Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Whole Story

This is a shot of all of my get well cards & some beautiful flowers my momma & dad got for me to cheer me up. Aren't they so pretty? And they were a week old when I took this pic. I was impressed. The cards are from friends, ladies at my church & my niece Madison (her's is the pink on in the front right - she made it for me in art class - love that kid!).

I had my follow-up appointment with my surgeon today. He seemed really pleased with how my incision sites looked & released me to return to work tomorrow. I had prayed a lot about this appointment. I've done more moving around & some more chores type things in the last day or two but I have been extremely fatigued by it. I just wasn't sure that I was ready to jump back into work but part of me was really chafing at burning up so much of my paid time off. I fought worrying about it all day yesterday & finally gave it over to the Lord. The surgeon was very confident that I'm ready to get back into things. He said my fatigue is normal & my other little digestive issues (which are very minimal) are also normal. Now I guess I feel ready. I just won't be lifting anything over 10 pounds for the next couple of weeks.

So now I am going to go back in time to the surgery day, last Monday. Lots of you other bloggers post birth stories when you have your babies. I got no babies (for now!) but this is my major medical story & I thought just maybe a couple of you might be interested in how things went down.

Mike & I met my mom & his mom at the new hospital Monday at about 9 a.m. This new hospital that has built looks like a huge airport. There is a ton of glass, multiple levels that open onto a big atrium - very awe-inspiring. We had been waiting for less than five minutes when they called me back. Kisses for the mommas, one hand holding Mike's & the other holding a little book about God's thoughts about our fears (thanks, Steph!), we walked to our little curtained cubicle. They wasted no time in getting me in one of those awful gowns & an IV in my hand. The nurses were exceptional. They even numbed my hand before they stuck me. So nice! They started those fluids & my nerves started to hum & I had to make a couple trips down the hall to the little girl's room. On one of my treks I caught a little glimpse into the cubicle across from mine & I thought I recognized one of Mike's co-workers. Sure enough, it was him & he was getting his tonsils removed - poor guy!

We had a visit from the surgeon. I was his first procedure of the day. Good to get them when they aren't tired, right? The anaesthesiologist came by to see me, too. He was so cheerful & reassuring. He told me that his goal is always to give enough medicine to keep me pain free for as long as possible coupled with medicine to keep me from being nauseous. He was funny & about our age & I really liked him.

The wait seemed so long but so short. I laid there and worried about things like the fact that I'm so stinkin' tall that my feet were hanging off the bed & what if I went into surgery with a full bladder? The fear of wetting my pants is what kept me trucking down to the bathroom. So silly. Then they were telling me to give Mike a kiss & they were wheeling me away. It's such a strange feeling to get wheeled around on a bed. The doorways are barely wider than the bed & I double checked my elbows, tried not to flinch. In the operating room there were two nurses bustling around me. One was giving me an antibiotic & the other was affixing a blood pressure cuff to my arm. At that moment I was overwhelmed. It's hard to describe b/c the Lord had given me such sweet peace & it hadn't left me, but my emotions were out of my control. The tears gathered in my eyes. The nurse that was pushing the antibiotic noticed & came around where I could see her. Both nurses stopped and put a hand on either of my arms & they spoke such sweet comforting words to me. I was just amazed that they showed such care for me. I'm a little teary recalling it, b/c the kindness was just so unexpected. They had a schedule, they had things to do, they knew I was going to be fine, BUT they still ministered to my fearful spirit. The Lord provided me with such good care.

Next thing I knew, I was in the recovery area. I have no idea how long I was there but I just did not feel like I could wake up. I could hear all kinds of things going on around me. The nurse kept patting my arm & asking me I could wake up. She got another patient whose little bed was to the left of mine. He was coming out of back surgery & he was being restless & confused. She kept reprimanding him to be still in a stern tone & then coming over to me & cooing to please wake up, sweetie. I remember thinking that she was awful mean to him & awful sweet to me :-) I just couldn't open my eyes b/c I was TOO SLEEPY! Then I heard her on the phone with my anaesthesiologist. She told him that my heart rate was in the 30's. She had given me some medicine to perk me up & my heart rate went up to the 80's but now it was back in the 30's. A few minutes later he came back to check on me, declared that I was ok, & was gone again. I roused enough to talk (still couldn't open my eyes) to tell her that I had been exercising really regularly recently & when that is my routine my heart rate is generally in the 50's when I'm at rest. It's probably my imagination but that seemed to make sense to her & she didn't worry about my heart rate after that.

