Monday, February 22, 2010

ouch doesn't even begin to cover it

"ignorant pre-surgery bliss"

If someone would have warned me that surgery REALLY HURTS way worse than child birth for a really long time, I don't think I would have done this so carelessly or took the above smiley photos during pre-op. There is pain, and then there is pain that makes you very aware of everyday things like lying down, rolling over, sitting, coughing and pants.

This whole experience has made me appreciate wellness in a whole new way. Life with out pain. Or constant drugs to mask said pain.

I guess you could say that I'm lucky that I was so naive to what was in store for me. I remember going into this thing as if I was getting a tooth pulled. I remember the last thing I said to the doctor as he was pulling the mask over my face went something like this, "my son would like to put the tumors in a jar and put them on his shelf.", and him saying, "okay, that's nice.".

And then, fluffy clouds.

Six or so hours later, the next memory is of myself cursing at some nurse because of the pain I was in and how I needed more of SOMETHING. I think I actually grabbed a passing nurses arm and let out some words that resembled, "my nurse was not listening and not helping me.". I figured out pretty quickly that there are a lot of medical staff out there with some serious job satisfaction/sensitivity chip issues. Thankfully, this nurse was not one of those and she quickly intervened with more morphine. And thankfully, the surgery was a success, but part of my diaphragm, to which the tumors were connected to, had to be removed and patched up with mesh (I have no idea so don't ask). The big one was the size of a grapefruit and the smaller one an apple. Fruit salad anyone? no? okay, moving on.

ICU for 2 days followed with more disgruntled nursing staff and pain beyond, well, anything I had ever experienced. I did have this handy little device called the pain pump (in non medical speak) which is basically a remote control with a button that delivers Dilaudid whenever I pushed it as long as it was 8 minute since the last time I pushed it. BEST INVENTION EVER. I spent every day watching the clock and dissecting it into eight minute increments so I'd know when I could push the button next. If I accidentally pushed it too soon it would throw everything off because there was no way to tell if the medication was actually delivered. The pain never did fully leave so I was never sure if I got the meds or not. In retrospect, the whole thing was probably a placebo type of thing and they were just giving me saline and not any pain reliever at all. Conspiracy!? Perhaps paranoia is a side effect of the meds. moving on.

Thursday they finally pulled out the chest tubes which caused a lot of the discomfort I was experiencing. These things had been in place since the end of surgery in order to keep my lung from collapsing. It is something I'd rather not go into detail about, but I'll just say that I'd really like to avoid doing it ever again. I just remember the doctor saying something to the effect that I might feel some pain. Pain and hyperventilation and shaking uncontrollably is more like it.

Once things calmed down, he asked me if I felt better and lighter now that they were out. Oh yes, excuse me while I skip around the room, enjoying the freedom from chest tubes. weeeheeee! no chest tubes! Can you believe it?!

Friday they let me go home and I've been in hiding ever since. I love our house even more now that I've spent some serious time in bed staring at the same walls. Everyday is getting a bit easier, but I still can't believe that I'm staring at 6 more weeks of recovery. And, while it's kind of nice to have some time to myself, I wouldn't exactly call this or the hospital stay, club med. The pain kind of takes away any pleasure I can get from the "break" I'm getting. BUT I have finished planning and shopping for both kid's birthday parties, knitted a good portion of a knitting project and am BLOGGING! Go figure.

Oh, and check out this crazy bruise on my arm. You'd think I had arm surgery too, but it's just from the a-line iv during the surgery. NUTS!

Lucky for you, some a-hole nurse threw out the photos that my surgeon gave me of the tumors on my diaphragm and I just can't get a good angle on my sutures.


Chria said...

Oof, hope you are feeling better now! I had the pain pump for the first day following my elbow surgery, and I was having the same thoughts about it being a placebo as it seemed to not be doing anything. This was pre eye surgery and Jamie had my glasses, so I couldn't see the face of it to see if it was working. When I finally got someone in there who knew how to work the thing he told me it hadn't been on since they moved me into my room, which was around 2 hours! It definitely isn't a placebo, because after two hours of no pain meds, the two doses I was able to give myself before passing out had me completely blitzed.

Sarah said...

you are a brave little chicken. and speaking of chickens i'm happy to learn yours are bearing fruit. well you know what i mean.

Adriana said...

No souvenirs after all that?! What a ripoff!