Survived Week 1

Yesterday marked one week since my surgery. I’m doing better than I thought I would be so I guess that’s something. I went in on Thursday morning at an hour that must have been chosen for it’s “not awake enough to panic” qualities. Westerly Hospital was great. They took me up to my room 313 and I had a fun chat with the nurses about superstitions. I was calmed by the thought that I was in room 13 on the 3rd floor. These are 2 numbers which always signal a good energy for me.

I was also happy to know that this would be my recovery room as well. It just made unpacking my stuff so much easier that way. I changed into the hospital provided gown and laid in bed waiting. My husband sat next to me in a chair. His presence was reassuring. The nurse came back in to play find the vein. She ended up with the needle in my right wrist which made signing the paperwork entertaining. Thankfully, I’m ambidextrous so I was able to just sign with my left hand. It wasn’t her fault, it’s hard to find a vein on me. The nurse then began impressing my techie husband as the bed weighed me and took some other measurements. There was a steady stream of nurses, assistants and anesthesiologist that came through with their own questions. Before long it was time to go to the surgery room.

The nurses transported me in my bed. No switching to a wheelchair or stretcher. The also left my husband ride down in the elevator with me. That was nice because I think the panic was starting to set in. When we got to our floor he was instructed to go out the doors on the opposite side of the elevator from the ones we went out. I squeezed his hand one more time and took a deep breath.

We stopped just in the corridor next to a set of doors. The nurse offered to get me a warm blanket which I was grateful for. I think it was my nerves or maybe the IV fluid but I was getting cold. After that she didn’t leave my side. There was something comforting about that small gesture. The anesthesiologist came by again to check on me, and later Dr. Greenlee came by. I don’t remember leaving the corridor but I must have.

I woke up back in my room. My husband, reading his book, by my side. It was good to see him there. I dozed on and off. At one point I was awake enough to ask for my glasses. That was when I realized that I had an oxygen tube in my nose. It suddenly became a huge irritation and I asked to have it removed. They said it was fine to remove it as I was breathing on my own pretty well. It wasn’t long before I dozed off again.

I fell into a rhythm of sleeping for 4 hours at a time. I was given pain medication every 4 hours. So when I opened my eyes because of the pain there was usually a nurse just checking in with more meds. In one of my half awake states I saw the doctor talking to my husband. He mentioned that I had lost a lot blood. I vaguely remember thinking that this must be why every round of pains meds required a blood pressure cuff. Around 4pm my husband had to go get the kids. He squeezed my hand and kissed my forehead before he left. The hospital brought me soup and Jello for dinner. It’s been a long time since I’ve had Jello. I went back to drifting in and out of sleep, waking every 4 hours, all night.

By the morning I was waking up more and able to stay awake for longer periods of time. I was finally sent home on Friday at 5pm. The ride home was hard. It’s a 20 minute drive and we need to get my prescription for pain medication filled.  The wait at CVS seemed to take forever, mostly because my earlier dose was wearing off. I took two pills as soon as we got them and then agonized as we drove home, waiting for the pills to take effect.

My husband was a real sweetheart. He set up the hide a bed with my phone charger, laptop and TV remote. It became my own little recovery command center. I stuck to the 2 pill every four hours regimen until Saturday evening. Then we switched to a “pain level 3” system which was working out to 2 pills every 5 or 6 hours. Saturday night I managed to sleep in my bed, which freed up the living room again. My command post was moved to a corner of the couch as I was still not supposed to be doing anything. I was more agreeable on Sunday, since I had managed to get 7 hours of sleep before the pain woke me.

On Sunday we also switched to a 1 pill at “pain level 3” and introduced heat backs to help relieve the pain in my back. Progress continued as I relied less and less on the pills and more on the heat pack. By Wednesday I was feeling up to going to a friends for dinner. It was a quiet affair but it was a hurdle managed – I left the house. On Thursday I decided to try no medication for the pain. I also decided to do some shopping and go to lunch with a friend. In hindsight I should have picked one hurdle or the other – not both in the same day.

I survived the adventure. We had lunch and only hit 2 stores, I can only watch so many reruns of CSI and Criminal Minds before I’m stir crazy. I came home tired and sore but not really in pain. it’s weird being able to feel the stitches. They don’t hurt but they are definitely there.

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