2013 November 12
What's been Happening, Part 2
The evening before surgery was high tension in the Kleppick RV! Mainly, the source of that tension was the different ways in which Raymond and I handle stress and anxiety. I wanted to stay up and keep busy. Raymond wanted us to lay down and rest. I don't feel proud of this, but I basically said that since I was the one having surgery, I would deal with it in my own way. Selfishly, I did. I stayed up all evening and into the night, until it was time to go shower around 3am.
Our friend, Laura graciously drove to Cranberry from Harwick to pick up Ray, Greyla and me at 4:30am. She took us to Vinny's house where we deposited Greyla and all her paraphernalia and then drove us to the hospital. I cannot say enough about the goodness of Laura's heart! She worked the previous night until 11pm, went home, slept a teeny bit, drove to Cranberry, Sharpsburg and Aspinwall, before returning home to sleep a bit more in anticipation of heading off for another 10-12 hour shift at work.
We arrived at the hospital at 5:30 am, answered questions and dealt with assorted people until we arrived at the OR prep area. There I was arrayed in lovely hospital wear, had an IV started, spoke with my surgeon, the ENT doc who would also be present, the anesthesiologist, a nurse practitioner, and several RNs. The last thing I remember was being wheeled out of the prep toward the OR by two young men, one of whom was incessantly talking about stuff in his life. I don't remember anything after that. Not the OR, not the recovery area, not even being moved to the room on the 4th floor.
The clock in the prep area said: 7:10am, when I left that space. The first time I remember seeing on my room clock was 4:00pm. It is very odd to loss the better part of a day.
One thing that stands out in my mind, was the RN who checked me into my room. I remember only that she was blond, and very kind. I had a personal pain device, but she took the time to massage and do what felt like pressure point touch on my shoulders, the back of my head, and the area surrounding my C1 & 2 vertebrae. I never saw her again that I can remember and I wish I knew her name. She helped me relax during those first very scary post op hours.
When my surgeon came in, I told him I had lost my husband, and he offered to go look in the waiting area, in case Raymond had fallen asleep. He said that the surgery went very well and that barring anything unexpected, I would be discharged the next day. Of course, his associate would be in the morning to see how I was doing, but that was the current plan.
When he left, I called Vinny to say that I didn't know where Raymond was. Guess what? Raymond was there. Turns out that after the surgery when Dr. Smith went to tell him how things went, he also told R that I would be in the recovery room for at least three hours, so R decided to walk to Vinny's, instead of staying at the hospital, because he was exhausted and he had been at the hospital for nearly seven hours at that point. After talking to R, I drifted back to the land of nod.
When I awoke, Raymond and Vinny were sitting in my room. What a nice surprise! But I was still too loopy to visit, so they left.
Later, I was awakened by a soft voice and gentle touch on my hand. The room was dark, but I knew the voice belonged to Sarah, my sweet niece who works in the hospital, on another floor. She had said she would stop by after her shift, so I know it was sometime after 7:30. It meant a lot to me that she stopped by.
The overnight nurse was named Annelise and she was an angel. And, at this point, I still had my personal pain device which allowed me to self dose with dilaudid, so I guess I thought everyone was an angel, to some degree…
The morning post op, started out optimistically. Annelise removed my urinary catheter and off I went to pee, no problem. The plan then was to discontinue the IV, personal pain device, and start me on oral pain killers, with the the goal of discharging me later that day, once my hard collar arrived.
This was when all hell broke loose...