Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Surgery 101

After 13 years, I finally decided to have my gall bladder removed.
The little sucker had bothered me long before that, but with the pregnancy of my 5th child 13 years ago it was in full force and giving me alot of pain, which resulted in plans to take it out. I didn't want to risk the pregnancy. It stayed put.
Through the past 11 years I was fine, not one attack just the odd... 'ahhh, I don't feel so great'
In that time I have had added a few notches of "other" surgeries under my belt
Appendectomy: which was unnecessary I might add.
Not that this was a surgery but from the unnecessary appendectomy I ended up with a pulmonary emboli (blood clot) in my lung afterwards which makes me susceptible to blood clots every surgery I have, which makes susceptible to death.... but we are always susceptible to that. The recovery time from the blood clot was about 4 or so months.
And, a Hysterectomy which resulted in a long 4 month recovery as the incision was not healed and was growing on the outside (proud flesh).
I had had previous surgeries but i'm only counting the ones since my last child was born.

4 years ago I started to have the odd attack which would lead me to the hospital to be injected with some sort of great narcotic to help me pass the time and ease the pain a bit. Again it was time to remove the gall bladder but due to my unusual past recoveries I had decided to just hang on to it and honestly I didn't have the time in my life to take off to have a lengthy recovery or blood clots.

This past year I decided to go for it, but after only after certain singing engagements and festivals, so some time in the fall.
They would be doing a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, which is an easier surgery. To remove the gall bladder they would use 4 puncture wounds in the belly as apposed to a 6-8 inch cut on the side.
There was a possibility that they wouldn't be able to use the laparoscope on me due to scarring from my past abdominal surgeries and my body size, but Dr Cunningham would give it a good try! He felt that due to my weight loss and new health routine I was a great candidate for the laparoscope and he also felt my recovery would go along much better than it had done in the past. I was hopeful.

Our family has been in a cancer trauma for the past 4 weeks and I've been the big girl to hold it together. Just before my surgery people would ask me, "are you scared?" "Nope, I'm just fine"
Well Monday morning I woke up in a complete panic! I text a few friends to tell them that I was freaked out and to say a prayer. I shake it off and with my best stoic face I head to the hospital. Once there in my hospital gown and hooked into an I.V. I begin to get weepy. I start to panic and can't decide if I should puke, have diarrhea or just go home as they wheel me into the O.R. holding room. Laying there I heard the nurses talking about an anesthetist who was late, not sure if it was mine as I was in a line up of 5 other patients waiting to be cut open for other reasons.

As I'm being wheeled in she arrives and either she hadn't read the instructions or someone didn't inform her that due to my blood clotting condition I would need a heparin injection before surgery which she was not doing, I'm not paying attention to this either. I'm still in my crazy panic mode (trying to think how to get off the table) and begin to cry. The nurse concerned with my tears asks if this was my first surgery I say no my 5th and explain that I don't want to take 6 weeks plus to recover and I don't want a blood clot. This alerts the anesthetist and she then reads my chart and then runs out to get the medication. She comes back and begins putting in my I.V., and because she's trying to work too quickly the drug is hurting like a hot damn up my entire arm, I'm complaining. She asks is it hurting as she is tapping my hand, (as if that's going to help) while the nurse is putting the mask over my face to knock me out... I'm now angrily saying YES... MAN... GEEEEZZZZE THAT HURTS tap tap tap ALL THE WAY UP MY ARM... GEEEEZZE tap tap AHHHHHH. I'm out.

I wake up with no searing pain across my tummy from a large incision and then what appeared to be the Dr. saying everything went great! I realize it was a great success and that I'm not going to be sick anymore! Every time I open my eyes they end up looking in different directions kinda googly eyes.
The recovery room is rather empty and the recovery nurse and I begin to chat it up. She gets in trouble when it begins to get busy we both roll our eyes as we were having a great conversation. I tell her I wish I could give her a hand! ha! But I'm not quite in the best condtion to help...

An hour later I'm back in day surgery hanging out there and asking for a warm blanket every 15 or so minutes. I wasn't cold but I LOVE those blankets, I am sure I ended with about 5. I knew I should have been sleeping but just couldn't seem to let myself go out. They get me up walk across the room and then they call for my ride.

Once home I rest in-between watching u tube videos with my kids and conversations. My girlfriend arrives in the evening and we chat until about midnight. I wake up at about 3 am and begin talking with her again. I was too excited about the great surgery etc.
The Fella calls out from the other room... "STOP TALKING AND GO TO SLEEP YOU HAD SURGERY TODAY!"

I drifted off for a bit......

Diva M

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