Monday, November 05, 2007

Where'd She Go?

This is possibly my longest post ever. And it contains no knitting. I have not been able to knit for days. You'll see...if you can stand the length!
I debated making this entry, and how to approach this subject. I have not used the blog to discuss my issues with endometriosis in great detail. But in order to excuse my utter lack of knitting I have to cop to the fact that I had surgery for endo a week ago and have been recovering since. And falling asleep every time I try to knit. I had a series of three procedures performed, all of which are an attempt to retain my uncooperative uterus to the grave. We are at cross purposes. It, and my left ovary, were seeking to kill me, I seek to function. I think I may now have the upper hand.
So I will spare you the gory details, and the sarcastic commentary on the procedures themselves (which involves the use of words like "zzzZZzzzZAAAP!"), so the squeamish can read on, maybe...because there's tales to tell from the Day-Stay surgery unit, my friends.
My day (this would be a week ago this very morning) began at the ungodly even for me hour of 5:30. Summertime, maybe. But fall? No way. It's DARK. It's COLD. I don't get up until 6:30. Period. I dragged myself from my comfortable bed where I'd passed a sleepless night. The sore throat that started Friday was gone, and I had to accept that fact that the surgery was indeed going to move forward. The hospital had called to change my surgical time from a sleep-friendly 9am arrival with a 10:30am OR time, to 6am and a 7:30 OR time. Good, right? Get in, get out, move on? Wrong. Sorta. Mr. W and I arrived at 6am only to find a deserted unit. Nobody. Nada. Zip. So we sat. My formerly calm self was falling to heck in a hurry. At 6:20am a human appeared. I sarcastically (but with a smile) quipped "Oh, Good. I was beginning to think I was the only one here." She said "Why are you here?" I said "Because they told me to on my answering machine 6am with a 7:30 OR time." They had lied. On a normal day this would not offend me too badly. But an extra half an hour in a pre-surgery waiting room? I told her I wanted drugs. I didn't get any.
They called me in for prep at 6:30. I was given the requisite one size fits all-not - ties in the back because the other patients so want to see your butt johnny, and my very own nurse. I decided to be a Good Patient and not make her insane. As I was changing I hear a bunch of kerfuffle about the lack of "stickers". There is a chart bearing my history, my paperwork from the lab, my name, SSN and DOB, mailing address, next of kin; but no stickers in sight. Stickers are essential in a clinical sestting. They tell people who you are, when you were born, and where you live. They go on everything. Chart. Bracelet. Any and all paperwork. They also let people know who your MD is, and whether or not you're allergic to, say, one size fits all johnnies. Etc. Then I hear the words I am so tired of: "Oh. I see. There are TWO of them". Instantly I know what the issue is. In spite of the fact that I have changed my name to the hyphenated Melissa Morgan-Oakes, meaning that a search for me should begin and end in the M's, they have managed to deduce that there is a second person with a similar name living in the same little happy valley. For 10 years I've been dealing with this "issue". And can they just look at the birth dates and pick one?? No. They've got to stand there and play 20 questions about which me I am, or if maybe I am her instead. But they can't ask me which me I am, since under our lovely new privacy laws they can't even acknowledge that there's another "me" in the system. I call out from behind the curtain. "Ummm....if it helps, I have a sister-in-law with a similar name and same year of birth. I'm the one born in February.". There's a pause. Obviously I have thrown a wrench in the works by stating the obvious. CHECK THE BIRTH DATE?! Then I hear "OH! OK, that's perfect, we've got you now."
Am I nervous?? Why should I be? Just because they can't get the time straight. And can't tell the difference between a hyphenated name and a not hyphenated one. Or the difference between a 4 and a 2 (April, February??). Why should I be nervous??
I am now stickered. They can complete my check in. I meet Natasha my anesthesiologist. She tells me that there could be complications of anesthesia, including death, (and a list of other stuff you don't really hear because your brain is still stuck at 'death'). But, she says, I am young, healthy, and this will not be an issue for me. (Which thing? The death? Or the part where I can't talk ever again?...ok. you in the back. knock it off. I saw the snicker. you think it'd be funny if I could not talk again?? I'd just have to type louder! HAH!!).
