Saturday, January 22, 2011

Journaling My Medical Drama of 2010 - Warning, Graphically Detailed-PART 2

The 10 days leading up to my surgery I made sure that everything that needed to be done if God forbid the worst happened, was done. 

I cleaned out paperwork and put it in a place that would be easyily found if my husband needed it. 
All Christmas cards were mailed out.
All Christmas gifts were wrapped and tagged.
The kids clothes for school, were bagged by day down to the socks and underwear.
Notes to the school and teachers about the change in drop off and pick up were sent in.
Snacks and vitamins were ready for the kids in a bin in the kitchen.
Gas tank on the car filled.
Clarissa was on stand by if The Teach needed back up or someone to drop off or pick up the kids.

My husband did the gig for two weeks but it is a lot to do it all especially when you don't normally do it.  Anything I could get done, was! 

On the morning of surgery, I woke up and started to get dressed. Before putting my shirt on, I looked at my stomach in the mirror. I ran my hands up and down the smooth, unlined stomach knowing that it would never look like that again. I have an appendix scar and two c-sections but those are at the bikini line. This was going to be different.  I was having a Left colectomy - removal of the portion of the colon located on the left side of the body (also known as the descending colon). Colectomy can be performed as a treatment for cancer and other diseases of the bowel. I looked it up on line and watched a medical video, it is better to be semi prepared.

We dropped the kids off and I tried hard not to cry. I kissed them both praying it would not be the last time I saw them. I prayed I would be out for Christmas.

We got to the hospital after an uncomfortable conversation in the car. I felt strong until the conversation and needed to regroup and gain my strength back. We walked into the hospital holding hands and headed to pre-op. I couldn't be at the Christmas Concert and really wanted Teach to record it and I focused on that. Blood, IV, a nice warm blanket (like bubble wrap that is inflated with warm air) and I was comfortable and nervous but ready.  The doctor comes in, shakes our hands. I ask him how he is feeling. He is in scrubs and just came out of surgery. I hear him tell Teach that I will be in recovery for 2 days "They will keep a better eye on her there.". When he leaves, Teach says, the kids won't be able to see you for at least 2 days. I can't bring them into recovery." 
In my head, I thought, OK, let's just get this done. I don't want to be looking at this, I want it behind me. Teach took my things (my wedding/engagement ring, kissed me, we said our I Love Yous and I watched him walk out of the curtain. I took a deep breath and the curtain opened revealing someone who introduced themselves as my anestesiologist.

Right before he left he asked if I wanted something to take the edge off. I am not great with meds, they make me sick, and I pass out quickly. My stress level seemed OK and I was alone so said, "nah, I'm OK!"

He walked out, and the nurse turned to me and said, "You really should take him up on that offer! It will make the ride down the hallway much quicker." I said, "Ok!"

She stuck her head out the curtain and said, "She changed her mind. She would like a cocktail. Make it a sweet one!"

He came back in with a syringe. I watched him insert it into my IV and he walked out of the curtain. The nurse was writing something in a notebook with her back to me.........

I woke up to someone removing an oxygen mask from my mouth. I was angry. I loved the cold, clean air. I felt a hand patting my leg and saying, "the surgery went well." As I moaned out loud, feeling the first lick of pain, she thrust something into my hand and pressed my finger onto a button. "Here, this is your pain medication, press this button." I felt her hand squeezing mine around the clicker in my hand. I moaned, feeling as if I were hit by a bus....

My eyes open. I don't have my glasses on so I can't really see but the room is dark other than some colorful lights from monitors. I hear beeping and see two people standing at a desk, talking quietly....

I wake and feel like I am moving. A nurse is squeezing my hand telling me to push the button, I am going over an elevator frame, there are some bumps and I am moaning. They are wheeling me into a room and I worry that I am supposed to be in recovery.

The nurses are buzzing around. I want to call Teach but can't move. I have a tube up my nose and down my throat. It is extremely uncomfortable and I want to cry. I feel the heaviness of the tape holding it to my nose. It is hard to breath, swallow or lie flat with the tube.

Nurses are buzzing around, making room in my shared space for all my equipment. I feel the bed being moved, things being shuffled and I am in ridiculous pain. They tell me that they spoke to my husband and he knows where I am.

I have a catheter for urine, IV's in both arms (one for my meds, one for morphine and one for my IV), and the one up my nose and down my throat. That was the worst one BTW!

The tube down my throat is constantly sucking stomach acid and everything else so that my intestines are not forced to work. It is disgusting hearing the sucking noise and seeing the dark fluids go past my face to collect into a glass canister behind me.

I am able to speak to the Teach on the phone and tell him about the tube and how hard it is to talk and swallow. He tells me that the surgery well and that the reason I wasn't in recovery is because it wasn't as bad as they had originally thought. Good news!

The next day he comes to the hospital. He tells me that he wrote to everyone we are both friends/family with on Facebook and told them not to call or visit me until he gives them the OK. The only person allowed is my father. He tells them that I have a tube that makes it hard for me to talk and swallow and that he needs me to concentrate on getting better. Some people were shocked, some (my sister, angry), most understood that he was doing it for me.

The pain was about an 8. I could breathe through it and couldn't wait for the tube to come out of my throat!  They took my catheter out the next day and brought me a commode. Hooray, I was right next to the door. Had a tube in my throat that only let me go about a foot from my bed, IV in both arms and my room mate had neighbors. I couldn't reach to close the door or the curtain and had to pee every 20 minutes. It was crazy. No privacy at all. Everyone and their brother saw me pee and would wave at me as they walked by. Son-in-laws and brother-in-laws of my roommate included would literally wave and say hello. Maybe they didn't realize what I was doing but, seriously! If someone is sitting on a commode, could you divert your eyes as you walk by and give them a little dignity. There was no way around it either. If I had waited for an aid or nurse which is what I did the first 6 hours of this, I would wait sometimes 20 minutes for someone to get there and when you had to go, you had to go. Pressure in that area after my surgery wasn't good!

Part 3 coming up.


  1. I there red your ordeal. Not sure when this happened but I don't know you and hope you are feeling better. Prayers for you and hugs.

  2. hope things are starting to go better and your feeling better..the hospital is the worst!

  3. Poor thing, I'm so sorry it was so bad for you.
    I'm so glad you are getting this all down in writing and getting it off your chest.
    Waiting for part 3.


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