last thursday I had surgery to removed an inflamed, stone-filled gallbladder. it went well, I suppose, since I am home and recovering a bit more each day. I don't have much pain anymore, although I am still low energy. it does make me feel really old to talk about my surgical and digestive issues! but I thought this blog was due for some personal musings...
I had my surgery on the day Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, so on december 27 I wake up to that news. while dressing, I glance at the tv to see 1953-2007, white numbers against a black screen. numbers that could be mine. Bhutto and I are the exact same age. those numbers wlll be on my tombstone (should I have one), should I die in surgery. but I won't die. I'm not at all concerned, just sad for her.
jim takes me to the hospital and I don't wait long before I am taken back for pre-op prep, including, when the nurse learns that I still get my period, a pregnancy test. I am not pregnant. I am not disappointed.
as I am waiting for the nurse and jim to come back to my room before surgery, I decide to meditate. after a few minutes, I hear, 'hello. HELLO.' I open my eyes and a nurse is standing in the doorway looking into my room. 'are you meditating?' she asks, and I tell her that I am. 'that's good,' she says, 'keep doing it.' er, OK. thanks for interrupting me to say that.
I am allergic to penicillin, so for my pre-op antibiotic I am given vancomyacin, the heavy artillery. soon after it is administered, my iv site begins itching, then my scalp starts itching LIKE CRAZY. I know this is what happened to me when I reacted to amoxycillin, but the nurses ask whether I'd used a new shampoo that morning. I had--an expensive, wonderful shampoo my daughter sent me for Christmas. but I know this itching is not from shampoo.
still, I don't want to argue because I am afraid that, if I can't tolerate the antibiotic, I can't have surgery. (this is the way my logic works: don't think, just try to power through. do I realize that if I go into anaphylatic shock I probably can't have the surgery anway? or if I die? yes, I realize this, but since I am not in shock yet, I think somehow I can skip that part via sheer will.)
my head is driving me insane, and I feel the itch moving down my neck and back. the nurses and jim don't see anything. the nurses say, 'a reaction usually starts on your chest.' (it does? since when?) my face starts flushing and just then the surgeon comes in. she takes one look at me and says,'she has redman syndrome. look how red she is. stop the vanc and give her 25 of benadryl.'
validated! (and saved from shock.) the vanc is stopped, the benadryl is administered. I kiss jim goodbye and the nurse wheels me down the hall. I remember nothing after that. the benadryl must have knocked me out before the anesthesia.
I wake up in recovery with a nurse over me: 'maryanne, come on, wake up.' I am drifting in and out. finally I am awake and in pain. I ask for meds. 'she's a light weight' I hear one nurse tell another.
'why am I a light weight?' I ask. apparently because it doesn't take much to knock me out. it has taken me over an hour to wake up. I ask when I will go to my room, where jim is waiting. the nurse who is supposed to take me there hasn't shown up. I writhe a bit and the recov-room nurse agrees to give me morphine, although it doesn't seem to do all that much. I tell her it doesn't feel like what I had in emergency and she says,' what you had then was delaudid, much stronger.'
'you had delaudid earlier, when you said your pain level was 7.' I did? I have no memory of this.
another hour passes and my nurse, the one who is to take me up to my room, has still not shown up. she is busy removing stitches elsewhere. (<--hmmm. a title? 'removing stitches elsewhere'...) I whine to the recovery room nurse, can't YOU take me up to my room? she does. my room is a short trip down the hall. not even up.
jim is there. yay. seeing his handsome face is a tonic. I'm starving. I haven't eaten in 24 hours. the nurse forgot to order me dinner. finally, when I get it, dinner is a cup of cold chicken broth and two cups of psychedelically colored jello. jim sticks around for a few hours. we read, watch tv. I feel like I should be holding intelligent conversation but don't have the energy. or, at that point, the intelligence. eventually he leaves and I begin my night of sleeping for an hour, waking for pain meds, sleeping for an hour, getting woken for my vitals, searching for Law and Order, sleeping...etc.
later in the night I ask a nurse assistant 'do y'all have any snacks? I'm starving.' she tells me there are none. a half hour later the 'real' nurse comes in. I ask her the same question. 'all we have is ice cream and graham crackers'. jackpot! I'll take it. I spread vanilla ice cream on the grahams like caviar on crackers. mmmm. later, I have heartburn from the wahzoo to the zoowah, but it was worth it.
to be continued...