The time has come for my IV. When I was a teenager I had arthroscopic surgery on my knee and just wanted it out, it made me feel very creepy and jumpy. I've had others between times and never so much as flinched or batted an eye. I always let them know that I have small veins that roll a lot. I had just gone through the small, rolly vein fun Friday for my pre-op labs. I was thrilled that it only took two butterfly sticks and twenty minutes to fill the two little tubes. Because I have small and hard to stick veins, I am generally ok with things taking a bit longer, and sometimes being a bit uncomfortable. "Just Breathe...Relax," I repeat in my head, "this too shall pass." Most people generally go for the back of my hand with a smaller gauge needle. My nurse wanted to use a standard sized needle, which meant finding a larger vein. But there were none in sight. She wrapped my arm in hot towels. I pumped my little fist. We found a vein. She poised herself and drove what I can only describe as a railroad spike (aka 18g IV catheter) into my left wrist. Yow. But it was in. Patent and flowing. Who am I to argue?? I ask for drugs again. I get none (again). They bring in Mr. Wonderful. In spite of his loving presence, the pain did not go away. In fact, it felt alot like my thumb was sharply uncomfortable and my fingers were numb. So here I am, a "retired" RN, now knitter, with a NUMB HAND. I was not pleased. Numb hands mean...I might have to give up knitting. And return to (gulp) nursing! I held my tongue. 'Be A Good Patient' I said over and over. It would pass. But it didn't. I said "Um. This still kinda is not very comfortable". She was pretty clear on her plans that we keep the IV in place. I was becoming equally clear in my plans to get rid of it. Seconds away from pulling it out myself, really. Another nurse came over and asked how I was. I said "Um. This is still kinda not very comfortable. And, uh, my fingers are getting numb...." (can you say broken record?) "It's on a nerve," she says "it has to come out." I now love this nurse. I think her name is Judy and I think she was my OR circulator. Natasha, alerted to the activity, approaches. "Is there a problem?" she asks. Now, nurse #1 is preparing to insert another railroad spike into the other wrist - same location, same gauge. Mr. Wonderful has been sent from the room. He faints over this sort of thing. I am, well, freaking a bit and saying things like "Um, maybe we could use a 22 gauge? Just for today? I mean, it's a short surgery. I have small veins. I am young. Healthy..." Natasha runs a hand over my arm, assessing. "Eh," she says shrugging "she iss small person. It iss small surgery. You can use a 20? a 22? Zat vill be fine." It is at this point that Natasha becomes my lifelong hero. My new best friend. A person I would so truly hug, if I had been able to get up at that point. If I had been able to get up? I would have left.
My doctor comes in as we're starting IV #2 on the right arm to distract me by marking my stomach so she does not take an ovary from the wrong side. This, I think, will be helpful. It is good that she take only the one I actually need gone. She says she'll see me inside. I say "Now can I please have some drugs???"
My best friend Natasha brings me some Versed. Versed is my old best friend. It is in the nick of time. My brain is so over this. It wants to leave, and leave now. Screwed up times, charts, stickers, IV's on nerves, confusion about who I even am, and letters on my belly to make sure we don't take the wrong organs? Oh, and anesthesia? It can cause death. WHY WOULD ANY SANE PERSON NEED DRUGS!?!?!?!?!
As we head down the hall, me on my fluffy pink Versed cloud with Natasha and Judy by my side, I ponder my "dream". Judy requested that I choose one before entering the OR. A nice dream to take me to dreamland. A favorite vacation spot perhaps. Maybe a favorite moment with the husband I just left behind in the pre-op area with instructions for disbursement of yarn and books in the event of the "death" part occurring? Not for me, folks. For me it is a dream in 14 colors. A poem if color, if you will. I begin to describe in great detail to Judy and Natasha (who are nodding and saying 'uh-huh...mmmm...' reassuringly although they have no clue what I am speaking of) about The Wild Apple. The colors. The histo....rrr...yy.....
The next thing I know I hear an alarm and someone is telling at me to breathe. I stink at breathing. It just is not my best thing. It never has been. I think I may have offered up this bit of information as I tried to clear my head. "Look, I suck at breathing." "Are you in pain?" (No...how could I be? There's three holes in my gut, and my .... oh wait. I said I was not going to do the sarcastic thing, the thing where I say something like 'and my uterus has just been zapped with 90 seconds of electricity, zzzzZZZAAPP, why should I be in PAIN!?' Phew. Good thing I caught that.) "A little" I say. I get drugs. I really don't want a lot of drugs, because I want to wake up. Me and the stupid O2 sensor alarm do battle for a while. I don't want to breathe. I want to go home. So a lot of the time when they ask if I am in pain I lie, or negotiate it so they give me a smaller drug. I wake up faster, I get up faster, I am so alert that I become a nuisance. I want ginger ale. I want to pee. I need to move. In this way I am able to be on my feet and well out the door by 10:30am, with "patient declined wheel chair" written on my chart, right before "Good riddance!!" At 10:50am I am drug-dialing people on Mr. W's cell in a parking lot to tell them I "...am out of surgery and FIIINEE!" I call Girl. I call Number One. I think I called my mother. "It went great," I say, "and we're on the way home". I do this during the brief period Mr. Wonderful leaves me unsupervised in the car as he drops off my Percocet prescription.
