Thursday, September 18, 2008

The skinny . . . .

(heh) well, not ME.

Not yet, anyway.

BUT, I did promise to come back and give an accounting of the whole surgery thing, so for those of you that are squeamish or easily bored, this will be an easy skip for you. Come back in a week or so, and this posting will likely be off the main page, and we can all pretend it was never here.

For the diehards, here's how it went down:

Wednesday, September 10
We check into the surgical waiting area. The kids are along (they insisted), GameBoys and video player in tow. I feel surprisingly calm. The Boy had asked me on the way in if I was scared, and I was able to say with total honesty I wasn't. I had a sense of peace. I was ready.

Fast forward to 10:30 am or so. I am enduring the third attempt to have an IV placed in my hand (hard to see veins in my chub, I guess). An angelic, very experienced nurse finally placed it quickly and before I knew it, soothing drugs were coursing through my veins. From there, I glided into the operating room. I was still coherent enough to crack to the surgeon that the LAST time I was wheeled into the operating room in this hospital, I woke up with a 10 lb bouncing baby boy, and would that be my fate this time? Even drugged, it was nice to hear some chuckles. As soon as I was laying flat, a mask was placed over my face . . . .

. . . . and my eyes opened to a dark post-op care room. I woke up and was able to make out several beeping machines, several nurses, and several gurneys. I remember being VERY dry and thirsty, but not much else. I must have dozed off, because the next thing I knew I was in a regular room, with Hub and the kids and my sister around me, chatting about . . . something.

The big push after that kind of surgery is to wake up and GET up. Walking around happens very quickly, and wards off a host of problems, and I knew going in that I would be asked to get up. I remember sitting up, being surprised at the lack of any pain, and walking the halls, but it was all very dreamy. It was much later that evening before I was really aware of much of anything. Nurses seemed to glide in and out, taking my temperature, taking blood, measuring, monitoring . . .

The next day, the halls were busy with walking patients and visiting families. I didn't feel quite as strong as I had the previous day, but I managed to get up a few times, each time with a wash of nausea that wouldn't go away. The nurses brought drinks, tempted me with popsicles, but nothing appealed. As the afternoon progressed into the evening, that initial nausea worsened, and things started to deteriorate pretty quickly. I vaguely remember being in the bathroom, and holding a large basin in front of my face, while sitting gingerly on the toilet.

Blood was pouring out of both ends.

I will say this: Throwing up (what appeared to me to be) a gallon of blood is shocking, but I felt SO MUCH better afterward. The relief was soon overtaken by the faint notion in my head that something probably wasn't right, and that was confirmed by the flurry of nurses that came in and out to see me and my predicament.

Let me say this . . . my surgeon was wonderful. He was there. He was there when things were going well, and he was there when things WEREN'T going well. He took the time to explain to me that in my particular case, I had bled profusely during the procedure, that basically everything that was touched bled. Certainly a bad side effect of my diabetes, but also a side effect of being a fair skinned person, evidently. Even though things weren't going as well as expected, I never felt that I was in real danger.

The blood transfusions began that day, and I had 4 in all. Amazing how much better you feel after that.

Once that issue was resolved, I started to make gains. I could walk the halls. I could eat popsicles and take my medication. I could shower.

I could come home.

I've been home for 4 days now, and I've felt good each day. I'm following the doctor's instructions to the letter, and watching the scale with slack-jawed amazement (from my intial visit with the doc to today, 24 lbs are off my frame.)

Even though we had a few rough spots, I'm still glad I did it.

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