They brought me a Sprite & then I was wheeled back to my first little cubicle. I could open my eyes a bit at this point. I just had the funniest feeling about breathing. I would breathe out & then just pause. I almost had to tell myself, "Ok, now it's time to breathe in, Mare." Such a strange feeling. Since I had never been under anaesthesia before I just didn't know what to expect. They brought Mike back to me & within a few minutes they were unhooking my IV & telling him that he could help me get dressed as soon as we wanted. So I got up & started this horrible full body trembling thing. It happens to me every time before I vomit. I wasn't the least bit nauseated & I didn't have any pain at this point so I have no idea why I was shaking. It an awful feeling b/c I can't control it no matter how hard I try. So he got me dressed, the nurse brought a wheelchair & Mike went to get the car & tell the mommas we were leaving. The nurse had to take me to the bathroom before I could leave & she felt so sorry for me with the shaking. If she told me to go straight home & straight to bed one time, she told me ten times. I was not gonna argue :-)

Mike got me home & settled on the couch by 3 p.m. Can you believe how fast that was? I settled in with a heating pad & some water & don't remember much until the next morning. Mike & I were still in bed when there was a knock on our front door. The G's had come for a visit! G-pa went to get their license plates renewed & G-ma visited. She made sure I ate some cereal & took a vicodin. I have to say one thing right from the beginning of the vicodin saga: I have never taken anything other than tylenol with codeine. I hated it. I hate feeling like I can't stay awake b/c I'm drugged. I hate being afraid it's gonna make me nauseous. I just didn't want to take it. But since G-ma insisted, I did. And it helped some. So I took it every four hours or so for five doses. And then I QUIT! No more for this little girl. I itched so back & had a rash all over my stomach, of all places. I took some benadryl with it to help with the itching. Talk about feeling drugged. I didn't get sleepy; I felt like I passed out. So I stubbornly refused to take anymore. Tylenol Rapid Relief is all I need, thank you very much.

Mike headed back to work Wednesday. I was a little bereft without him, but I think that was the drugs. I still had some vicodin in me (seriously, WHY do people like that stuff?) & I was beyond emotional. Everything I watched on tv made me cry; everything I read made me cry; moving around made me cry. It was beyond pathetic. I had several calls & my sister came by with the kids & I cried on everybody. Goodness.

Thursday I felt more like my own self. I was still struggling with not feeling well & not having any appetite. I was trying really hard to eat b/c I knew my body needed fuel for healing but it was not easy. I was also beginning to have a hard time with sleep. Seems I was totally caught up. I would go to bed late & wake up at 5:30. I've done that every morning since (tomorrow when I need to get up at that time for work I'll probably oversleep!). So I filled my days with reading, dvd watching, puzzle working, & cross-stitching. And walking laps. Everyone emphasized to me that I needed to keep moving. Moving outside has been impossible b/c it has snowed & blown & been freezing cold all week. And I have walked laps in the house. We have a convenient little track that goes from living room to bedroom to bathroom, through bathroom to kitchen to dining room & back to living room. The only problem is that we have a very little house. I did the laps in groups of 10's or 20's & kept track on a little blackboard in the kitchen. My goal was to complete at least 150 laps a day. It's ridiculous how weak & breathless I am. But I'm sure the laps are helping, right? :-)

I made it out to church Sunday morning & evening. The biggest problem about trying to get out of the house is trying to find something other than ratty sweat pants that I can stand to wear for any length of time. My tummy is still tender & puffy. I'm hating the puffiness b/c it feels a lot like fatness. Ugh. Speaking of that problem, I gotta figure out what I can wear to work the next couple of days...

So I guess my recovery is close to complete. I did not accomplish all of the book reading, dvd watching, organizing, crafting, & what-notting that I had planned. Oh well. This has been a bit of a rough road. It has been much more difficult than I thought. The Lord has been so good to supply the peace I've needed in times of fear. He has provided the patience in times of discouragement. He has provided joy in moments of pain. He has stayed by my side & kept me from loneliness. And when I let Him, He took all my cares & worries. He is so strong on my behalf. I could not live this life without His help.

And I thank Him for providing me with a loving, compassionate, goofy husband. Mike has made me laugh so often during these home-bound days. Laughing was so painful at first but necessary for those muscles to get back to normal. I've had a comedian in the house & it has been so good. Love that guy :-)


TwoMuths said...

I'm so glad you are cleared for work, and I will pray that God will give you the strength you need for that. I hate vicodin too - had it prescribed after my c-section and felt like if I fell asleep I would suffocate/stop breathing. Plus the emotions. I'm with you - give me tylenol! (Actually, I prefer Motrin) Glad you're on the mend!!

Carrie said...

Thanks for sharing the story! I was praying for you last week whenever God brought you to mind. I'm happy that you're recovering well and I pray that your first days back to work will be smooth and that you're still able to take it easy for a while!

By the way, I love your new blog look!! :) Take care!

Rebecca said...

So glad you shared! Sharing something that affected your life this much is good for you! Glad that you made it through! Hope work goes well.

Melissa said...

Mare-Prayed for you, glad to hear everything went well! Thank you for sharing your story!! Its funny, your story about in the operating room, I had a similar experience! But in my story, it was the surgeon who held my hand and even sat down on the bed beside me like he had no where else in the world to be! His was the last face I remember and the first one I saw after! God is so good to bring along such caring people that He can use to calm our fears and reassure us He is there!! Glad to hear you are on the mend!!

BTW, Love the blog!! :)

Erin said...

I'm so glad you are headed back to work. Just be careful not to do too much too quickly. When you are tired, listen to your body. Love you and still praying for you.