Monday, July 17, 2006

The Post-Op Prowler Finds The Hidden Vanilla Fudge

I'm wearing a girdle.  Yes, you heard me right, a post-op torso girdle to hold in the stitches as I heal from my surgery on the 13th.  Funny, really.  And since my Doctor never said I couldn't play on the computer, I decided I could, well actually I never asked him, so I'd like to take a pain killer and expound on my experiences at the hospital and home. 

The moment I opened my eyes I felt someone pull something from my throat, which told me immediately I'd been intebated.  Guess I should've known they were prepared for trouble when the registrar asked if I had a Living Will - proudly I told her "of course!"  Not so proudly I confessed I left it home.  She frowned, but was friendly.  A friendly frown.  Anyway the pre-and-post-op nurses were amazingly polite and well-trained, I kept waiting for that "Shut up it's only pain!"  No, these fine ladies had morphine drips at the ready and all the 5 minute check-ins I could take.  "Need water, Cathy?"  "Can you stand a little jello, Cathy?"  "Oh such lovely hair, are you really 56, what beautiful skin...." I could listen to this for hours!  Except for the sharp, tugging pain at my center; it felt like someone was in there with a pliers pulling at my insides.  I couldn't speak very well, couldn't inhale much air to get a full sentence out, but made myself understood when asked questions.  Or so I thought.   

Then the surgeon comes in - "Cathy, you came through very well, but the anesthetist wants to know if you want to keep that old shoe they found in there."  Everyone had a yuk over that.  They knew my ansethetist was really a stand-up comic in his heart and practiced on patients all the time.  I remember before I went under, he warned me he was about to inject the "pina colada mix" into my IV.  I tried to laugh.  He goes, "Okay you should be feeling a bit dizzy now."  I wasn't!  Not even a twinge.  Oh no!  He's standing behind my head so I can't see what he's up to, and I go, "Sir, maybe another pina colada is needed?"  He said this was very unusal, might have to call someone in - now I feel a thin sheen of perspiration on my forehead.  So he goes, "Well let's try another."  Still nothing.  "Amazing!" he says.  Finally, I hear this maniacal laugh as he tells me it was all just saline, I'm about to get the real "Mother's milk" as they call it, right away.  Oh great, I'm thinking - a stand-up comic wannabe for an anesthetist!  So I didn't believe he was giving me the "real thing" as I suddenly lost consciousness...

z z z z z z z z z z z z z Then I woke with that girdle. 

My sister Marianne and brother Chris were both at their cell-phones waiting to hear if I needed to stay overnight, but I fussed a bit about that, knowing the secret of all hospital stays:  if the surgery goes well and you can form intelligent thoughts, get the heck out!  It's always on the second day they find "something we didn't notice before" so I behaved well and even ate a little jello.  Isn't it odd how we always try to be "good patients" in a hospital, so the nursing staff will like us and be kind?  These were really special, kind nurses anyway, so all my transparent flattery wasn't needed.  Once again, I thanked God for good nurses who actually listen and smile. 

After the 4-hour surgery (not bad!) and a short stay in the post-op "watch her closely" room, I was brought to recovery and began my immediate plan of willing the pain away so I'd look fit to go home.  It didn't work.  I had a morphine cocktail drip in one arm, saline in another for emergency meds, and antibios in another vein.  Coughing and especially sneezing were verboden as I could burst a stitch.  Oh!  Did I mention this was torsal surgery for a ventral hernia?  I'll make another entry as I recoup.  All in all, I felt like I should:  a sick, drugged pup.  But I was getting better with each hour.  After being there since 6:30 a.m., by 5:00 p.m. I was allowed to try the restroom.  YEAH!  Nurse Nicely took my arm and started to lift me off the bed when AARG!! the man with the pliers went at me with a cruel vengence.  But since such things are expected after torsal surgery, in one, swift professional move she lifted me straight up to my feet and handed me my cane as we slowly limped to the bathroom - well, I limped, she just walked professionally, my IV trundle rolling by her side.  After a long but successful visit, I decided I could get back to my bed unaided so I opened the door and started limping out, pulling my IV along.  Suddenly, a sea of faces came running toward me softly shouting, "No!  We'll help you, don't do that!"  I felt duly remorseful and hung my head as I was helped back to bed.  

Nurse Nicely called my sis to tell her of my progress and that after a few more hours, the Doctor felt I could be released, conditionally, especially after hearing of my bathroom bravery.  (He called it something else)  So Marianne was on her way to drive me home and I actually felt a little sad that I couldn't take one of these perfect nurses with me.  (That was the anesthesia wearing off I guess).  Then Nurse Pretty-Pat came in to dress me and I was full of that "see what I can do?" kind of attitude, since I do have neuropathy in the best of times dressing is a chore.  All was going fine, even the bra part, until finally we had to get my shoes on.  The right foot, no problem.  The left?  Well, I don't have feeling in my left foot so I explained she'd have to put the shoe on around my foot, instead of having the foot wiggle into the shoe.  It's a strange world, this neuropathy thing.  I remember 12 years past when I first developed it, telling my brother "You could nail my foot to the floor and I wouldn't feel a thing!"  Somehow I thought that was a great talent to have .....