Once home he sticks a horse pill down my throat and leaves to go get my Percocet. Now, post-operatively it is important that the patient be supervised for 24 hours, lest they get into any trouble. But I am relatively well-behaved, and not particularly comfortable, so my plan is to avoid trouble by drug-emailing people from my laptop in my chair while he runs out for pills and lunch. How much trouble can there be in that?? I avoid trouble quite well, generally. As I open my email I see that I've received one! A special email from the Loopy Ewe. It's SNEAK UP TIME! And I am stoned, and lacking supervision. I start chucking stuff into a cart, giggling nervously. I figure, if I can remember my PayPal password, I can check out long before Mr. W gets back, blame the drugs, and wait for the yarn to arrive. I am gleeful. Then the phone rings. Number One is calling to verify that my previous drug-dial was correct, that I am 1.)alive, 2.)home, and 3.) 'fine'. Mr. Wonderful returns with Pad Thai and Percocet (I highly recommend this post-op combo - truly the best for fast healing). I forget about yarn, and by the time I returned to the laptop I no longer cared about knitting. I wanted to sleep. Sadly, sleep was elusive. I napped, but only cat-nap style, ten or so minutes before I'd wake up. It's been that way since. I fall asleep while knitting, only to wake up a few minutes later. I knit some more, I sleep for ten minutes, I knit for three, sleep for ten and so on. That about describes my week, Monday - Wednesday. Somewhere in there, while I was drugged and he was distracted, Mr. Wonderful and I made the decision to stay at All Stars at Disney World for a week - I am not sure exactly how that happened, but we're following it with a cruise in a really nice cabin, so that should compensate me a little for the insanity of a Disney Value Resort. By Thursday I was ready to make the trip to Webs for drop in. Saturday I attended a baby shower for my new grand baby. And I taught a class on Sunday and overdid a little I think.
Here's Girl and her niece to be and Sarah-2 at the shower. I have to number the Sarah's around here. Two grand babies, two Sarah's. It can get confusing. For the sake of convenience we've decided that Aidan's mom is Sarah-1 as she is older (by a whole two years) and came into our lives first. April's mom is Sarah-2, since she's younger and came into our lives second. The fathers are much easier to keep track of, being Eric and Daniel, respectively. Thank heaven Mr. W. and I did not name our sons the same, or we'd have a serious issue on our hands.
And here's me with Sarah-2 and April, my granddaughter, who you may not be able to see clearly, but trust me she's there, right under my hand, head down and ready to go early next month. My Granddaughter. Weird. It was wonderful to see Sarah looking healthy and vibrant, and wonderful to touch April before she's here. When you're not pregnant and not around a lot it can be hard to connect with babies that aren't here yet. I was connected with Emily because I saw her mom a lot, and in fact carried on whole conversations with Emily-in-utero while her mother worked. I hope once April arrives we can see each other often. In fact, I kinda can't wait to get my hands on her little person and sniff that sweet new baby smell, and cuddle and coo. And then, when she befouls her garments, or requires sustenance?? Back she goes! This is, I have found, the best part of grand motherhood. Wow. I just previewed that. I am really short, aren't I? Heh.
Anyway - since I totally overdid it this weekend, I am going back to my chair. And I apologize for the lack of knitting and the long ramble. Now that it's off my chest, maybe a finished Radiance by next post?? Maybe a certain book in the mail? Who knows...time will tell.

6 comments:

PurlingPirate said...

Geez, after everything you went through I think we can deal with no knitting content! I am glad that you are doing ok and I wish you the speediest of full recoveries!

Kristi said...

I concur--you have went through SO much I think the knitting can wait.

Isn't it funny how they don't look for the obvious differences in names and charts--my mom has the same problem with another woman with the same name. My mom WORKS for the hospital and they still get them mixed up!

Sending lots of healing thoughts your way!

Mary said...

I'm pretty sure the drug-induced All Starring happened Monday as well, and I may have the emails to prove it :)

Petra said...

At least you can look at it and laugh a little(?!!) Sorry about the zzzZZZzzzapping of the uterous. But, let's talk about something really amazing... I can't get over the fact that you are going to be a Grandma!!!! WOW! That's cool! ;) (I Hope you have a really quick recovery!!!)

2monkeys_mom said...

Hopefully your two Sarahs don't have the same trouble with name mixups.

Glad your procedures are over with and hoping you are back up to full throttle again soon.

Yarnhog said...

That's quite a week. I am glad the surgery seems to have gone well and that you are clearly feeling perky enough to blog. (Alas, I cannot see your pictures--either your blog or my connection is acting up.)