Round 1 of AI – first 72 hours after surgery

It’s now Saturday afternoon, and I’ve been home for more than 48 hours.   While I turned the laptop on yesterday, I was definitely not motivated to sit down and write.  I started out (now) with the laptop on my lap, and have quickly realised that I’m not quite ready for that yet.  So, back to the set up I’ve had in the last 2 days in the lazy boy, with a small “wooden table” set up where I can rest everything.  The keyboard is a little higher than I would like, but at least I don’t feel any pressure on my tummy.

Ok… so let me try to remember the “highlights” of the last 72 hours.

Wednesday afternoon:  4.30 p.m. – picked up all the paperwork for the hospital and then waited for A to pick me up.  The doctor mentioned something about not using a general anaesthesia and leaving in a catheter straight into my spinal cord… Huh?  What’s that all about?

Earlier that afternoon, I left the car at home and had Rogelio drive me over to the doctors.  Started to feel bad at about 4.45 p.m., with some slight spotting, letting me know that the ectopic was starting to cause problems, even though it was not an emergency yet.

5.30 p.m. – got to the hospital and got through the paperwork by about 6.00 p.m.  At this stage, they insisted on “admitting” me and getting me into the room for preparation for the Operating Room. TWO hours before surgery.  And they sent A off to have dinner and to come back later.  They told him my room number and where to find me after the surgery and that was it, I was on my own.

In the preparation room, they had me strip and get into a gown, and then I remembered the belly button ring, which had to go with my clothes.  The looks on the nurses faces when they asked if I had any body piercing and I said “oh, yes!”.  I guess they didn’t expect that from someone who’d come in dressed in a suit.  After that, they did a blood test and then set me up for the IV.  Unfortunately, the first vein that the nurse tried to set up in burst (and I can assure you, that’s kind of painful).   The second one went better (although the next morning it started to give me trouble).

I promptly proceeded to make friends with the girl in the gurney next to me.  Turns out she was also a patient of my doctor and her operation was at 7.30 p.m., just before mine.  She’d never had surgery before, never been given a local or general anaesthesia and was probably more nervous than me, even though her surgery was purely exterior.  Some gland had gotten infected and they were simply going to pop it, empty it and then leave her with a “flap” so that it would automatically drain in the future.  It’s actually called “marsupialization of a bartholin cyst” (and you can look that up on Google if you insist on knowing what it is!).  So, we joked around that they were going to give her a tail and a baby kangaroo…

7.00 p.m. – the Anaesthesiologist showed up and explained to my gurney friend the general anaesthesia he would use and the effects.  After he’d gone through “known allergies”, etc. with her, he started with me.  He initially said we needed to “negotiate” the anaesthesia to be used, and then proceeded to “inform” me exactly what he was going to do and why and that was it!  He was gone.  My gurney friend and I looked at each other as soon as this was over, and both started laughing.  Being lawyers, our definition of “negotiate” is substantially different from the doctor’s definition.  Without a doubt!  I didn’t even have a chance to say whether or not I agreed.  Hello???? Where’s the negotiation in that?  Anyway, what I found out at that stage was that he was going to use the “date rape” drug and an epidural, so that I would have less pain the next day and would not have any nausea, etc. from the anaesthesia.

8.00 p.m. – I was wheeled into the operating theatre, and the anaesthesiologist got started on injecting something into my IV… and I don’t remember any more until I “came to” in the recovery room with the nurses.  My doctor had already left and so had the anaesthesiologist.  All the nurses could tell me was that the operation had been a success.

About 20 minutes later, I was wheeled up to my room, where A was waking up from a nap on my couch!  At about this stage, my legs started to wake up and I realised that I hadn’t been able to feel them for the last couple of hours.  They had used the epidural.  Over the next 30 minutes or so, I went through pins and needles in my legs and a little bit of shaking as the epi wore off.  But could talk with A without any slurring and fully compus mentis.  The beauty of no general anaesthesia.  Only problem was – neither A nor I had any idea about the surgery and what had happened.  He’d slept through it, and I have amnesia.

A while later the nurses came in to empty my pee bag (and that’s when I realised I had one!).  The things the doctors do to you when you’re drugged!  And they were leaving that in overnight, since the epi would affect my ability to control the bladder. Damn!  I could pee myself and not even realise it.  A eventually left to go home and sleep, especially when he realised that the nurses were going to come in every 2-3 hours to check on me, and that included turning on the lights!  Me – I was half drugged and the minute the lights went out, I was back in la-la land again.  No complaints from me.

