About Me

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I love Jesus. I love my family. I love photography. I love books. I love thinking. Probably in that order. I have a wonderful husband, five beautiful daughters, a house, and a camera. I enjoy spending time talking to my husband, playing with my girls, redecorating my house and shooting things with my camera. In my spare time, I sleep.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My first surgery

So yesterday I had very different plans for the weekend.  I woke up with expectations of totally cleaning my house, laundry, doing some serious grocery shopping, doing some prep work for Jasmine's birthday on Sunday, and then getting cleaned up and going out to dinner at the new Chinese place in town with my hubby (& girls) for our Friday "date night".  This, however, was not to be.

When I got up I had a mild stomachache and just a general yuckiness.  I knew right away that I wasn't gonna be getting much done in way of housework because I just didn't feel up to it.  Russ left for work and I got the girls ready and took Eden & Jasmine to their final day of VBS.  Despite not feeling well I decided to go ahead with my grocery shopping plans since it is so rare to get three free hours with only one child.  I stopped at Russ' work truck for a minute to say 'hi' and see if he wanted me to get him anything for breakfast.  We decided he'd just go ahead & come home for some food in a couple hours.  I went to our local health food store first and got a couple things there we've been needing for sometime and then came home to drop them off since I bought some Coconut Bliss and didn't want it to melt while I was at Walmart.  Acacia & I went there next and normally I would browse a little more since I had the time & freedom to do so but because of how rotten I felt I just got what I needed and left.  As I was loading the groceries into the van my cell phone rang and it was my dad calling to ask if I could pick up some parts for him.  No problem...I went straight there, got his parts and came home.  By the time I made it back to the house at 10:30, I was pretty miserable.  I pulled in the driveway whimpering to myself.  At that moment Laura Story's song 'Blessings' came on the radio.  That really brought on the tears.  It's like I already knew that this was more than just a normal stomachache.  At any rate, I came inside and just tried to get comfortable. But couldn't.

I was pretty sure that what I had was severe gas pain but nothing seemed to bring any comfort.  I asked Russ to come home and he did.  He ended up going and picking up the girls at the church while I sat in the bathroom throwing up water and praying for relief from the pain.  By 1 pm I couldn't take it anymore and told Russ I wanted him to take me to Urgent Care.  I only had to wait for about 15 min but it was the most miserable 15 minutes.  I paced their waiting room with a barf bag and ended up leaving the room to use it once.  I finally got called back by the nurse.  She took my weight, vitals & asked all the usual questions.  The doctor came in and I liked her right away.  She asked all her questions & checked me out and sent in a tech to get my labs.  The tech took two viles of blood and took me to the bathroom for my urine.  Between people I just writhed in the room trying to get comfortable while Russ sat in the van with the girls wondering how I was doing.

When the doctor came back she told me that I wasn't pregnant, that she was confident that I didn't have the flu and that my white count was very elevated and so she was wanting to send me to get a CT scan to find out what was wrong.  She was waiting to confer with a collegue since I didn't have insurance she wanted a second opinion as to whether they thought the CT scan was warranted in my case.  Even though the worst of my pain was on the lower left of my abdomen, it was decided that because of my high white count they wanted to make sure it wasn't my appendix and so got me set up to got to the hospital for a CT scan.  In the meantime they gave me a shot of pain killer in my bottom to give me some relief.

Russ took me to the front entrance of the hospital and dropped me off so he could take the girls home, change a diaper, etc and said to call him when I was finished.  I was checked in and taken to the imaging services lab.
After a short wait I was feeling much, much better as the pain killer they gave me at Urgent Care was doing its thing.  A girl cam out and gave me two bottles of a beverage with contrast that I had to drink for the next hour before the CT scan.  I called Russ and told him what was going on asked him if he could bring my book.  He was kind enough to oblige and I was pleased that I got to read my novel rather than having to watch Dr. Oz or read Prevention magazine for the next hour & a half.   The contrast was supposedly Kiwi Strawberry flavored and while the first few sips were quite tolerable, by the time I got to the second bottle the stuff was just nasty!

When I was almost finished drinking the stuff a young lady came and got me and said that since the lab was running slightly behind she was gonna try to help them out by getting my IV set up.  After two painful tries to get one started in my left arm, she gave up and said that she wasn't much help after all.  I went back to reading my book and before too long CT tech came and got me.  He was super friendly and put me right at ease.  He got me in the scanner, got the IV in my right arm on the first try, and explained the procedure in detail.  The IV delivered a second contrast into my blood stream so they would be able to see those systems as well.  Having that go through my system was such an odd feeling.  It caused a strange sensation in the back of my throat and then a warm sensation that felt like I wet myself but didn't.  Luckily the tech had warned me of these common sensations so I was prepared.  What I wasn't prepared for going through the scan was how dizzy I would get.  I didn't enjoy that at all.  The test was quick and I was quickly sent back out.  The tech left my IV in 'just in case' I'd need it later since I was 'such a tough stick'.  He said that the radiologist should read my scan sometime in the next half hour and give the results to the Urgent Care doctor and that someone should let me know what they find out soon.  I called Russ again and updated him on the progress.  About 20 minutes later the tech was back and told me he had the doctor on the phone and she wanted to talk to me.  Up until this point I was still fairly confident that is was probably no big deal so I was quite disappointed when I heard her say, "You have appendicitis."  In that moment, several waves of thought went through me.  I was scared, I was glad that I went in so early and that I had the CT scan in spite of the cost, and I was just kind of surprised.   For a split second I thought I might cry but I didn't.  I just said, "okay, okay, okay" to everything she & the tech told me.  I was taken upstairs and was told the surgeon would be in to talk to me soon.

