web analytics

Plastic Surgery Part 3 – Post Op

So, this is where things get a bit interesting.  I start waking up, and I think, how nice is this?  The lights are dimmed, it’s very peaceful and relaxing in here.  A nurse comes over and asks if I feel okay – ummm, I feel perfectly fine for someone who has obviously just been hit by an Amtrak Acela train trying to make up a time delay.

I am off and on closing my eyes, and when I finally start to get my wits about me, I realize we have no “real” power.  We’ve had an enormous storm, and power has been cut to the hospital.  The real me, that lies somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain feels a second of panic, and I wonder if I’ve actually been operated on, or if we have to come back and do this all over again tomorrow.  Then the drugged out, barely out of anesthesia part of my brain starts singing “Don’t Worry Be Happy”, and all is right with the world.

I hear them say something about having to move all of us from recovery to regular rooms, where there is apparently better access to electricity, and within minutes, I am being moved.  I think.  I remember being told I was moving, and I remember being in the room.  Nothing else is in the “in between” part.

The first thing I want you to know is I am in pain.  As soon as I am aware, there is pain.  The nurses make sure I know where my morphine button is, but I am hesitant to use it, as I want to be able to get up, move around, and get the hell outta here.  It’s a hospital, after all!

I have compression boots on my feet, I am catheterized, and still on an IV when they come later that evening to walk me around.  I can’t even begin to tell you how bad the pain is when they try to sit me up.  Everything below my neck feels like it’s on fire.  They seem to be trying to sit me up in such a way that the agony is overwhelming, and I am crying.  I’ve never done that after a surgery before.  Seriously.

I think the better thing would have been to up the back of the bed as straight up as it could go, and lower the leg part as low as it could go, then try to turn on my butt to get out, but they wanted to pull me to an upright position, and have me hold onto them as I pulled myself out of the bed.  All I could think is that they have obviously replace the nurses with candy stripers who have no idea what I’ve just been through.  That or Nazis.  I knew I should have bought the cross with the whole Jesus on it – it would have stood out more.

After they walk me from my bed to the sink in the bathroom – we’re talking maybe 10 feet – they let me go back to my bed.  They are cheering and congratulating me as if I’ve just completed the Iron Man competition – bless their hearts.  The first thing they do is give me my morphine button and a pep talk on USING the damn thing.  Why thank you, I think I shall!

There is no food from room service this evening, because the lack of power has eliminated their ability to prepare food.  I feel terrible for Jim, who is here with me with no car, but he manages to find a vending machine running on an emergency generator somewhere.  Food at this moment to me sounds like certain death, so I pass.

It’s a fitful night sleeping for me, but the nurses really do give me some space and time to shut my eyes a bit.  Vitals are taken, catheter is removed, and I am one step closer to heading out the door!

Plastic Surgery Part 2 – The Part Where I Show Up!

I want to apologize for my lack of photographic evidence of my procedure.  I neglected to take pre-op photos, but I will be begging Dr. Veitia to share the ones he took so I can share them with you guys at some point.

Me Before Surgery
Me Before Surgery

This process could not have been smoother.  Once we got the approval from my insurance company on the portion they were going to cover, I paid everyone else over the phone with my debit card.  A little more than a week prior to surgery, a nurse from Paoli Hospital called with my instructions.  She was absolutely awesome! She advised me that with the recent renovations at the hospital, the rooms were all private, and Jim was welcome to stay overnight with me.  There was room service, instead of just the regular hospital meal delivery, and she said the hospital itself was bright and lovely.  I told her I might be willing to cancel my summer vacation and just spend it there with them if things were THAT good, and she said I was welcome to do so, as long as she could take my vacation.  She was really a nice person to talk to – very reassuring, extremely informative, and tremendously helpful.

I got a call the afternoon prior to surgery telling me to arrive no later than 6 AM.  Russell was going to be taking us to the hospital, so in case the weather was bad, as it was predicted to be, I’d have a way to get home if Jim couldn’t drive.  He dropped us at the front door to the hospital at just about 5:45, and we were in the first group of people to go back to the pre-op prep area (I don’t know what the official name for this area is, but that works for me).

Kim was my nurse, and she was awesome.  She rolled her eyes appropriately at Jim’s bad jokes, and managed to get my IV started on the first try – which in my world is some sort of record (it took 8 tries when I had Granuaile).  She happily informed me that I was not pregnant – thank you, menopause – and was blessedly helpful with everything else.

The nurse who worked with the anesthesiologist – AMAZING.  Calm, friendly, nurturing.  Loved her, and wish I could remember her name.  Her surgical cap was WAY better than mine, too, so I totally could have gone into the OR with a serious case of cap envy, but she was just so nice, I couldn’t get my jealous on.

Dr. Veitia – does the man ever have a day where he isn’t smiling?? – came in to do my marking.  I stood up, oh so thrilled yet again to be naked in front of an audience, while he drew smiley faces, hearts, and daisies all over my flabby ass self.  Okay, they may have been more technical markings than smiley faces, but it helped put my focus in a happier place to think of the OR team taking off my clothes to see a big old smiley face drawn on me!

I recall being wheeled out of this area, kissing Jim, and then honestly, virtually nothing else until I woke up in recovery.  I have no recollection of anything in the OR – which I’m happy for, I think.  I hope I wasn’t too much of a pain in the butt, but I am so grateful that no one afterwards told me that I was.