Monday, May 26, 2008

Two Surgeries and a Long Ass Recovery Period: Part Two

Hello again. Thanks for checking up on me. I don't know why I haven't written ... I guess I've been avoiding finishing the story because it was pretty scary for me. Not the first surgery ... that was fine. It was the emergency complication that scared the shit out of me and made me doubt my desire to ever be pregnant again. Anyways, let's continue ...

Part One

8:30 / 8:45 - ish. Time for surgery. It's so odd being carted off to surgery at this hour! I've had a few surgeries, and even the most urgent ones gave me at least a day or two notice, and were always in the morning. In and out by the afternoon. But not this time! Alex went back with me, and said good-bye as I was carted into the pre-op room. They moved me to the (very) chilly operating room, scooted me to the operating table, and put me to sleep. The cut me open with a cessearean-like slash, and remove my ruptured tube. They also "check" my right side to ensure I still had one useable fallopian tube.

9:00 / 9:15 - ish. I wake up in the post op room. Pain is the first thing I feel, followed by cold, and finally nausea. I was surprised by how much pain I was in. The nurses kept shooting me up with painkillers, to not much avail. I was put on a morphine drip and carted back to my room, to be greeted by my husband and my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law chatised me for not going to the emergency room sooner (hello -- I was the only one who seemed concerned by the pain! "Your son" did nothing, even when he saw my lying in bed crying from the pain) ... that's what I wanted to say, but what I said was ... nothing, at all. She left. Good.

Night #1. Between the nurse coming in every hour, the automatic blood pressure machine squeezing my arm off, and my stupid IV machine going beserk every other hour, I slept about 35 minutes the entire night -- and that was in 2-5 minute increments. By the am, I was 100% stressed out and irritable from no sleep. To further agrivate things, I found out they put me in the maternity ward! I got to listen to the newborns and recall how I was no longer pregnant. So ... thoughtful of them. Especially when the cleaning lady came in, and asked me how far along I was. Blah.

8:00 am. The breakfast I ordered came in. I took two bites and felt overwhelmingly sick. I didn't vomit, but it sure was hard not to. I quit eating. The nurse comes in and removes the cathader.

10:00 am. Time for me to get up for the first time. I was optimistic -- I'm not easily deterred, and even after giving birth (naturally), I was up and moving as soon as allowed. So I expected pain, quite a bit, but I also expected to be fine. Not so much. The pain was intense -- I felt like my stomach was on fire. It was horrible.

Noon. The doctor comes in. This is the first time I've seen him since the surgery. He tells me that there was a lot of internal bleeding the night before, and I was "one tough lady" and must have been in a lot more pain than I let on. So I tell him about my stomach and how it feels like it's on fire, and hurt a lot worse than the pain from the tube. He took off the bandage, looked at it, said it looked good, and left. In his defense it did look good -- the incision was very neat, as were the stiches, and my stomach was nice and flat, no brusing or swelling. My stomach sure looked like it felt fine!

1:30. Lunch arrives, and I can't eat. I ordered an all-liquid lunch. I picked up my popsicle and finished off one-half of it. As soon as I'm done, my stomach starts to feel incrediably strange. I'm trying to describe to Alex how it feels -- like a contraction that won't let go -- it wasn't painful, but it was like a constant squeezing. Alex talked to the nurse on the phone, and she said it was possible my stomach was contracting. Okay, fine.

1:45. My stomach is still feeling really funny. I maneuvered myself to look at it (not an easy task from the pain I was in) and was shocked my what I saw. My stomach, which had been flat an hour and a half before, had swelled up quite large, like I was 4 months pregnant! I started freaking out right there, because I knew what was going on. After seeing my stomach, the strange feelings in my stomach made perfect sense. I started crying and made Alex call the nurse. Alex says "she's with another patient" and I responded with: "No! Now! Now! We need the nurse NOW!"

I assumed that Alex and my friend (Sabrina) knew what was going on, but I guess I assumed wrong. So here I was, freaking out, and Alex and Sabrina are just trying to calm me down. The nurse arrived very quickly, took a look at my stomach, and called the house doctor in *stat*. Her face was ... grim.

The house doctor arrives and looks at my stomach. He fixes a very large, fake grin on his face, and the nurse follows suit. The doctor sat down on my bed and unrolled a set of tools. He picked up a scapel, examined it, and put in down, in favor for these inverse-scissor-looking things. I knew what he was going to do, but I was in awe -- in my room, my friend and Alex there, door wide open, curtain wide open, and he was going to do this here?! He took the tool, stuck it into the inscision, and opened part of my stomach up (did I menton this was while I was laying in my bed?). Blood started squirting -- quite literally -- everywhere. I saw the gush of blood rise inches above my swollen belly.

Then it was Alex and Sabrina's turns to freak. I saw both their eyes go wide, and Alex turn his head, and grasp my hand harder. It was like a scene off of tv ... opening a patient in their room, and blood squirting, when we all know blood doesn't "squirt" when a person is cut, unless highly pressurized. I was still as scared as ever, but handling it better. They called my doctor in (the one who performed the surgery the night before). He wasn't at the hospital, so we had to wait for him to arrive.

The doc arrived in about 10 minutes. He looked at my stomach and remarked on the change in such a short time. I know he told me I'd have to have surgery again -- a fact I had already realized. All I remember is (almost) yelling at him: "Just fix it! Just fix it! Just fix it! Fix it! Fix it!". He left the room to get ready for surgery.

