Monday, June 16, 2008

Alive and kicking!

Well, I survived! I made it through the surgery with great success! Although, according to the Plastic Surgeon (PS), I'm still swollen, I can tell a BIG difference. Without looking at the pictures, it's almost hard to remember what I looked and felt like before! Granted, I'm still fat, but I feel like I look much thinner already!

My surgery was on Friday, May 23rd and I had to be at the hospital to check in by 6:00 AM. The mix of emotions I was feeling is nearly indescribable. I was scared, tired (from too little sleep the nights before), anxious and very excited to see the results. Mostly I just wanted to make it throught the surgery without any complications. As I get older, my mortality becomes increasingly real to me. I even went so far as to make sure all of my affairs were in order via a will and a sealed envelope containing a list of my assets and liabilities as well as passwords for accessing them. I think that freaked Mom out a bit since she wouldn't even take it to the hospital with us.

Mom and I arrived at the hospital on time and, after being wisked through Admitting, Mom was ushered into a large visitor waiting room equipped with lockers and a long line of vending machines. I was then taken into a presurgery area where I asked to shed my clothes and any of my remaining dignity. They poked and prodded me checking for all of my vitals and questioned me about my health and past procedures as a line of doctors and nurses came by to introduce themselves. As each one told me their name and explained that they would be helping with the procedure, I tried NOT to imagine the way that they would shortly see me with not a stitch of clothing on and with my body fileted open before them. If I had thought about that for a second I wouldn't have been able to look them in the eye.

I was wheeled down to the surgery wing by a very sweet girl who tried to reassure me as my eyes began to well up. I fought back tears of fright and a bit of nausea as I quickly passed under the array of ceiling lights above my gurney. The operating room was a shock of bright lights and frigid temperatures. The last thing I remember before going under was the anesthesiologist asking me if I had any last minute questions. My only thought was that it was probably an inopportune time to tell them that I needed to pee. He assured me that they would take care of that because 6 hours is a long time to hold it. LOL

The next thing I sort of remember is being in the recovery room. There was a cacaphony of beeping and sometimes even yelling from other patients. Several times a nurse would introduce herself and explain they were going to poke or prod me. I would only respond with a grunt and then slip slowly back into a sort of sleep state. I had been in surgery for nearly 6 1/2 hours and the longer you are under anesthesia, the longer it takes to come out of it.

By 6 PM, I was being rolled out of the recovery room and taken to my regular hospital room. I'm not sure who is assigned the task of transporting patients such as myself or what their qualifications are, but I think they need some sensitivity training. I think they must do it so often that the person lying on the gurney is simply a lump. First, they took me to the wrong floor. That wouldn't have been so bad except that the elevator and the floor outside of the elevator didn't quite line up and caused a LOT of jostling upon exiting. I had to experience this excruciating pain TWICE because they couldn't read a piece of paper! They then ran into a wall or desk or something wheeling me down the hallway. It was not my best ride ever.

When I arrived at the room, I was greeted by my mom and the student pastor from church. It was great to see them. After a few snippy words with the nurse for not covering me up appropriately while guests were there, I was able to visit with them for a bit.

I stayed in the hospital until Sunday afternoon and spent much of that time in and out of consciousness because of the morphine I was allowed to administer to myself. I could have given myself 4 doses an hour for about 2 days, but I only used 20 doses over that period. Most of that was because a local anesthetic had been inserted into my breasts to mitigate most of the pain and because I wanted to be able to stay awake for some of the time. Any time I pushed that little morphine button, I was out within 5 minutes. That's great if it's 3:00 AM, but at 3 PM when I want to talk it's not so great.

Mom was really great and stayed by my bedside most of the time. The only exception was on Friday evening when I practically forced her to go get herself a proper dinner. We had packed some fruit and snacks, but I knew she hadn't gotten herself a real lunch and it was now 7 PM. After bodily threats (which I could NOT have carried out) she succombed to the pressure and got herself a salad. I also made her go and get some decent sleep. Troy had offered his house, which was right near the hospital and she had slept on a chair the night before, so I think she was almost relieved when I suggested she go shower and sleep in a real bed for a while on Saturday.

The PS visited me on Saturday and again on Sunday when he sent me home. I was thrilled to be out of bed and to see the light of day again. After a brief stop at the pharmacy to pick up some meds, I went home and crashed on the couch in my living room. I practically lived there for the next week. I would wake up, eat just enough so that I could take my meds, then fall back to sleep. I would only wake up again when it was time to repeat the whole process.

I had three weeks off of work to recover, which was great. I spent much of it napping and watching movies from Netflix. I even read a few books! I'm back to work now on a bit of a modified schedule. I'm afraid of overdoing it, which I'm prone to do, so I'm working 3/4 days for this week.

Overall, I'm absolutely thrilled with the results. The PS says I'm still a bit swollen, which is hard for me to believe. I went from a DDD (I think - I never got properly measured) to a C. Perfection! They took 5 1/2 pounds off total and I don't miss one ounce of it a bit!

If anyone has questions or comments, please feel free to share them with me. I know it's probably a taboo subject, but for anyone who is considering it, I think knowledge is power and I am more than willing to share my experiences.

Also, SOOO many thanks to everyone who called, emailed, sent flowers or visited me at the hospital. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated more than you can imagine.


Jill said...

WOW! From the pictures, the work looks amazing! I'm so glad everything went all right and that you're healing well.

Your hospital story reminded me of when I had surgery a few years ago. When I was in pre-op, they gave me the first round of anesthesia, and before they wheeled me into the OR, they took my glasses. The nurse said, "You can't see me now, can you?" and when I said I couldn't, he just laughed. Way to make me feel better!

kieron said...

I'm so glad you are alive!


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