Thanks, Barry, for that song.. otherwise I’d have had to come up with a title all on my own, and I’m not down for that.
OK, so here’s what happened in a very small nutshell — meaning, I’m not going to go into gory details, because I specifically asked not to KNOW any of the gory details. Emotionally and mentally, I was more than a bit of a wreck when I came out of this surgery, and the least little thing spun me into an anxiety attack.
Annnyway. My mom and I arrived at the hospital right around 5:30 am on Friday morning. I knew I was going to be going into the operating room at 7:30, or thereabouts. I was feeling nervous, but not anxious or panicky. Mom came into the “getting ready” room with me, where I started to get stuff hooked up to me and whatnot. Then the magic hour arrived, and they had to wheel me in the gurney to the Holding Room. This is where I started to freak out. Not “strap the girl down!” freak out.. but I could feel the tears coming and I wasn’t able to stop them. The holding room had a lot of people in it, lots of bays with lots of other patients. Doctors and nurses began to hook IVs into me, gave me a sedative because they saw the tears and the panicky Rachel face. And then someone put a mask over my face and said, “You’re not claustrophobic, are you?” I breathed in, and don’t remember anything else until I opened my eyes around 5:30 am. Saturday morning. Yes, that’s right.. nearly 24 hours later.
I woke up with a tube down my throat, and panic in my heart. I had to quickly figure out how to be calm, how to breath through my nose, all at once. My arms were restrained, and this is because (according to my mom) when they finally let her see me at 10:30 pm (she hadn’t seen me since 7:30 am that morning), I had the tube in, and I was freaking out, and they had to restrain me. She said they asked me questions, and I was responding.. I have no memory of any of this. The next hours involved me just trying to breath through the panic attacks, and being moved around a lot in the bed in CCU. When my mom was finally allowed to come and visit, it was 8:30 am, and I can’t even express how grateful I was to see her. What a welcome sight she was. I remember crying a lot.
After that, the breathing treatments, constant blood pressure checks, all the stuff that goes into making sure I don’t die of pneumonia or a blood clot after having been intubated and unconscious and unmoving for hours upon hours. The sooner I started improving, the sooner I could get sent to my own room, and out of the CCU, and just that much closer to getting home. Walking was.. very very difficult. I couldn’t feel my legs, had no faith in my ability to control them.. and being a large woman, made life for the nurses, interns, passing doctors, whathaveyou.. very difficult when moving me from bed to chair, and then chair to bed that was taking me to my own room. The CCU nurse Beth was great.. very stern, but encouraging. She knew I could do what I was sure I couldn’t. A lot of it was just telling myself that I could stand, I could be upright, and the world would not end. It was just difficult getting myself to the point where I really began to believe that.
The next 24 hours were mainly me standing and sitting, walking with the help of a wheelchair in front of me. And being in bed. Everything was (and mostly still is) sore. What I’d lost was one tumor, 2 ovaries, and 1 uterus. What I’d gained was approximately (I haven’t had the courage yet to really count them) 9-11 laproscopic inciscion points, stapled shut and covered with nothing more than giant bandaids. And one really big incision from where they had to get my uterus out (apparently it was twice as large as what they thought it was). And nerve damage in my legs. And blisters all over my shoulders. And bruises all over my right arm. And all of this made up for a very whiney me.
After I proved I could walk mostly on my own, and that my lungs were good, and my oxygen was all in my blood where it was supposed to be, then I could go home. Which I did on Sunday afternoon. This week is going to be a lot more walking, getting myself ready for going back to work. Maybe I’ll write more about the experience in greater detail. I know I glossed over a lot of stuff, but.. my arms are killing me, so no more writing.
So, that’s what I did this weekend. How was YOUR weekend?