Ellen Million (ellenmillion) wrote,
Ellen Million

My Trip to the Hospital

They printed 42 patient labels for me when I checked in for pre-op. These got stuck to paperwork, my wrist-band, my medicine, my photos - anything related to me got stickered. They offered me vallium; I declined it, because I was... sort of having fun, and feeling excited about the procedure. I'm glad I did, because I met everyone. The two anesthetic experts, Frank and Frank, were very funny and entertaining, Amanda, an operating room assistant, Nicole, who, it turns out I taught in Science Camp fifteen years ago. "I'm not much taller than I was when I was seven," she laughed.

("You're rather tall" was something of a theme for the visit. I'm slight, and my torso is short, so I look very average when sitting or lying in bed, but when I stood up, I got several surprised comments. I'm not that tall, it's just surprising.)

I talked to Dr Lieberman, and got my IV put in and strapped to my hand with medical tape.

Then, I got to go through the 'Absolutely No Admittance' doors, which was very cool indeed.

Going under was very smooth - a shot that made me feel floaty, then a few deep breaths and I was waking up in recovery.

There was a poor little girl in there with me, who was sobbingly convinced to tell her nurses her name was Sophia. She desperately wanted her mother, and her arm hurt, and if it weren't for her near-constant shrieking, I would have liked to have gone back to sleep.

My hospital room was much quieter and very nice - they weren't crowded, so I got the two-person room to myself. I said hello to Jake, expressed my delight with the pain medication, and sent him off so I could take a nap. My mother called, a few moments into the nap. I stared at the wailing, blinking phone for a moment before figuring out how to pick it up and say something to her, then I could go back to sleep for a while.

Dayna and Cleva were my first nurses, and explained the symptoms I was likely to experience. Dayna got me up to wheel my IV tree to the bathroom with me. Who knew that peeing took so much coordination? I managed, but decided to recuperate before attempting to take a lap of the hospital halls to get the bloodflow and innards going.

My sister visited after our laps, with nephews in tow, and we exchanged conversation about how well the operation went (very standard, by reports).

They tried me with some solid foods, Jake came back, and there were more slow laps of the hospital halls.

My overnight nurse was Adam, who did a double-take when he saw me, because we'd gone through gradeschool, middle school and high school together. (He didn't recognize my married name) He got to meet Jake, and it wasn't at all awkward, just very friendly and professional. Everyone was pleased with all my vitals - my oxygen levels were always at 99%-100%, blood pressure was good except when the pain meds were wearing off, I could eat, no nausea, lots of good stuff. I decided to sleep through my 1 AM pain meds, because I was more tired than in pain. That was my first mistake.

I had to buzz to get them a few hours later, and even accepted extra fentinol via IV to take the edge off - it's funny exactly how much getting an organ yanked out of your belly button HURTS, and when you're on the schedule of medication, you don't really realize until they run out. I woke up in agony.

Meds got me back to sleep, and morning was better. I was taking the pain drugs orally, still no nausea, I could do a few laps of the hospital halls by myself, and even get myself in and out of bed to the bathroom. They practically gave me a gold star for having farted, which is a good sign that bowels are moving again.

The surgeon's assistant, Jo, came by to discharge me, and gave me PICTURES!

This it the gallbladder inside of me. The yellowy, icky strings are fatty adhesions, a potential indication of gallbladder disease.

They also found these on my colon (this is my COLON, isn't it cool?). It's not worrisome, but while they were in there anyway, they went ahead and cut them off.

Here's the offending organ, after being lassoed and pulled out of a hole near my bellybutton.

And here it is all opened up - there were some little stones, and the fluid is supposed to be much more fluidy than it is here. Definitely a sad, broken little organ that needed badly to be vacuumed out of me.

Happily, I can already eat more fat than I could last week - several triscuits would have had me reeling on Thursday, and now I can have a handful of them with no side affects. I'm not quite ready to try bacon.

I'm not healing as fast as I'd like, and I've had some trouble managing my pain medications. I keep thinking I need less, or can sleep through doses, because I am tough and strong and healthy, and I really can't. I tried, Saturday night, and it caused brutal nausea and vomiting. I thought it was the pain drugs causing the nausea, but it was the un-padded pain that was really doing that, and after a few documented experiments between Saturday and Sunday, we figured out that a) I needed the full, maximum dose of both drugs and b) I take the drugs, then eat the food.

Vomiting with 36 hour old abdominal incisions? Not fun. Really, really, REALLY not fun. And dry heaves? Even. Worse. Though it's still not quite as bad as vomiting with fractured vertebrae when they won't give you any pain medication because you also have a concussion. It's useful having benchmarks like that.

Following the medicine schedule works like a charm, and aside from that painful setback, I've been improving pretty steadily, if not up to my standards of Must Do Everything Now. Clarity of thought is beginning to return, and I've stepped back from Percoset to Vicodin, which is less floaty. I still don't plan to drive anywhere soon, and am avoiding thinky things and bendy things and lifty things or anything more strenuous than propelling myself slowly around the house and eating. I've been watching a lot of Netflix streaming, and I think I may like Angel better than Buffy. (I always found the character of Buffy a little emo, and the character of Cordelia is far more entertaining...)

Much love to everyone for all the wonderful comments, healthy thoughts and well-wishes. I'm going to be rather slower getting back on my feet than I was hoping and expecting, but I'm doing my best to be okay with this.

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