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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Surgery and Two Days in Hospital

Time to start blogging again even though I"m not really feeling up to it it but if I don't get this last week recorded it will soon become ancient history instead of recent past!

I'll add pictures later.

Monday morning I arrived for my surgery 7 minutes late but that was ok because they were taking people by the number system and I got number 10 and they were up to number 2, so I figure they got a little late start as well.  Of course there is just drop-off parking at the Surgery Unit so dh went off to park the car, when he arrived back I had been admitted, waited and just had my name called to proceed through to surgery with three other people.  Dh couldn't come in until I was all bedded down, but everything went quickly.  I was asked the same questions over and over, poked, prodded, temp. taken, gowned, iv'd and bedded then dh came in and about ten minutes later the nurse came to say it was time.

Remember this is my first time having surgery of any kind as an adult, and certainly my first "major" surgery.  I wasn't nervous at all; I was excited and pushed through the corridors, seeing all the surgical scrub centres and thinking how cool this was, just like ER.  Then we entered my room, which was filled with my "team".  There were little tv sets all over the room and the wall in front of us was one big TV screen.  Everyone then came up to me and introduced themselves to me and proceeded to do something to me until I was on the table and being told to breathe in and out.  Next thing I knew I was groggily opening my eyes and I was in my room.  My dh appeared briefly.  I remember smiling at each other and saying "hey".  Then my next remembrance is pain and agony!

Brief time out here for some reflection.  After various conversations with nurses and relatives, I realise now that I had never actually contemplated the surgery part of this procedure.  Having never had major surgery before, I had no clue what to expect.  Yes, I was told it would take 4-6 weeks to recuperate but I thought that meant until I was like I'd never been, incisions fully healed etc.  I had literally thought I would be able to walk out of the hospital.  I guess I thought it would be like having a baby, yes you are tired and weak and sore but as soon as you get home you get back into living your life and taking the baby for walks and trips to the doc, right?  You take naps but you suck it up the soreness and get on with it.  Not so with surgery!  I soon found out.

Well, here I was in the hospital, awake, hurting and I couldn't move my stomach muscles!  I couldn't adjust myself in the bed without help.  I remember now, I woke up in the recovery room needing to pee and they would only let me have a bedpan, not allowed to get up in recovery.  Well I can't go on a bedpan, no matter how badly I have to go, so I ended up being a mess crying and wailing about having to go pee and would some get me to a toilet please!  So I was taken up to my room and they had to literally take me arm in arm to the toilet to do my business.  This is all very blurry but the relief of peeing was about as great as the pain of moving.  I guess this is when I fell back to sleep and remember the other wakening described above.

The surgery was a success.  Everything went according to order, smoothly and on time.  My sutures are neat and clean.  The surgery was done laproscopically so I have 5 small incisions with a couple of stitches each and covered with steri-strips which will eventually fall off.  A couple of post-op complications included some original troubles breathing.  I was only getting 80 on this machine that they said I should get at least a 95 on for them to be happy so I was hooked up to the nose oxygen things and that night my C-PAP machine (for sleep apnea) was set up so they could add the extra oxygen.  Also upon awakening I couldn't open my right eye at all.  It burned and stung and watered.  I eventually got it open a crack but couldn't see properly.  Things were blurry with black around the edges.  There was some crusting in the corners of the eye as well.  That night I asked for a saline wash and it felt really good but didn't really help it much.  Gradually over Tuesday, my eye opened, with blurred vision, and eventually got all better.  They say it was a reaction with the stuff they had taped my eyes closed with during the operation.  Nobody could tell me why they taped my eyes closed though and I had other stuff on my mind when the big-wig honcho dr. came around.  And lastly, I had a short bout of low blood pressure; it went down to 56 over something.  I basically slept through this so don't know what they did but when a dr. came to address this with me she found my bp had gone back up nicely and no further follow-up was needed.

The hospital I was at is a teaching hospital, so there was no shortage of staff.  There were nurses, student nurses, interns, residents, doctors, surgeons and specialists who all came to see me at one point or another.  Everyone was very nice and I was treated well.  You get the best care from those lowest on the ladder, though, which I think is always the case with these things.  My surgeon was the leader of the team himself, who I met once post-op and probably would not be able to recognise in a police line-up.  There were two student nurses who worked together, who took wonderful care of me and all the nurses were very nice, especially a young 23 yo male nurse who was fairly new to the job.

On the technical side of things, I was still on a clear fluid diet Mon and Tues which meant my meal trays consisted of appetising delights such as decaf tea with sweetener, apple juice and unsweet. jello.  Wed. was my last day in the hospital and will be the focus of my next post.