Safely strapped into a fine, clean wheelchair, Orderly O-So-Sweet wheeled me down to the emergency room exit where my siblings were waiting like eager bunnies to hear how I was.  I couldn't talk above a whisper using 3 or 4 word sentences, but they could see I was already on the mend.  Handing my sibs the Doctor's post-op instructions, they all helped me into the car with the seat pushed way back and headrest almost to the backseat floor.  Throughout everything, the pliers guy was constantly at work but I tried keeping my mind in a peaceful place, knowing the importance of mind-body connections.  Actually, the only connection I wanted was with some pain killers so we drove away (they waved to us!) and went to the drug store.  I sat in the car with Chris as Marianne went in, and according to Chris I kept mumbling about some magical waterfall with little purple elves wearing uniforms.   

Post-op orders were ridiculously simple:  Don't Move!  Except for necessary bathroom and kitchen visits, I was not to walk, strain, lift, carry, and rest in a half-sitting position.  Hence, I was bolstered with a zillion pillows so when those bathroom times would call, I wouldn't have to strain my torso to get up, just sort of roll off the bed onto the walker.  Yes, my sibs arranged my little place with all I needed at the ready.  Bed rest is not exactlly as it sounds, most of you know this.  It's not a bed, it's a prison and you're not resting, you're just immobile.  I had books (Thank You God!) and crosswords (thank you Chris!) even vanilla fudge ice cream in the freezer when I felt I could get something down - my throat still hurt from the intebation.  When they were certain I was all set, Marianne and Chris left with a promise to call in the morning - it was already past 8:00 p.m. here in Jersey. 

I couldn't concentrate on TV.  I did a few crosswords and even looked at my hidden stash of Playgirl.  But nothing would soothe me, not even the pain pills.  Something was knawing at my mind and wouldn't let me be - of course I knew what it was:  that vanilla fudge ice cream.  I had to have it!  Now!  Well, my throat you know ....

Breaking rule #1 not to move unless necessary, I rolled off the bed and limped straight for the freezer.  Nothing!  Not a lick of ice cream in sight.  Aha, they'd hidden it!  Well, weak as I was I'd find that thing and have at it!  So I pushed past the frozen veggies and chicken, not really noticing the tin-foil wrapped square shape in the far back.  Eventually, it hit me like a soft hammer:  my drugged mind realized I never wrap anything in tin-foil so the jig was up!  Like a mad dog (drugged mad dog) I tore open the foil and EUREKA!  It was the good-stuff, the super-slow churned rich with fudge, brand name Vanilla Fudge Delight that begs a spoon.  Need I say more?  

Well, that was Thursday night and here it is Sunday night - needless to say the ice cream disappeared (probably those purple elves) and I feel a bit stronger with each sunrise.  I know my throat feels better, but unless I want to pack on the pounds I won't be doing that again.  Like the good patient I so want to be, to please my concerned family, to thank my friends who prayed and wished me well, for all of you and those incredibly perfect nurses, this post-op prowler is keeping her girdle on.                    

 

 

8 comments:

queenb8261 said...

nothin wrong your mind kiddo.  Loved this entry.  Poor thing.  A girdle? I didn't even think they made girdles anymore.  Yikes!!  I didn't know you had neuropathy.  I must go back through your journal and see what you have going on (if you have written about it) I  have it it in both feet moving slowly up into my legs. And it's started in my hands.  That's why I just started taking Lyrica.  It works pretty well but wears off before it's time to take it again. But have only been on it since Thurs. Hope your surg was a success.  Feel better soon.
Hugs, Barb  

sugarsweet056 said...

I was away from J-Land on my "vacation" during all this!!!!!!!!
Had all my alerts off. Wish you had emailed me prior to surgery so I could've held you in prayer. Have had you in my Prayer Box. Hope all conts to go well.
Blessings, Sug

siennastarr said...

Luddie, You have such a knack for telling a story.   I felt like I was with you the whole time!  

I'm so glad your feeling better, and that you were able to sit down and tell this with such humor!  

I loved it!

jackie

lurkynat said...

dear Cathy,
best wishes
hugs,natalie

princesssaurora said...

Keep resting, listen to the post-op instructions... they work.... hang in there, and know that prayers are coming for you...

be well,
Dawn

valphish said...

I give myself permission to eat "the good ice cream" for all kinds of reasons =).  A girdle?  Oh, I am so sorry, Cathy =o!!  Sounds terrible.  The only thing I can think of that could be worse (maybe it wasn't worse??) was after my brain surgery I couldn't wash my hair for almost a month - wow!  Yes, it was rough.  I had half a head of hair that just was awfully itchy.  LOL  You tell this with such humor.  I've had quite a few surgeries so I know the drill.  Not fun.  I'm so glad you came out with flying colors like you did.  You will be in my prayers for further healing, honey!!  Take good care of yourself!  xox Love, Val xox
http://journals.aol.com/valphish/ThereisaSeason

onestrangecat said...

The first surgery I ever had the ansethetist told me that I would what he was going to give me.  The next thing I knew I was in recovery and some guy beside me asking if he was still alive.  LOL

Kathy

be said...

華麗夢想,
夢世界,
酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗夢想,
夢世界,
酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗夢想,
夢世界,
酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗夢想,
夢世界,
酒店經紀,
酒店工作,
酒店上班,
酒店打工,
禮服酒店,
禮服公關,
酒店領檯,
華麗夢想,
夢世界,