Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Surgery and Stitches

So, Monday night I tossed and turned all night, and finally managed to get up at 5 am, shower, kiss the kids on the way out and head to the hospital in SF. We arrived, checked in, and then I got changed into a hospital gown and some weird leg-pressure tights like the ones Needlenoggin wears. Then I was drawn on by my doctor, and knocked out.

I only vaguely remember the recovery room but I know I was there for just a short while before getting brought in to my room around 2:30 in the afternoon. I was exhausted and nearly out cold on Morphine.

Ain't I cute?

They put me in some sequential-massaging leg doohickies to keep my blood moving in my legs, drugged me up and left me alone. I sort of dozed on and off until about 9pm when my nurse, whom I will call Fail, came in. "Time to get up," she told me.

"Excuse me?"

"Time. To. Get. Up. You've been lying down for seven ours now. Time to get up and walk to the bathroom."

"Uh...this seems a little soon, and I can't quite get to sitting in my bed by myself. When I had my C section they..."

"Blood clots. Get up or you'll get a blood clot in your brain and die."

"Are you going to help me sit up?"

"No, you have to do it by yourself. It is going to hurt, but you'll just have to be tough."

"I'm plenty tough, that's not the issue. I was just told not to use the abdominal muscles that have just been sewn together, because I could rip them back apart. Could you get someone a little bigger (nurse Fail was about 80 lbs) to help get me to a sitting position?"

"Use your back to sit up, not your abdominals."

" definition, sit ups involve the abdominals. I'll just wait until my husband gets here, and he'll help get me sitting up. Is there a reason I've got to be up and moving, using the specific muscles involved in this surgery, so soon after such a big surgery?"

"If you don't get up right now, you'll get a blood clot and die."

Now, Needlenoggin had surgery, a big one, and was in these tights and leg massagers and what-not, and at this point I'm really sure he hasn't thrown a clot and died, and I know it didn't happen within 7 hours of surgery. I try arguing with her, explaining that I am doing the leg and breathing exercises that I was told to do, and that I was pretty sure if my husband could get me to a sitting position, I could stand, although I wasn't sure I could walk to the bathroom. She reiterated her threat of imminent stroke, and told me that she'd been instructed to pull my catheter while I was in recovery ( a lie) and that she'd been nice and let me sleep these few hours, but that she was going to make me get out of bed. I told her she could wait for Tuffy, so she turned off my Morphine.

Needless to say, she doesn't get any praise for being mean and lying. The next set of nurses, Winnie and Lisa, were strict, but compassionate, and helped me stumble to the bathroom, pee, and get back to the bed. Climbing in and out was as painful as it was post-section, and worse than some parts of labor.

So, after getting lectured by Tuffy about not listening to the nurses, since I apparently should have done back-sit-ups and gotten up and walking, I got a few hours of sleep. The doctor came in and okayed my discharge once I was taking the oral pain drugs, and then we tried to call my wonderful driver-friend, Becca. However, my phone wasn't working (died in the hospital), Rorysaurus was making Becca late, and Tufy was at work and sounding peeved at being disturbed. So, we waited outside the emergency entrance (not marked at all) for 1/2 an hour until the chair-pusher told me I'd have to come inside and wait for my driver to arrice, park and check in at the information desk before they'd let me go.

Riiight. My driver had my two, small, squalling kids in the car, and she was going to go pay to park across the street, unload them, come in and find the right desk by magic, and get me, and then trundle us all back out to the car. I told the guy I'd just wait outside in the chair, and he told me he'd been waiting for half an hour, and wouldn't wait longer. "Do you have someone else to go get?"

"No, but this is taking too long. You go inside now."

"I can't. My ride will never find me. I'll wait here. She's on her way, and then I can just get in."

"No! You go inside now. No more waiting outside." At that point, he tried to wrench the chair around so he could push me, even though my hands were on the wheels. I won, as I'm a lot stronger than he'd guessed, and threw on the brakes. He undid one, and I re-did it as he went all the way around me to undo the other brake. Then, he went for backup.

Out comes security guard #2. "You've got to go inside until your ride arrives."

"My ride is on her way, with two small children in the van, to a hospital she's never been to before. She only knows the name of the street that this little parking lot is on, and won't find it if no one is out here. My phone is dead, so I can't call her and give her more clear directions, and she won't even know to come in to any desk. I'd like to wait a little bit longer."

"No. You have to go inside. If your ride never gets here, we'll get you to call someone else. What if your ride never comes?"

"What if you out me inside where she never finds me? I'll stay out here." This forced these two men to begin planning how best to wrench my hands from the wheelchair wheels in order to force me, against my will, back into the hospital. Luckily enough, that's when Becca came to the rescue.

So, we got home, and Becca cooked for us, and Rorysaurus' Godmother Annie arrived, and a good time was had by all. However, Wednesday night, I tried to lay on my side in bed to feed Little Monkey, and tore out some stitches. See, here's the injury:

(a hip-to-hip cut...icky, I know)

This is where the drain attaches on my right side. When the stitches tore, the opened up a hole in me about as long as my little finger, and just as wide. Hurt like hell, so I used paper-tape and closed it. Then I made an appointment to go in and see the doctor on Thursday morning.

The bulb there is collecting about 260 ccs of icky bloody fluid a day...

So, we drove out at 7 something on Thursday morning and got me 10 stitches (without pain killers) and I was told how to pull out the anaesthetic pump that was left in my guts sometime today when it runs out of juice (just pulled all 3 feet of tubing out of my belly). I hurt like hell, and the kids just want to be held and loved and poor Tuffy is getting the short end of the too-exhausted-to-move stick, and I can't get in and out of bed by myself.

Becca has gone home (flew all the way here from Seattle so she could help for 2 days), but Annie is still here and so is Tuffy's little cousin.