By this time it was after 5 o'clock.  I called Russ again, told him what was going on and that I wanted him to find someone to watch the kids so he could come up with me.  He got our neighbor to come over for awhile and he called my parents to tell them what was going on and to have them come up to watch the girls for the night.  The surgeon came and was a petite woman with a tiny voice.  She said that she would be doing a laparoscopic appendectomy and explained what that was.  She said I would be going into surgery about 7 o'clock.  I asked her about being put under and was told that I would be completely under but that I would be taken out of it as soon as the procedure was finished.  I asked her how long the surgery would take and she told me that her fastest time was 6 min but that it could take up to an hour.   Russ got to me shortly after the surgeon left.  We sat & talked for awhile.  I was good to have him there to talk to cause my nerves were starting to kick in a little although I think I was pretty calm on the exterior. 

After that I was asked to change into the hospital gown, was put in a bed and wheeled into pre-op.  Russ was given a pager and he headed home.  My nurse in pr-op was cool.  She hooked me up to some monitors, explained a few things to me and tried to put me at ease.  There was no bathroom up there so I experienced the use of a bed pan for the first time ever.  The anesthesiologist came and talked to me.  I was shivering pretty bad and he got the over all impression that I was nervous and had the nurse give me something to help me relax.  My bladder was so full (even after the bed pan) that I was concerned that I would wet myself but the nurse reassured me that I wouldn't and told me that once I was under they would catheterize me.  I found that strangely comforting.   The worst part for me was that wait between being given the relax meds and being wheeled into the operating room.  I just was super uncomfortable between feeling kind of tired & out-of-it but still being aware and having a very full bladder.  Plus--I was about to go to surgery where someone was gonna stick strange tools inside my body, unattach an organ & remove it from my body.  Not the most relaxing thought.  I remember thinking as they wheeled me down the hall for surgery was that the worst that could happen is that something could go wrong and I'd wake up in heaven.

Having an operation is such a ethereal experience.  They give you drugs, wheel you to a strange room, you are aware of what is going on and what is about to happen but yet within seconds you are dead to the world and all the magic happens without any awareness at all.  Then you wake up and everything is blurry & strange but yet you still sort of know what is going on.  When I woke up in post op, I was so groggy.  I remember several nurses but I couldn't really tell you what they looked like because I couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to really see them...but was listening.  I remember hearing one of the nurses explaining what an incredibly healthy patient I was.  She commented on how little paperwork there was on me and how I was 31 and had never had any surgeries before, etc.    I have no idea how long I was in post-op but it seemed to me to be extremely short.

I was taken down to room 242 and Russ, my parents & my girls were waiting down there in the hall.  It was so good to see them but I really had to make an effort to keep my eyes open to look at them because I was still really droopy at that point.  My mom told me they were gonna take the girls home with them but they just wanted to see me before they left.  The nurse told me my dad was there too but I never actually saw him.  They left and I was settled into my room.  My RN's name was Rachel.  I loved Rachel, she was the sweetest nurse ever.  I had her all night.  She brought me a grape popsicle which was all I had had to eat the entire day. After a quick trip home, Russ was given a cot to sleep on and we tried to settle in a little.

I wasn't really in much pain but I couldn't move around much.  Although, the IV gave me way more trouble than my incisions.  I actually got quite a bit of sleep.  I woke up at about 3:30 to go to the bathroom and then I got up just before 6 so that I could have Rachel help me one more time before that staff change.  This morning was much more of a blur.  I began to have a lot more pain around my incisions and in weird places like my shoulder (which the nurse said was probably from the surgery anesthetic.)  I finally got to eat some real food.  I ordered eggs, bacon & toast for breakfast and turkey, stuffing & salad for lunch but I really wasn't able to eat much of it.     The surgeon came in about 7 to talk to me.  I am suppose to go see her in a couple weeks, I guess.  She gave the orders that I was to be released from the hospital after lunch so we spent most of our morning sitting around flipping through the channels on the tv although we both got decent naps in mid-morning.  I got to shower which was awesome.  I was so stinky & gross.  It felt so good to be washed!
Not too long after lunch the nurse came in and gave me my check-out instructions & papers and we packed up and came home.  We got here about 1 o'clock...almost exactly 24 hours after I left the house, I was home again minus one appendix.  :)

My parents still have my girls.  I took a nice long nap this afternoon and I am currently documenting my experience for posterity.  I am certainly sore but I am glad that things went as well as they did.  Things could have been a lot worse.  As it is, it was just a routine appendectomy and I am on the road to recovery in the comfort of my home.


Here are a few photos from the experience:

In my bed this morning.


The stupid IV that gave me so much trouble!  The nurse finally took it out this morning when I couldn't feed myself since I couldn't bend my right arm.

 Me after my wonderful, glorious shower!

Last night's IV drip.

The three small incisions.  The one on the left is the one she pulled  my appendix through.

5 comments:

Karalyn said...

Wow, thanks for sharing that. So glad you are home now and recovering. :)

Philip Bologa said...

humanity... and solidarity !!!

Anita Johnson said...

Oh my goodness, not what I expected to see this morning! Glad you are OK and starting the recovery process. Take it slow! My son had the same thing happen a few years back...in his case the quick recovery after surgery was prompted by drivers ed. He was back in the classroom, day 4. Don't do that!

Sandi said...

OMG, I am so glad you were not in Grand Junction, CO taking wedding pictures on Saturday, June 11! Isn't it awesome how God worked out those details months ago???

online shopping said...

surgery...it is very painful....
because i know that there are so many stitches could be come