Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Stitch in Time

Ok, it is Saturday morning and my surgery was about 72 hours ago.

We got to the hospital about 9:45 on Wednesday after hitting a McD's drive thru so mom could have some breakfast - didn't want her getting too tired or hungry. After all she's got to take care of me!

The surgeon was ahead of schedule, so they took me in for surgery earlier than the previously set 12:45. I actually walked into the surgery room. Everybody introduced themselves and that's all I remember about that!

Next I'm having a lovely dream and someone has the audacity to wake me up.

The rest of the day was spent with them waking me up every two hours to walk, wee and breathe. Mom graciously spend the night with her baby girl because, frankly, I whined. :)

Thursday, the pain meds started helping me a lot and I was able to start taking laps around the ward. They had signs that said that 16 laps equal a mile. I knew deep in my heart that that was never happening, but I patronized them into thinking it might. I also didn't sleep as much that day and was able to broadcast an email out to my peeps to reassure everyone that I was alive. I also started "eating" my "meals" on Thursday. Of course those meals were an ounce of fluid, juice, broth, etc, and an ounce of something very soft with protein in it. I made mom go home when Natalie and Haley left for the evening. I knew that she didn't a very good night's sleep the prior night and if I was going to allow this woman drive me home the next day (although I was praying for another day - despite the cost) I knew she needed a good night's sleep.

I was pleasantly surprised to be told that they wouldn't wake me up to walk the second night, so I'm thinking I can sleep right? No, that stupid bladder of mine work me up every 2-2 1/2 hours because I had to pee and the nurse told me that if I got out of bed to wee, I had to take a lap. Suddenly I realized their evil plan to get a mile out of me just might work. Sigh.

At about 3:30, I knew that if I stayed awake for a half hour, the coverage of the royal wedding started at 4am. Back when I was 12 or so, I was at my grandmother's house when Chuck and Di got married, but I set my alarm and got up and watch the whole thing. Maybe it was because I was more of a romantic back then, or because I was younger and hadn't just had surgery, but I decided to go back to bed.

Fortunately, my ubiquitous bladder woke me up in time to see her walking down the aisle at six am. It was a lovely wedding, then I had to go for another walk.

The doctor came in and told me she was releasing me to go home. I was very scared, but after a very nice pep talk from the nurse, I was ready. So they filled me with a butt-load of drugs and we headed out.

The children were all very happy to see us back, and poor Giz tried his best to climb up on my stomach to sleep, but I think he was satisfied with sleeping on my legs.

So I'm home, my back aches and my abdomen hurts. I took my lortab last night, but am trying to get by today without very much.. so far I've only taken I dose.

I'm tired now. My email's that I've typed from my phone aren't sending. I think it is nap time.

Friday, April 15, 2011

T-2 Weeks

So on Wednesday of this week, Steve (Boss #1) advised me that he'd had the realization that we were "T-2 weeks" and he was getting "nervous."  I wanted to point out that he's known about this for months now and that I was the one who should be nervous, but I restrained myself and nodded soothingly.   A little bit later in the afternoon, he asked me if I knew what the "plan" was for while I was gone.  Now, I wanted to reply that MY plan was to relax on the balcony with my book, my cat, and my phone, but again, I used restraint and told him what I assumed the plan would be, as I had not officially been told the plan, in regard to who would be doing his stuff in my absence.


Steve isn't the only one getting nervous, however considering my previous emotional breakdown about a month ago (which I think was more hormone related than anything), I'm doing very well.  Even with the latest development – a .6 mm nodule was found on the chest x-ray they took during the pre-op testing at St. Vincent's last week.  Now if you Google "nodule chest x-ray," you come up with some pretty scary things, including the Big One.  Of course, I knew immediately that I could eliminate sarcoidosis, because it's never sarcoidosis.  (If you watch House, you'll understand.)  My immediate thought is to freak out, but I said a prayer and I emailed my prayer peeps and since then I've been doing good.  Even my therapist was impressed.