It felt like an eternity, but it was probably about 30 minutes from the time that I first saw my stomach until I was being carted away for surgery. They had to bump someone out of surgery, but they got me in. I was never so scared in my life -- the doctors were acting like all was fine, but of course they would, that's their job. They don't want to make me freak out even more than I already was. My husband was helping push the bed, so I couldn't see him, either. I just prayed and prayed and prayed all the way down -- I was terrified. My stomach had filled with blood -- people die from things like that. I was just pregnant ... just pregnant .. how could a 5 week old embryo cause my life so much danger?

We arrived at the pre-op room, and they let Alex follow me in this time. I think they knew how stressed I was, because they put me to sleep right there in the pre-op room, with Alex holding my hand. I don't even remember going to the operating room this time.

When I woke up, the first words out of my mouth were, "Am I okay?" The nurses told me I was. I then asked if the bleeding had stopped, and they assured me it had been. I noticed what I did NOT feel -- pain. I have a bad habit of not going back to sleep after being woke up from surgery. But honestly, if they wanted me to rest from the surgery, why would they wake me up in the first place? So I refused to go back to sleep, and they soon took me up to my room.

I was carted back to my room, where (once again) I was greated my Alex and my mother-in-law. At least she didn't criticize me this time around. I could tell right away how much better I felt. I felt 100 times better than I had coming out of the first surgery. It was then that I knew for sure the pain, nausea, sleeplessness ... it was all due to a nicked artery that had waiting in my stomach for the perfect pressure to release the blood flow. It took the doctor about 1 1/2 hours for this surgery -- 3 times longer than the initial surgery. I didn't get to see him, but Alex said he looked exhaused when he came out of the room. I know that technically this whole thing was his fault, but I still felt really sorry for him. Two days in a row I had infiltrated and tore apart his schedule. Besides, everyone makes mistakes, at least I was alive.


Okay folks, that's it for now. That was the scary part that I was avoiding recounting. Now that it's finally out, you should have the rest of it much sooner than you got this piece. Besides, everything from here on out is boring recovery stuff -- not nearly as exciting as squirting blood and emergency surgeries ...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Two Surgeries and a Long Ass Recovery Period: Part One

Hello everyone. It's still very difficult for me to be out of bed / off the couch, but I really do want to write about what happened on Wednesday & Thursday. So here goes:


I took Wednesday off work as a vacation day. One of my friends was down visiting me, and I wanted to take her to the Missouri Botanical Gardens. About 11:00, we packed up, left the house and headed for the gardens. It was me, Alex, my brother (Duane) and my friend (Sabrina). We get there and start walking through the gardens about 11:25. At 11:45 I felt sharp pain that was not relenting. I had no comparison for the pain and no way to describe it. I suggested we sit down there and eat our lunch in the shade, with the hopes that the pain would lessen a bit and I could continue. Anyways, I tried to sit down, and was surprised at how much it hurt to sit! I had to sit on my side because I couldn't even sit on my butt. By then everyone noticed I was in pain, and asked if I wanted to leave, but I was bound and determined to go through the gardens. It was gorgeous, everything was in bloom, and I had taken a day off for it. Nothing was stopping me! So I continued through the gardens, trying to keep my pain quiet/a secret. I figured the worse thing that was happening to me was a miscarriage, and if my body was miscarrying, there wasn't a thing I could do to stop it. I went through the entire gardens, which is a huge place. We left about 3:00 pm.

My other plans for Wednesday evening included shopping. But I had to lie down first, try to take a nap, to see if the pain would subside. It never did, in fact, it was only getting worse. I began to get worried -- if I can't sleep through pain, then it has to be pretty bad, because I sleep through anything -- including the first 6 hours of labor with my eldest child. I weighed my options. My first baby appointment was still a week away, and I had yet to meet my doctor. I finally decided to give a call anyway. I was transferred to his assistant who wasn't there. At 4:00 pm I left a message for her asking about the pain.

5:00. I'm beginning to get really upset. Could someone PLEASE return my call? I tried the office back. Closed. 5:15, she calls! The Dr. could not see me that day, of course -- he had delivered two babies earlier, and the next day he was in surgery all day. Would Friday work? Wait -- you sound like you're in a lot of pain .... why don't you go to the emergency room?

5:30, at the emergency room. The nice thing is, if you tell them you're pregnant, you get to bypass the waiting room entirely. At least I got one perk from being pregnant. They take me back, and the doctor on call tells me she's slightly worried about a tubular pregnancy. She does a pelvic exam and orders a pelvic ultrasound. It's 7:30 by the time I get the pelvic ultrasound. The technician wouldn't tell us anything, which I knew was a bad sign ... you'd think if everything was all right she'd go: "Oh look! Here is your baby!" Instead, she sent us back to think and worry.

8:00 look who comes in: The doctor I have yet to meet! How akward. What was that? Surgery, now? It can't wait till morning? The tube is completely ruptured? We begin making phone calls to family -- many of which didn't even know I was pregnant.

8:30 / 8:45 - ish. Time for surgery.

I thought I could sit down and write all this at once, but I can't. I have to lie down. So, to be continued .....

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Dangerous Turns

Hello everyone. In case you're wondering why I haven't been on, it's because I've been hospitalized since Wednesday. I had two emergency surgeries over a 24 hours period. The pregnancy proved eptopic, and my tube ruptured. Then a serious complication arose from the first surgery that had me thrown quickly into a second surgery. I am tired now, feeling better, glad to be out of the hospital, but very tired. In a day or two I'll get on here and blog about the whole experience.