Friday, July 22, 2011

Surgery, the Late Post part I

Ok, so I have not ranted or raved about surgery, the hospital stay or anything in between.  I just haven't been up to it.  I thought I would bring my computer with me to the hospital, updating daily after surgery on my blog.  HA HA HA!  Now that is truly funny!  I had no clue just how sore I would be, how sleepy I would be, nor how totally uninterested in my computer I would wind up being.  So, instead of a diatribe of jumbled drugged-up words, you get a clearer, less amusing picture of my hospital stay.

  We stayed up in Tampa the night before, having to be at Moffitt at 5:15am.  No one wanted to attempt the 1 1/2 hour drive at 3am (and I couldn't blame them for that) and it was just easier to get a hotel and enjoy my last night before the knife slashed into my chest.  I know, there are more delicate ways to put things, but this is how my mind was working and what it was thinking.  I tell it like it is inside my head, and I pretty much pictured the whole surgery as a nicer version of a slasher flick.

Skipping ahead to the surgery (really isn't much to say prior to that, we ordered room service and slept), I got the surprise of my life.  3 of my 4 brothers flew down from Michigan to see me.  I was in pre-op waiting, anticipating my name being called, a large lump in my throat.  I can now compare myself to a guilty man who is waiting for the gallows, with the emotions that were running through me when they came in.  I lost it at that point, crying hysterically.    All of these crazy emotions smacked me at once and I was a little girl again, terrified yet safe because her big brothers were there to protect her.  I was instantly calm.  I hadn't seen them since my mother passed nearly 5 years ago and they truly were a sight for sore eyes.  They had already met Barb and Tabby outside (I hate being the last to know anything!) so they waited their turn to come say good luck while I talked with my brothers.  I finally got to see my daughter and best friend and off I went to la-la land. 

  I woke up hours later feeling like a truck hit me, a really BIG truck.  Dim-witted me though, was trying to be a good girl with her PCA pump (a push-button machine that allows you to deliver pain medication to yourself set to a specific time and amount) and only push it every 2 hours based on memory of the medication I was on.   I knew dilaudid was given every 2 hours from working in the hospital.  What I did NOT remember is that a PCA pump is set for every 6 minutes!!  So here I was, waiting to push my button every 2 hours, in excruciating pain, screwing myself out of comfort.  When my nurse found out she told me to keep pressing every 6 minutes until I was caught up... I don't think I stopped pressing for 2 days.  Relief at last! 

  I really have to say, Moffitt Cancer Center is like a 5 star hotel.  The nurses are right on top of everything.  They are very understanding and caring, sweet in personality and never talk down to you.  They answer all of your questions and sympathize right along with you.  The food was outstanding, which is surprising for a hospital.  We all know the reputation hospital food has and I was glad I couldn't eat for the first two days.  No eating OR drinking until I could pass gas.  Not only did I have to be awake, but apparently so did the lower half of my body.  I was so thirsty, not having a drop of water to drink since Wednesday night before surgery.  Here it is Friday and I am dying!  Ice chips, whoopee (she says sarcastically) !!  I wanted to shove an alarm clock up my rear end in hopes of waking it up.  They dryness of my throat was making me cough.  Oh yeah, coughing... let's discuss coughing.

  Now my doctor knew I was giving up smoking, so he did me a huge favor and did a bronchoscopy (he cleaned out my lungs inside, got rid of all the nasty crap) so that I wouldn't have a difficult time with the ex-smoker's cough.  My lungs were deflated for surgery and they let them naturally inflate and you do that by deep breathing and coughing.  COUGHING????    I have an incision that runs from my throat to my belly and you want me to cough?  Are you crazy?  I knew this was going to be the most painful experience of my life, worse than childbirth, because it hurt to breath.  Thank goodness for working in a health care setting, for I knew that pillows are used to brace yourself to cough after any kind of thoracic surgery.  Ok, I was ready.
NO I WASN'T!  I don't care how much pain medication was in my system, I don't care if The Hulk was bracing my chest for me, I was not prepared for the amount of pain one tiny, pathetic little cough could create.  Holy Mary Mother of God, don't let me cough again!   That didn't happen, in fact, I was coughing crap out... black crap.  Ewww.  That is the only word that can describe my thoughts.  I was told I was getting out what was left behind in my lungs and it was great that I was coughing, the doctor would be very pleased.  Glad someone was pleased, because it sure wasn't me!  After coughing the colors of the rainbow over the next week, I finally was used to it (as used to it as one can get).



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