Lord have mercy.
Things are going well after the surgery…I am 72 hours post-op. I have been doing my laps (AKA the old man shuffle) around the 6th floor (3ish laps 3-4 times a day). I get a little faster each time. I have been told I am the perfect patient for the nurses and techs – all my vitals have been good and I am managing my pain well on my own. Plus I have a personal nurse (Grammy) and doctor (Russ). So that’s nice.
The doctor removed an 8lb cyst fully in tact – like a giant water balloon, which by Russ’ assessment was bigger than a football. It was only attached to my adrenal gland, so a little of that had to be removed as well, but nothing serious. Russ got to hold the cyst, just like he did with our babies. (I’m so glad he gets so many hands on medical experiences by hanging out with me.) When the surgeon told my family how big it was, my mom said “that’s as big as another baby…she just gave birth to an 8 lb 9 oz baby” And the doctor replied, “At least you don’t have to send this one to college”.
While I was in the PACU and still a little groggy, I hear the surgeon talking to the nurses about the surgery he had just finished (mine) and how big the cyst was. Then he showed them a picture and I heard many loud *gasps* and “OH MY GODS”. We got to see a picture when the anesthesiologist did rounds – crazy that that thing was inside of me. We’re trying to get a copy of the picture so we can share it with all of you.
I don’t have much pain at my incision site (my 8.5″ incision site) (!) (I guess there goes my illusions of wearing a two piece bathing suit this summer). Drugs are FABULOUS.
But there are a few post-op things that are rather annoying.
1) The pain I am experiencing is in my neck, shoulders, and behind. I have been given two explanations for this. a) there are air bubbles trapped inside from being opened up and they’ll go away eventually or b) they are sore from being strapped awkwardly on the OR table during the hour and a half long surgery. I also think it’s aggravated by the uncomfortable bed that I’ve had to sit/lay in most of my post-op days.
2) I was in PACU (the place you hang out in until you are unloopified) after anesthesia for six hours because I had to wait for a room to become available. I was SO bored. I couldn’t sleep because the only thing dividing me from my neighbors was a curtain, and I had really noisy neighbors. And they wouldn’t let my family all come back an hang out with me. They could only come two at a time and couldn’t stay long. There were no TVs, I didn’t have any of my things. I cried at one point because I was so bored. Then Russ finally came back and I was reunited with my phone and facebook, so all was right with the world again.
3) I am usually an easy stick for IVs and blood draws, but because I was dehydrated when I came in (because I couldn’t have any liquids the night before), it took forever for them to get what they needed. My right arm/hand alone has 14 sticks. I even had to have them redo my IV yesterday because the first one came lose and started making my wrist swell. I used to not mind having blood drawn, but now, every time someone comes in to do it, I tear up a little worrying how many times it will take this time and will they roll my veins around trying to find it (FYI – that HURTS).
4) I’m really dirty. I haven’t had a shower since Wednesday night…I had to wash my abdomen with this anti-bacterial scrub Thursday morning, but I wasn’t allowed to use any other soaps or shampoos – or lotions after. I look really rough (so I’m especially glad that I had nine visitors yesterday). I’m hoping they remove my IV and epidural today so I can get clean. I think I’m ready for drugs in pill form.
5) I’m really tired. I can’t get comfortable in the bed. I usually sleep on my stomach and that’s pretty much impossible at this point. Plus, people keep coming in my room. At one point, I was trying to pump to keep my supply up for Caleb when this is all over, then three different people had to come in to try to draw blood. Then the tech had to come in to get my vitals. Then the food service came by to drop off my liquid lunch (mmmm). Then the chaplain came by to go over the living will options. OMG. I think at one point, there were 8 people in my room at the same time. So I started to LOSE IT. And the chaplain just stood there and very systematically went over the paperwork. GREAT JOB Mr. Chaplain.
6) I’m very hungry. I am still on a “full liquid” diet, which is an improvement over the “clear liquid” diet. I have now had grits and mashed potatoes and ice cream. But just to recap, since Monday night at 6:00 pm (142 hours ago), I have eaten:
- 3 small cups of jello
- a teeny bowl of grits
- a bowl of mashed potatoes
- a popsicle
- half bowl of chicken broth
- half bowl of tomato soup
- two cups of pudding
- half cup of ice cream
Yumm-o. I’m a little frustrated because the doctors should have changed my food orders yesterday, but when they were rounded, I was pumping, and I really didn’t want 5 strangers staring at me while I did that (think Grey’s Anatomy when the attending, residents, interns, and med students all come in together). So we ask them to come back in a few minutes. They never came back.
7) I am glad that I can drink whatever I want now. The first 24 hours after surgery, they wouldn’t even let me have ice chips. But since my mouth was really dry, they gave me a cup of water and a bag of sponge swabs to moisten my mouth. Awesome.
8) And finally, because of the fatigue and drugs, I am still a little loopy and have trouble defining the difference between reality and dreams. Yesterday, it was really hard to keep my eyes open, so I would dose off in the middle of a conversation with Russ, then wake up and continue the conversation that was going on in my dream rather than the one we were actually having. Poor Russ – he was just so confused.
It’s good times here in the hospital. I am hoping to go home today, but it’s looking like it’ll probably be tomorrow. Keep the prayers coming, specifically that I can manage my pain with pills and that I don’t go completely crazy.
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