Surgery, Storms and Sleep (or the lack thereof!)

Good morning everyone! 

I had what I guess counts as major surgery on Tuesday and I have to admit, since I’d never had any surgery or general anesthesia before, I was a little scared. 

I shouldn’t have been though.  It wasn’t too very long after I was led back to pre-op that I was given a shot of something called “Versed” which basically put me to sleep until about 20 minutes before surgery.  It really was amazing how quickly the entire pre-op room got quiet (there were maybe eight of us in curtained off little sections) as soon as each of us got our shots.   

I woke up about 20 minutes before surgery, in time to remember being wheeled on the gurney from the pre-op room and telling the man who was wheeling me into surgery that I had never seen the world from that perspective before. 

I also remember looking at the machine in the corner of the operating room that was going to help do the laparoscopic surgery robotically and telling two of the OR nurses that the machine looked like an octopus.  If I had known whether they had seen Spiderman II, I could have been more precise and told them that it looked like the arms to Dr. Ock, but I wasn’t certain they would know.  (My doctor told me later that I was right; the machine did look like an octopus!) 

As one of the nurses was working to get my feet positioned correctly, the anesthetist told me she was going to give me a shot of pure oxygen for a few seconds, so I dutifully breathed in and out, and then she gave me another mask and said that whatever I was breathing next would make me sleepy.  I remember breathing into the second mask for maybe a second.  The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room, and asking the recovery room nurse if I was being polite. 

She half laughed (I suspect if you are a nurse in a recovery room, you must sign some kind of non-disclosure agreement, since there’s no telling what comes out of the mouths of recovering patients), and asked if normally I wasn’t polite.  I tried to explain to her that I was actually very polite normally, but I wanted to be sure I was still being polite since I wasn’t exactly my normal self.  What came out was a croaked “important to be polite.”  She agreed with me that it was.

After that, I decided to stop trying to make conversation for a while until the young man came in who was going to wheel me up to my room.  (His name was Justin.)  I was a little more awake then, I think, because I can remember chatting with him about how long had he been working at the hospital and did he like it and such until the gurney reached the surgery waiting room where my husband and mom joined me as we went up to the room.  I chatted up a good number of other hospital employees while I was under the influence of whatever they had given me, but I did enjoy learning about them.  

For example, Carolyn, who took my vital signs during the day, has a daughter who is getting her master’s in social work.  Carolyn works three 12 hour shifts during the week and is off for the rest of the week which is important to her because she wants to take part in her church activities on Sunday.  She worked from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and her third trip to my room at 7:15 was her last act before leaving for the day.  My night nurse, Anna, has an 11 year old son, and knew all about the five second rule, which we discussed when I dropped one of my tablets onto the bed covers.  


Mom left about 2 on Tuesday, soon after I was in the room, to go walk the dogs and pick up Kayla from school, take her to dinner and then bring her by for a minute.  (I was in a hospital about 45 minutes from the house.)  I think Kayla was both a little scared and a little relieved to be at the hospital.  She had made me a get well card, which of course I saved, and had to know exactly what each and every tube coming out of me, or every sticker on me, was and she wanted to see my incisions. 

The funniest one to explain was the catheter; Mark handled that with her outside the room, but then she came in and looked at me and said, “So you really have your own port-o-potty with you?”  As usual, she had all of us laughing.  I told her I wouldn’t have one for long, though, and thank goodness I didn’t!

While I was … uhhh.. shall we say under the influence of whatever I was under the influence of, my body really hadn’t noticed that anything was done to it.  It wasn’t too long before I felt able to stand and walk a little bit (about 8 hours after surgery Mark, a nurse and I were strolling the halls for about two laps at 9:00 p.m.) and I was dressed and ready to leave for the house by 7 the next day. 

However, I have noticed in my clients at work and in family members, a curious fact about surgery – the pain, for some reason, is at its worst on the third day after surgery.  I am not sure whether or not Thursday, yesterday, was the third day or not. 

The surgery was Tuesday, so is the third day Thursday, as in Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, or is it Friday, as in I shouldn’t count Tuesday and then go Wednesday-Thursday-Friday?  I’m pretty sure only I could make something so simple so complicated.

I do know that yesterday was the day on which my body suddenly realized that something had gone on inside it that it didn’t really appreciate.  In revenge, it produced pain, which I controlled with medication, mostly Tylenol at least until night-time, and kept trying to get me take naps.  (I have to admit, I didn’t fight the nap thing too hard, at least until I had the dream about adopting 9 children from a children’s home that was about to lose funding for those 9 spots!)  My brain, in sympathy with the rest of my body, refused to cooperate on clear thinking, either.  I had to keep searching for words that I couldn’t quite remember.   For a writer, that is not fun!

Mark spent the night at the hospital with me, in a recliner, so he had the pleasure of being woken up about every hour and a half for something just like I was, but the nurses were very nice and just trying to do their job.  Both he and I appreciated how attentive and kind all of the staff at the hospital was. 

I think my Mom got the worst of the deal that evening, since she and a still semi-scared 9-year-0ld girl went home Tuesday night to three dogs who absolutely refused to believe that neither Mark nor I would be home that night.  I don’t know what time they all got to sleep but Tyra apparently slept by the front door for a long time, convinced we would come in at any moment, and Darwin and Mandy were certain Mom was hiding Mark and I in our bedroom. 

I do know when they woke up for the first time on Wednesday – at 4:20 a.m., when an unexpected thunderstorm came through.  All 90 pounds of Darwin sailed onto Mom’s bed, waking her up, with another 55 pounds of Mandy approaching from the side, and Kayla coming out of her room, all of them announcing that the thunder had begun!  Mom said it was the funniest thing to have Darwin’s huge Great Dane frame with his lab face staring anxiously down at her as she woke up.

Darwin, the look-out

Have a great day everyone!


19 responses to “Surgery, Storms and Sleep (or the lack thereof!)

  1. bigsheepcommunications

    Nancy, I hope your recovery goes quickly. In the meantime, I hope you’re letting everyone spoil you.

    BTW, not everyone is polite under anesthesia. Someone I know recently went under anesthesia to get a cortisone shot for sciatica and as she was coming to, she yelled “my f’ing leg still hurts!” She doesn’t remember.

    • You see; there was a reason I asked! I didn’t want to be rude…although, to be fair, if I had sciatica and had just undergone a cortisone shot and was still hurting, I might not be as polite as I normally am, either. Thanks Lisa!

  2. Well written. Wish you a good recovery.

  3. Will be praying for a quick recovery. Feel better.

  4. Sleep like your body is telling you.. sleep!.. c

  5. So glad you are feeling well! We all missed you this week!great to hear you’ve kept your sense of humor through all this!

  6. I wish you a speedy recovery!

  7. Wishing you a speedy recovery Nancy. Big hug and many get well kisses.

    • Thanks Nurse Bassa! You will be happy to know that my three nurses, Tyra, Mandy and Darwin, are also taking excellent care of me, with a little help from my husband, my mom and MY little person, Kayla. I expect they took lessons from you!

  8. I hope you recover quickly!! I love that you were worried about being polite. Very sweet.

    • It might have been sweet, or there may be a diagnosis for it, I’m not sure which! Either way, thank you for your recovery wishes. Let us know how the writing every day for a week goes.

  9. Maryann (JAustenwannabe)

    Hi Nancy, Please take it easy for a while, don’t push your luck. Very glad that you feel better enough to write an well written blog entry. Now, relax! 🙂

  10. I hope your recovery is speedy and goes well. Surgeries are tough!

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