They've done subsequent x-rays and I am scheduled for a CT scan of my right lung for this afternoon.  Unfortunately, it's a Friday, so I have to get through a whole weekend knowing nothing.  Sigh.


But since we are T-2 weeks, I have to start doing things in preparation for the surgery.  First, I have to stop taking my vitamins.  Well, I could probably continue the vitamins and just discontinue the herbal supplements.  But the GNC vitamin pack that I take each day is expensive and I'm not just going to take the vitamins and pitch the rest.  Mental note: go buy some multivitamins.  I'll make them Flintstones chewables, since that's what I'll be taking post-op.  And I have to start practicing my breathing with my "incentive spirometer."  It sounds a lot more fun than it is.  And I'm not that sure that it sounds all that fun.  Hmm..  I'm supposed to be breathing through it 10 times at a time, four times a day. 


Then there's the Bucket List.  Have I mentioned this?  When my surgery was originally scheduled, it occurred to me that there were places and things I wanted to eat before my surgery.  Not that I won't be able to eat those things after surgery, eventually, but I won't be able to just sit and eat to my heart's content.  So I made a list and my friends and family have unselfishly agreed to assist me in my endeavors.  We've been to Red Robin.  I was not overly impressed – it was good, but…  When we were up in Indy last weekend, we hit the Cheesecake Factory and it was great!.  Tonight, some friends and I are going to Los Bravos for a nice cheesey dinner with a few margaritas thrown in.  Then Jennifer and I are doing one last afternoon of Yen Ching/spa treatments next week.  The rest of the Bucket List items are things like I want mom's chicken and dumplings one more time, and her chicken and wild rice casserole, and dump cake. Sigh.  Ok, this was stupid, I'm sitting here fasting for my CT scan and writing about food.


Anyway, we are officially 12 days away, assuming the CT scan finds nothing.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Count Down to Surgery

I have returned from another trip to Indy - this time for my pre-surgery testing and nutrition class.  The Lord continues to bless us on this endeavor.  First, He got me in for my psych evaluation the same day that we went up for the informational meeting in February.  Then, when we were able to schedule the surgery, He got us a date only 51 days away, instead of the four months off that we were told to expect. 


I have to interject here that I know Dad would have had some interesting things to say about ME having a psych eval… AND the fact that I passed it with flying colors. 


Anyway, the trip to Indy.  We had a lovely trip up to Holly's house.  Holly and Duncan weren't there, but Tom and Natalie welcomed us with pizza.  Tom even gave up his and Holly's bed for us, so no one had to sleep on the couch. 


I had to be at the hospital on Wednesday at 7:45am, so of course I got there way too early - about 7:20.  Fortunately, it all worked out.  Since I was early, they were able to get me started early and I was able to get out early.  But I get ahead of myself.  First off, they wanted blood, and a lot of it.  Unfortunately for all of us involved, I'm not an easy stick, haven't been for many years.  I get this from Dad… another thing to thank him for!  And right as the nurse was, unsuccessfully, trying for the second time, the hospital chaplain came over the loud speaker and said a prayer blessing us all for the day… which was nice… and then when a second nurse came in to try drain me, the blessing was doing its job and she got all 8 of the vials filled.  I have a lovely goose-egg sized bruise as a souvenir, but still I count it as a success!


Then I got to go do respiratory tests.  I got to breathe into odd machines and receive my first take home gift of the day, an incentive spirometer.  Fun little toy, I get to start breathing into it several times a day to start building up my lungs so as to prevent pneumonia post-op.  Since I am not the best at it and since I do not want no pneumonias, I will practice it religiously. 


So then I was off to go have my patient history taken.  I know that Dr. House says that all patients lie.  So I tried to be as honest as I could.  If I lied, they were lies of omission, because I didn't remember ever having an XYZ test before… and hopefully not overly important. 


