This is the second post of two about my surgery. Part I is here. I’m getting most of my information from Julie since I was pretty drugged up, as you can see in the picture above.
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“How do you feel?” That is probably the first thing I remember hearing as I started to try and come out of the drug-induced stupor that the anesthesiologist had put me in. “It hurts a little bit.” I replied. “Ok, we’ll give you a little more medication for that.”
The next thing I know, I’m in a different room (no kittens this time, I think) and there’s this nurse trying to wake me up. Her name was Tosca. Evidently, another nurse named Anne had brought me to recovery but I don’t remember it. Julie says I thanked her profusely when she left for taking such good care of me. I wish I could remember that.
Tosca instructed Julie and my mom to continue trying to wake me. They were supposed to get me to move my feet back and forth to get the blood flowing to my legs and to take deep breaths since my oxygen levels were low. They were also told to continue offering me ice chips, water, jell-o, and juice. I remember that the apple juice was sickeningly sweet. I kept asking Julie to add more water to it.
We were warned that I might throw up or be very nauseated due to the anesthesia. Shortly after my first few sips of the apple juice, I threw up. I remember that. I lost it a second time after eating some more jell-o and juice. I remember that as well. It was not really a pleasant experience.
Another thing I remember was the beeping of the heart rate monitor alarm. It would go off any time my heart rate would go below 50 beats per minute (BPM), which was frequently. It was consistently dropping down into the 40’s. At one point it reached 41 BPM. Normally they would be worried about someone having their heart rate drop down that low. However, my normal resting heart rate is in the 50’s because I exercise so much, so Tosca wasn’t too worried about my heart rate. What worried them more was my oxygen levels. I was breathing slowly because I was so sleepy, so Tosca decided to put me on oxygen.
Julie, mom, and Tosca continued pestering me to stay awake. I kept saying, “I’m so tired. I just want to sleep.” I would even fall asleep as they were talking to me. It didn’t take long before Tosca realized that I wasn’t going to come out of it anytime soon, so they decided to let me sleep it off. She then chased Julie and mom out of the room, told them to get some food, and turned down the lights to let me sleep.
They let me sleep for a little bit and then they started in on getting me up again. And this time Tosca brought help. Paul came in and put his hands on my ankles and told me to start moving my feet back and forth. It was then that he exclaimed, “Oh, you must be a cyclist.” I looked at him curiously. “You shave,” he said. “Yeah,” I mumbled back. Then both Tosca and Paul got me out of the bed and standing.
I didn’t do too well. So they laid me back in the bed and let me rest some more. Julie and mom returned from getting food and then the serious attempts to get me upright began. I had mastered keeping down food and I was doing ok standing. The other criterion for being released was that I needed to urinate. Because I had been so drugged, the smooth muscles in the bladder were just not woken up enough to let me urinate. But they sure made me try.
It felt like every 5 minutes they were standing me up to try and pee. Julie says it was more like every 20. Needless to say, trying to pee in front of everyone is not the easiest thing in the world. Finally the doctor determined that it would be ok to send me home to complete the task, as long as it was done by 10:00 p.m. If it wasn’t, I would have to go to the emergency room to get a catheter. Remember how much I wanted one of those?
All of the other patients in recovery had been discharged and I was the last one. They were about to close it down for the night when I was finally loaded into a wheelchair and rolled out to the car. The drugs were still pretty heavy in my system, but I remember being cold. That’s because I was just in my pajamas and a blanket. Thankfully my mom had warmed up the car before I got in and they cranked up the heat as we drove home.
Mom and Julie got me in the house and into bed. I took my pain meds and then I slept until the first of three bathroom attempts. It was about 30 minutes before the deadline to have to go to the emergency room when the third and final attempt worked and I was able to urinate. After completing my mission and climbing back in bed, I asked Julie in a weary voice, “Can I just sleep now?” She said yes and I was finally able to finally sleep in peace.
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Thank you for all the prayers and words of comfort. I have greatly appreciated them and they have been a source of unending support. It has been an amazing experience to see the love and care being given by everyone. My journey isn’t finished. In a sense, it’s just beginning. But I’m thankful that God has brought me through this far, and I’m looking forward to His continued guidance and support.