- Day one was 11-04. I got the call that morning to be ready and at the hospital by noon, as the surgery was scheduled for 2:00. Right when we got there - at 12:05 - they were frantically looking for us. Come to find out the man who was supposed to have surgery before me drank a cup of coffee that morning, so they refused to operate on him. They wanted to bump me up and take me in right away. Funny how doctors don't like waiting even five minutes on a patient to show up, but have no problem letting those same patients languish for hours in their offices waiting to be seen. That's a story for another day, perhaps, back to day one. I woke up at about 4:00 in the recovery room feeling nauseous, cold and parched like I have never been before. They gave me drugs for the nausea, warming blankets for my chilled body and ice chips for the thirst. For the most part I was comfortable. The Anesthesiologist had a nerve block in place so that the surgical site wouldn't be quite so painful. They brought me to my room where I was congratulating myself on not being an annoyingly whiny patient like the one in the next bed over in the recover room. She was a real eye roller that one. I talked to family and friends and felt acceptably comfortable.
- Acceptable would turn to unsatisfactory on a dime during the night. I could not get into a restful position, no matter how much I wiggled around. The nerve block was starting to wear off and I was running a slight fever. I began to be a tad less judgmental of my recovery room roommate from earlier in the afternoon. I probably sounded twice as gripey as she had. My receptors were buoyed slightly when I woke up at 11:30 and was told by Eddy the tech guy that Obama had won the election. I turned on the TV just as he was finishing his speech, so I flipped around to find a replay of it. I enjoyed it enormously.
- Day two would dawn with quite literally a pain in my butt; my butt, my hip, my leg, you name a body part on my left side and it had mutated into a fiery ball of molten hot lava being jabbed at with a red hot poker every time I moved -- even breathing hurt. Much to my amazement during this particularly uncomfortable time, Physical Therapist Nurse Ratchet with the voice of Minnie Mouse (picture it) walks in and cheerfully announces that I will be getting out of the bed, walking around the room for a bit and then settled into a chair for five hours until the group physical therapy session started at 2:00. You have GOT to be kidding me. Um... no she was quite serious. I explained all of the extenuating circumstances -- low blood pressure, low blood count, nausea, fever, and the...PAIN; it had been almost three hours since my last pain medication dose. The more I resisted the more she insisted. She even went down the hall to get a blood pressure cuff to check my blood pressure herself. It was about 70/60, which is low but not low enough to prohibit getting out of bed. I gamely tried. I really did, but in the end it was a no go. I simply could not do it. The mind was willing but the body was weak. They came back and tried again later, but it just wasn't going to happen. I know my cut off point. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but that was just too much for me to endure.
- That night I became so frantic with pain that I just didn't feel it was worth it, I should have just lived with a bad hip. Completely broken. That is what I felt. I got out my bible and began to read scripture and pray. I couldn't tell you now what scriptures I read or what I said in my prayers. It doesn't really matter. I felt the proximity of my God. He had begun a great work in me and he would no be abandoning me here and now. By degrees I began to feel better as the night progressed. When the Doctor made his rounds at 6:00 am, I was feeling almost sufficiently hardy enough to sustain life. I attended two, yes TWO physical therapy sessions that day and blew PT Nurse Ratchet's theory that I was a whiny baby prima donna clear out of the water. She couldn't help but comment on my marked improvement. I graciously stated that I did indeed know my limits and when I say I can't do it, I mean I physically cannot do it. I really was looking forward to getting a good night of sleep, but alas it didn't happen. Broken, hit or miss sleep was the best I could hope to achieve.
- Friday was D-day, or rather, departure day. I almost didn't care that I had to go to Physical Therapy that morning to have them deem me fit to leave,or that it would take most of the day to get all of the necessary paperwork in order, as long as I did, indeed, get to leave. I beat my various and sundry offspring home by minutes instead of hours, but *deep sigh* I was home. They all had rather complicated social engagements planned for the evening, except for my 12 year old who stayed home to watch The Long, Long Trailer with me. I went to be quite early, but I would once again find real sleep allusive.
- The next day was tolerably uneventful. I decided that night to take a sleeping pill before bedtime, hoping that it would forestall the tossing and turning. It worked rather well. I snoozed it up at one point for four solid hours!
- The only things still bothering me on Sunday were my incredible, unquenchable thirst, my loss of appetite and the rancid taste the sleeping pills left in my mouth. I still had a considerable amount of pain, but was able to manage it with strict adherence to the pain medication schedule. I took a couple of naps and as bedtime approached I wondered if I would have trouble sleeping again. I decided to take Benadryl instead of the Lunesta in an attempt to keep the horrid aftertaste of Lunesta out of my mouth. This would turn out to be a really big error in judgment. The Benadryl made me fitful, only sleeping in maybe 20 minute intervals. Finally after about five hours of that I got up. If I was going to be awake, I might as well be doing something. I went into the living room, caught up on some e-mails and watched some recorded shows on the DVR.
- That brings us to today, the set back day. Since I got very little sleep and the sleep that I did get was so broken and restless, it hardly qualified as sleep, the only purpose it served was to make me sore cranky and on edge. I started to feel useless, inept and generally just a waste of good space. I literally cried for three hours. I couldn't stop. What if I got all the way through this recovery process only to find out that I wasn't any good at any of the things I had only dreamed of doing while in pain for the past 14 years? What if all I was ever good for was to be a warm body to fill a chair position on a PTA board? Everyone knows these people have no real skills, anyway - they are only there because they said yes when asked, right? I was (and still am) scared to death to find out if I have something real and substantial to offer the world. When all of the illness and pain and frustration are stripped away, what would I do if I found no brilliant sparkle at the core? I still have not satisfactorily answered these questions in my mind. I really don't know who I am or what I am capable of doing in the absence of affliction; it has been too long to remember that person. I guess I will just have to start getting to know myself all over again. Just when I was getting used to this one, too.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I suppose I should update you on days one through five first, huh?