About 6.00 a.m. Thursday the nurses woke me and informed me that I was to get out of bed and use the toilet as well as to “shower”.  What?  Out of bed?  That was painful!  It’s a tiny little cut… but I guess they also cut through muscles and stuff… and getting out of bed was excruciating the first time.  So, I limped into the bathroom (wasn’t so bad, as long as you don’t try to stand up straight) and went to sit down.  When I bent my knees, though, one leg shot out from under me, and I (almost) fell onto the toilet.  The nurse looked down on me and said “I told you to wait for me to help you”.  mmm… right.  Now I know why she said that!

Did you know that they give you a “shower” while sitting on the toilet?  mmm… Yeap.  Wash cloth with soap and the little hose to wash down your private parts.  Lovely.  Nice and clean after that bath.  But, get to go home today, so who cares?

A showed up about 7.00, some time after they’d served me breakfast,  and we talked about the morning. Decided he was best off going to work and coming to get me at lunch time (1.00 or 2.00 p.m. should be fine). So, off he went.

At about 7.30 the anaesthesiologist showed up and said he’s sign all the paperwork for me to get out by 11.00 a.m.  Say, what?  Out by 11.00? Ok… First call I need to make is to A to let him know the change of plans.  After they took out the epi, I nodded off to sleep again.  At about 9.30 the admissions people called to say they were doing the paperwork for my release.  And so by about 10.30 I was ready to get out of hospital.

Unfortunately, I overdid it in those first 10 minutes or so. I really thought I was okay.  Getting out of bed is a little painful, but not excruciating.  I can stand on my own two feet.  And I can sit and stand again.

But, when I was finishing paying, the nausea hit me.  With a hot flush, strong desire to throw up, and chills.  Luckily, I was still in hospital and then rushed to get me some alcohol to snif on while it subsided.  But it took about 20 minutes or so to subside.  In the meantime, I was waiting for A to arrive to pick me up, sitting in a wheelchair, with the poor attendant wondering what to do with me if I fainted on him and fell out of the chair.   Thankfully A eventually showed up and I was feeling much better by then.

At home, the dogs wanted to rush out to greet me and we had a bit of a problem to get Mercedes to agree to go upstairs before me (and get locked in the spare room) and Susy took the opportunity to hop in the car to say hello to me.  Typical.  I’ve not been licked so much since I got back from NZ last year!

After getting upstairs, Mare brought me some yummy chicken broth… which unfortunately I threw up about 30 minutes later.  And oh, boy, was THAT painful.  There are 4 things I’ve found that I can’t do:  throw up, cough, sneeze and laugh.  All of them hurt.  A lot!  I admit, I spent the rest of the afternoon asleep.  And then slept through the night…

Friday, was a much better day. Although I had had the full intention of getting to work on Friday, after the nausea and throwing up Thursday, I decided that I wasn’t going to chance it.  And I admit that walking up and down stairs is a little difficult initially.  The other thing is – sitting up straight is still really painful.  The weight is all on the wounds and it hurts.  Sitting in a lazy boy is a much better idea, and that’s where I’ve spent most of the last 36 hours.

Last night I was allowed to have a shower – sheer bliss.  Wow!  I felt clean. And I was allowed to remove the dressing and see the wound.  It looks like they “glued” me together.  There’s NO stitches!  But there is a little black string on the outside (comes out both ends of the wound), which the doctor says he has to remove next week.  Apparently I am stitched on the inside.

I made the mistake yesterday afternoon of having a cup of coffee.  It was delicious!  The only problem is I had a terrible night’s sleep last night.  36 hours of sleeping + 1 cup of coffee makes for a terrible nights sleep!

So, even though I’m tired today, I am NOT having a nap, because I really don’t want to have another sleepless night…

The pain is much less today, although I am still ginger with the stairs.  The other problem I’ve had in the last 24 hours is the gases.  I’d been warned it would be a problem, since I didn’t eat hardly Wednesday and Thursday I threw up lunch and hardly ate any dinner.  But I am STILL bloated.  And I can hear the gurgles of it moving around.  So, being careful what I eat and how often I eat (5 meals a day, which are all really small ones).  But it seems to be working.

Anyway, that’¡s been recovery so far.  The only thing that was at all frustrating is not being able to walk the dogs.  This morning they were all excited about me being awake and were not at all amused when I said we weren’t going anywhere.  They’re still looking at me funny.  What am I home for, if it’s not to take them for a walk?

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