1.03.2012

Surgeries, Hospitals and Vacations

The process actually started on Sunday, December 4th when I woke up at 5am with horrid abdominal pains. Apparently the Dulcolax I took the night before as part of the colon prep decided it didn't like me. I expected it and other fun things to pass within a few hours but it never let up and all I could do with lay on the bathroom floor and whimper. Before long I started throwing up from what we can surmise was the pain. I couldn't even keep the water I was sipping down and was consistently throwing up every 20 to 30 minutes. At that rate, there was no way I could start drinking my Miralax Martini by noon.

Kyle called the wonderful Patient Care Nurse, she in turn called the surgeon, and long story short I was admitted to the hospital in the most miserable state. I, the public toilet germ-a-phobe, had no qualms about hugging the toilet in the lobby of the hospital while Kyle found someone to admit me on a weekend. Did I mention the flannel pajamas? Nothing like walking into the main entrance of a hospital in pajamas!

We were in our room for about an hour before I was finally hooked up to an IV (after multiple attempts by 3 people) and anti-nausea drugs and morphine were administered. No doubt I was seriously dehydrated by that point. It had now been 10 hours with nothing going in, and an IV was just what the doctor order, literally and figuratively. Within minutes I was a new women who could sit up in bed and talk. And within hours I was staring at the Miralax Martini again with the prospects of enjoying it in a hospital room.

When the nurse brought me a bottle of the infamous Gatorade, I cringed and begged for another option. Apple juice was the first thing I could think of and I hate apple juice. It's already sweet and syrupy and I was about to make it a little more syrupy. She prepared my first cup and I sent Kyle on a mission to find something else that was clear from the nearest vending machine.

I really enjoyed that evening and night, despite the prospects of major surgery the next day and the amazing things that were going to be happening in that industrial hospital bathroom all night. I had my faith to give me the peace that God was guiding our situation. I reminded myself that there was cancer in my body at that moment and by the following evening it would be gone. I took a nice long look at my belly button, played with the little ridge that stuck out and told that sucker it wouldn't be missed.

I had cancer in my body. I couldn't help but put my left hand over my sigmoid colon and know that I was centimeters from touch something so deadly that many are afraid to call it by name. That was still such a surreal thought.

I also enjoyed that I was alone and not having to meet the constant needs of two small children. Even when they don't need you, you have to be vigilant and are always on guard. You always sleep with one eye open and that night in the hospital I didn't have to. It was almost like being on vacation, so I started to refer to my stay as such. For the first time in years, I was the only one I had to worry about.

Pre-op looks a little foggy because I was a little foggy. Note to self: whiten teeth.
Morning came bright and early and I was ready to get the ball rolling. My night didn't have any kids in it, but it had plenty of interruptions for vitals, blood work and pre-op instructions. They rolled me down to the pre-op area and it was packed with patients and people like a Monday morning freeway. There were more drugs, more things to sign, more questions to answer and the next thing I remember I woke up in recovery. That's the glorious thing about surgery!

The nurse taking care of me quickly informed me that everything went very well, I still had all my girlie bits and my family was waiting for me up in my room. In no time I was on my way up. I had just been man-handled for hours and yet had the best sleep I'd had in years. In a twisted way, it was great.

When all was said and done, I was happy to keep my bits and pieces. Not that I love having a period, but there is some structural credit that should be given to the uterus as it does hold things in place. I was also mildly attached to it for helping to grow my babies.

Aside from the heavy dose of drugs and the pain pump I had strapped to my waist in a sexy fanny pack, I felt OK. I was OK enough to get out of bed within a few hours and spent the remainder of the day up and moving.

The goals were simple: pain control, get up and moving and get those new and improved bowels working again!

The real ticket out of the hospital, as anyone who's had surgery knows, is passing gas. They want to make sure the bowels are awake and moving before sending you home. And considering mine had been hacked in half, farting was vital to my freedom. This is where I throw all rules of marital bliss to the wind and agree to fart in front of Kyle. It's moments like this that I know he lives for, but I reminded him that just because it would happen in a hospital does not mean the rules of engagement would change once we were home. This was a medical necessity, not an invitation for free reign.

With some pointers from the surgeon's Nurse Practitioner, I tried laying in bed on my left side. She said that was the "natural flow" of the bowels and could often prompt some action. Kyle was actually sitting in a chair to my right, within mere feet of my exit point. He had front row seats to the hottest show in town and yet, when the time came, he was completely let down by my female mystic. It was silent and smelled of roses. Did he expect anything less out of me?

3 minutes later I was headed to the bathroom and experienced complete victory. Everything was in working order. Amazing really, that they can do what they did to my large intestine and it can just pick back up like nothing ever happened.

I would end up spending 5 days in the hospital. The last by request. I had already maxed out my deductible,so why not extend the vacation. I didn't have to cook, I had a cool bed that went up and down, I didn't have to share the remote, I had relative peace and quiet and I had someone bringing me pain meds. It was a great as it sounds.

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