows how I would have walked there considering that moving at all was a challenge even WITH someone there helping me! LOL
The trip home was pretty uneventful. I remember talking to Jim about stuff, but have no recollection of what or who we talked about. I vaguely remember picking up my prescription — my surgeon prescribed Percocet for the pain.
Um, yeah. More on that in a sec.
Once again, I was feeling pretty proud of myself; having made it this far without hurling again must mean I was doing well, right? Before we left, I had asked the nurse if I could have another collapsible barf bag to take with me. She thought that was a good idea — I really just wanted to play with it once I felt sober. It turns out, I needed it after all.
We had entered our subdivision and were going slowly through the round-about to the mailbox to grab the mail. We were a whole 15 feet from the house and I lost it. Let’s just say that my stomach was completely empty by the time I was done. Poor Jim was a bit lost and wasn’t sure what I wanted him to do. (Just keep the car still!) I remember being disappointed that I couldn’t play with the collapsible barf bag, but was glad that I had snagged it. (else my car would now be a bit stinky)
We got in and got settled, and I don’t remember much else about that day. I remember being too afraid to eat because of the day’s earlier events and getting up to go to the bathroom was a real adventure (as I was still a bit loopy from the anesthesia and my legs were only semi-cooperating). Jim was a real champ though, anytime I needed anything he got it with no fuss. If I so much as sat up or moved as if I was going to get up, he was quick with a “What are you doing? Where are you going? What do you need?”
It was nice … and obviously a sign that I was still loopy, because any other time I’m all about getting things done myself. :)
I took my Percocet like a good girl over the next couple of days and slept pretty much all day Thursday and Friday. I remember the phone ringing a lot. Friends and family called to check on me. (thanks!) I’m pretty sure I was nice to everyone. (sorry if I wasn’t, I blame the drugs! ;))
I remember speaking to my surgeon’s office and the hospital. I think I told them that everything was “OK” — well, it was sort of. I realized a couple days later that the Percocet really didn’t do anything for my pain. It just made me a little dizzy and REALLY sleepy. Had I been a little more sober, I would have told my doctor this and asked for something better.
My advice to you: be frank with your doctor! If you’re in pain, tell him/her!
It’s not terribly unbearable, but it hurts a bit to bend over or twist. (And getting into the car this morning was interesting. Heh.) I stopped taking my Percocet this weekend and all the grogginess is gone. The pain is still there, but it’s gradually getting better. (and I was told it would gradually go away within the next week or so, so this is not unusual)
I don’t have to do it all myself
Let’s face it, I’m a stubborn woman. I’m all about doing things myself and will only ask for help when absolutely necessary. My husband knows this, and it’s a wonder that he married me anyway. I can honestly say that having Jim home has been a real blessing. He helped me get around when I needed it and took over the household details that I normally handled on the day-to-day. He made sure that Jessie ate good meals, did her chores when needed, and took care of me.
I’m a lucky woman. :wub_tb:
A quick word on this. All of the literature I had received beforehand told me that I needed to be on a liquid diet, moving to soft foods after a week or so. I didn’t care too much for this because let’s face it, the only thing “liquid” that I could have that I enjoyed was jell-o, and even that gets old after one or two meals. I had asked my surgeon during Pre-Op about this and felt pretty smug when he told me that I could eat whatever I “felt up to.”
After I got home, I realized why the literature and everyone else had recommended a liquid diet. When your guts hurt so bad that even moving is too much to handle, you don’t even want to THINK about having to go to the bathroom and do ANYTHING but pee!
Let’s just say that my meal choices became very “selective” after this realization. :laugh_tb: