I Can Haz Cheezeburger? No But Would You Like a Side of Morphine?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Why is it when you can't have something you want it all that much more?  All morning long yesteray, I could think of nothing other than a big fat juicy cheeseburger.  And I felt the need to tell every hospital employee I interacted with...  To be fair, I still crave one the morning after but have no desire to try and eat it.  Anyways, you're all probably wondering how the surgery went so here goes.

Mom and I headed out around 730 to catch the bus - yes we bussed it.  No reason to take a cab, we had plenty of time but not a lot of money.  Plus the bus drops us off right outside the hospital.  A lovely older gentleman (Pat) led us downstairs to the day surgery area where we were promptly ignored by two admitting clerks who were in the process of a shift change.  Despite looking directly at us, they couldn't be bother to acknowledge us or explain that they'd be with us in a minute.  Not a great way to start my day, let me tell you.  I don't like getting pissed off first thing in the morning.  Sigh.  Deep breaths, relax...  I was weighed and measured - no change in height or poundage.  Showing me to my bed, the admitting clerk thought it was a good sign that I was given lucky #7.  We'll see about that...  Into a dressing gown with some of the snaps broken (so much for luck) and then hop into bed and sit an wait. And wait.  And wait some more.

First test of the morning, an ECG.  Got to make sure the old ticker can take it.  True to form (and setting the tone for the day), I had the guy giggling within mere moments.  Good news!  I have a heart and its working.  Always a good sign.  Just as he was leaving, in popped the lab tech who took some blood.  Just two vials, nothing major.  I was a bit surprised but I didn't have to pee in a cup.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining - I hate that part.  She left and in popped Pamela, the student nurse, probably the perkiest thing in navy blue scrubs you'll ever meet.  Someday she's going to make a great nurse - she was funny and upbeat (did I mention she was almost sickeningly perky?) and answered my few questions as well as explaining everything as she went along.  Blood pressure test #1 - 129/96.  A bit high on the lower number for me but considering that (1) I hadn't taken my medication and (2) I was about to have surgery, I was pretty impressed.  Under the guidance of another lovely nurse (FYI - the nursing at the Royal Alex are amazing!), Pamela attempted to insert my IV.  I had hopped they would stick it in my elbow crease rather than my hand but they apparently like to try the hand first.  It felt like it went but, apparently, it didn't.  They decided to just let the anaesthesiologist do it when they wheeled me upstairs (more on that later, hubba hubba).  Now just waiting for the porter.

Not once in the morning did I feel nervous.  No butterflies, no nausea, nothing.  I was quite surprised with myself.  I just wanted to get it over and done with.  However, after Pam and her supervisor left us alone, I had a moment.  For some reason, I started crying.  Not massive blubbering sobs but a few tears that I just couldn't hold back.  Thank goodness for mom.  If she wasn't there I probably would have lost it.
Free Jewelry

Anyways back to the waiting.  Now, my surgery was scheduled for 1020.  At ten, I was still sitting in the ward.  When the clock struck 20 past, the operating room called down and wanted to know where I was.  Seems someone in admitting had not put my chart in the slot it was supposed to be so no one was called to come and get me.  Sigh....  Mark, the wonderful porter, came down and got me a few minutes later.  We chatted about Supertramp and U2 all the way up to the waiting spot in surgery.  Now there's a guy, just like Pam the Student Nurse, who really loves their job and interacting with patients.  I wish everyone could have people like that when they go to the hospital.  As he was leaving me, he patted my foot and wished me luck saying he'd see after it was all over.  I felt the tears welling up again.  Damn you Porter man, damn you. 

Thankfully, Barb v1.0 came over.  She was going to be the head nurse in the OR with me.  She checked my info against my wrist bands and went over a few things.  She even gave me a lovely poofy mesh cap thingy they make patients wear.  I was going to crack wise about having to wear a hair net when I don't have any hair but it just didn't seem like the write moment.  Next up, surgical resident whose name I didn't catch.  She was going to be assisting the surgeon and we went over the procedure and what to expect.  Aces.  Still, no nerves.  For about the 15th time, she checked my name, birthday, etc on my wristband.  Better safe than sorry, right?

Another visitor!  This time it was Dr. McDreamy, the anaesthesiologist.  Holy handsomeness.  Even without my glasses on, I could tell he was yummy.  Cue the flirting.  I was sooooo on my game.  Perhaps I should have surgery more often...  He was giggling along with me as soon as I opened my mouth.  Note:  get in good with the anaesthesiologist. He froze my hand and slipped the IV needle in without batting one dreamy eyelash.  Did I mention how cute he was???? Yeah, that's what I want to see right before I get knocked out.  Talk about pleasant dreams!!!  Just before he finished, he joked "Glad to see you left your sense of humour at home - we hate jokesters up here".  Everyone loves me, what can I say?  And still....no nerves.

Caroline, I think, next wheeled me over to the OR.  Along the way, she crashed into something and true to form, I cracked wise about how I hoped she had insurance.  She giggled - collision only.  Inside there were three nurses whom I was introduced to by Barb v1.0 but whose names I don't remember.  Why?  'Cause Dr. McDreamy was standing over me.  Hee hee hee.  Hellllll-ooooo.  After taking my blood pressure (#3) again, and scooching me over to the operating table (cold on the naked tooshie!), he hooked me up.  The last thing I remember was him saying "I'm going to give you something to make you like us even more."  My smart ass response?  "How is that even possible?"  The whole operating room laughed.  I was in dreamland.

I woke up in the recovery room with Barb v1.0 and another nurse asking me questions.  My back was bothering me from lying flat for so long - I was practically in tears telling them I had to roll over.  Unfortunately I had to wait while they did a few tests.  Thankfully, once they were over and they got me rolled onto my side, she gave me a few of those minty sponge thingies dipped in water.  Back down to day surgery - no Mark the Porter to be found.  However, they gave me Nurse Barb v2.0.  What a godsend.  Sympathetic and patient, not to mention a ball of laughs herself, she did everything she could to make me feel better.  Like everyone else I encountered, she asked me my name and birthdate.  I was beginning to feel like a P.O.W - name, rank and seriel number.  Does the Geneva Convention apply to surgical patients?  She also took my blood pressure for the 4th and final time:  117/89.  I was stunned. 

Funnily enough, I wasn't in a lot of pain.  At least in my abdomen.  Shortly after arriving back downstairs though, I got an intense pain in my right shoulder.  And when I mean intense, I mean intense.  I've had to deal with pain for most of my life thanks to my cysts, arthritis, migraines, etc, I know pain.  This?  Mother fucker.  Mom had to massage my shoulder to try and help it.  Seems this is a common occurrence;  the use gas to inflate your stomach for the surgery and they get rid of most of it but some gets trapped inside your body.  I'm guessing it rises up to the highest point in can reach and then sits there.  It lasted, on and off, until the middle of the night.  Barb v2.0 gave me a bunch of drugs over the next few hours:  morphine (x2), a shot of gravol, and my favourite, toradol.  Mmmmm.  It takes away all the bad things...

Unfortunately, there was no way I was going to be released at 3ish like the surgeon had originally indicated at my initial consultaion.  I was still far too drowsy to get out of bed.  Around 430, we tried walking.  I went 4 feet before feeling like I was going to vomit and fall over.  I blame it on the weird paper booties.  Why?  Why not.  Back to bed.  When I told her I felt like I was going to be sick whenever I sat up and opened my eyes (If I hadn't just had surgery, I'd swear I had a migraine), Barb v2.0 said it might actually make me feel better.  So, I did.  No she's not condoning bulemia. To make me love her even more, she brought me half a cherry popsicle.  As if her sherbert coloured scrubs weren't enough.  Finally, we tried again around 6 and I was able to get dressed with some assistance and laid back down until Big Brother showed up again a few minutes later.

Other than Mommikins almost wheeling me down a small flight of cement stairs, the ride home was unevenful.  Big Brother insulted me as usual in an attempt to make me feel better and likely hide his own discomfort.  Mom chimed in as well until I yelled (as best I could) and told them both to shut up.  By the time we arrived at the apartment building, I realized that no one on my mom's side of the family knows how to drive.  Good thing I had my seat belt on and the air conditioning blasting in my face - the minivan could have quickly turned into a giant barf bucket.  Making up for his lack of driving skills (don't get wrong, I appreciate that he drove us home), Big Brother patiently offered me his arm and slowly walked me to the back door.  Where I threw up again.  And almost made him do the same.  Heee heeee.  Eventually we made it up the elevator and I "threw" myself on my bed.  Mommikins made sure I had plenty of comfort - water, a bell to call for assistance, game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals on the telelvision which was timed to go off on its own in two hours, and a cuddly Anubis who wouldn't leave my side all night long.

I'm quite surprised that I have relatively little pain.  Most of it is when I try to roll over.  The bellybutton incision is the only one I can feel despite two of the other, smallers ones bleeding quite a bit.  One of the pieces of tape over one of them is just hanging off my skin but I refuse to rip it off.  My hip hurts a little where they stabbed me to inject the morphine and gravol.  Other than that, I feel fine.  Really really tired (I woke up every hour last night to roll over).  Trying to drink lots of water and managed to choke down a homemade tea biscuit with jam.  No cheeseburger for this girl anytime soon.  Well, maybe this weekend...if I'm up to it.

Getting in and out of bed is a bit of a chore.  My bed's high so I have to get a little help getting in.  Out is no problem, I can just slide down the side.  And peeing?  It would be easier if I was a man.  Trying to sit down is a bit of an issue.  And I'm not even going to discuss the whole act of using toilet paper.  Let's just say it goes as quickly as I can.  I'm dreading what happens once I start eating again...  Oh, and hiccuping?  Hurts like a bitch. 

Thanks to everyone for their well wishes, it means a lot.  Now, I think I'm going back to bed before I fall asleep... 


Anonymous said...

Woo-hoo, glad to hear you're home and kind of on the mend! You'll be on the elliptical machine before you know it.

Red xx

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm glad to hear that it all went so well, and that you have some good memories of anesthesiologists to get you through the recovery period. Speedy recovery!

mister anchovy said...

Glad to hear you're back at home. I hope you recover quickly!

sp said...

Sounds like you were very well looked after by a great staff (except for the admitting clerks).

I hope you have a speedy recovery, and can get to the cheezburger soon!

Heather said...

Poor you. I hope you're feeling better soon - doesn't sound like a very fun time.

Take it easy!

Milla said...

I go away for two weeks and I come back to find you without half your inner bits?? Jesus! I can't leave you alone for one second.

Your write up is very funny, Karen. I am very happy you have taken this on the chin, and that you are on the mend.

nwtrunner said...

Just finished 11 days in hospital myself Karen (bike accident - major wipeout) and had a similarly good experience with the staff of the hospital. They were great and morphine on demand for a few days was pretty darned good. Now back at home and recuperating - good to know that you are as well.

Luckily, I didn't have an anesthiologist involved, but it WAS discussed at one point. No surgery - just patching and mending.

:-) Alasdair

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