Up until now, all things had been easy breezy and I entertained my escorts and a fun time was had by all.  But then I had to go to radiology.  I knew there were x-rays involved, because I'd been told not to take any of my medicines for the day until after the upper GI.  I did not, however, know what was involved with an upper GI other than there being x-rays taken.   The first part, which was swallowing some crystals and then shooting a shot of water was nauseating, but doable.  The hard part was not burping because I'd been told that if I did, I'd just have to do it again.  So we wanted to avoid that.  Then came the barium.  It was super thick and there was at least ¾'s of a cup of it.  It took a bit of prayer and deep breathing to get enough of it down.  And then she wanted me to take another shot of the crystals because she figured, rightly so, I'm sure, that I'd lost some of my bubbles.  But actually, the second shot of crystals and the water helped get some of that barium taste out of my mouth.  Personally, I think they ought to give you the crystals after the barium. 


So she took pity on me and instead of making me stand on the platform and then her moving the platform to a horizontal position, she just made it horizontal and let me lay down.  But then I had to roll over in a circle to make sure my tum was completely coated.  This was not wise on the tech's part because it was all I could do NOT to hurl all that barium (remember, this was all on an empty stomach) all over the machine.


But I survived and got to poop barium for the rest of the day, but you don't want to hear about that so..  The tests were done and it was 10:30.  My next appointment was to see a doctor at 12:30 for a physical and review of test results.  I was nauseous and hungry and I had two hours to kill, but no vehicle to travel in.  My Kindle and I trotted down to the cafeteria, which did not open until 11am and I read until the cafeteria opened.  I got me some chicken tenders, which were nothing to write home about… although one could point out that I'm doing exactly that… and some breaded mushrooms, which were fabulous!!  I haven't had the surgery yet, and I'd had my bloodwork, so I stopped in the gift shop and got some cookies.


I ate and read and felt much better.  I attended my appointment with the doctor and was okayed for surgery – but again, the Lord has made travelling down this road too smooth for me to seriously consider that I wouldn't have been.


Having passed the bloodtests, Mom, Natalie, Tom and I went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner so I could mark another item off of my Bucket List.  My friend/co-worker Shawna waxes so eloquent about this place every time she comes back from Indy that I knew I wanted to try it just once.  And I was not disappointed.  I discovered, though, that it is not the type of place to go if you want a quick meal, but it was very good.  I had Strawberry Lemonade to drink – yummers!, a dish of bow-tie pasta in a very spicy sauce with chicken for dinner – very good and I'm seriously bummed that I had to leave my doggy box in the Burns' fridge, and then for the piece de resistance, I had the Chocolate Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake!  We all got different cheesecakes and tasted each others.  Frankly, I think Mom's Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake was the best of the four.


When we got home, Natalie and I relaxed in the hot tub and then I went to bed, having gotten up very early that day, not to mention having spent a good portion of it nauseous.


Thursday, Mom and I attended an all day class with first a nutritionist to learn about the vitamins that I'll have to take and the water I'll have to drink and the protein supplements I'll have to get in.  It was very overwhelming and we went to Max & Erma's for Tortilla Soup to recover.  Then we went back for an afternoon with the nurse – who basically read from a power point script.  Sigh..  The monotony was broken up by another nurse who had the surgery 4 years ago and she was funny and answered questions I didn't even know I had and we received a prayer and blessing by the hospital chaplain – I cried, of course.  (Hands up if you're surprised!)


Finally we hit the road for home.  The drive was uneventful and beautiful.  The cats were all pleased to have us return… except for Sophie who is still shunning me.  Sigh..


So it was a successful trip.  I'm glad it is over, because I think there was a wee bit of anxiety that for whatever reason I might not be cleared for surgery.  My bucket listing comes to mind as a possible reason!  So now we have 19 days until surgery.  I have a few items left on my bucket list.  And I have shopping to do… for vitamins, protein shakes, and baby food!  Any of the new parents out there have suggestions as to favorite baby food flavors?