Monday, October 13, 2014


Morning arrived early on Tuesday.  No sooner had I fallen asleep that my alarm rang and it was time to get up.  I forgot momentarily that I wasn't allowed to eat or drink prior to surgery.  As I dressed I was thinking how good my tea would taste ~ then I remembered, no tea for me!.

I dressed and petted Kitty who had come into my room to greet me.  I found her orange fluffy fur very comforting as she rubbed against me purring gently.  I headed downstairs and out on the back deck in the pre dawn light  I lit a cigarette thinking it was very warm for that time of day.

After smoking I went inside to find my brother dressed and preparing lunch for work.  It made me hungry so I went up to check my totals from the blog from the evening before and wait out the remaining minutes before heading to the hospital.

After six long weeks of playing the waiting game time began to move rapidly.  My brother and I arrived with ten minutes to spare, of course I forgot my map which showed which building my surgery was to take place in.  From memory I pinpointed where we should park and enter.

While my brother parked the car I went into the lobby to confirm we were in the correct building.  My memory was correct so I headed outside, lit a cigarette and waited for my brother to join me.  "You are in a no smoking area smoking" said he.  "I know ~ I am a rebel."said I.

We made our way down to the surgical waiting room, my brother pointing out all of the things which were not finished when he was last there including the new gift shop which I had already checked out during my last visit to Baystate.

We waited in a room of other surgical patients for a short time before my name was called along with 10 others to go to get prepped for surgery.  Since I was first for surgery my nurse wasted no time introducing herself, giving me instructions and a gown to wear and bags to pack my belongings into.

She informed me that my surgeon made Chief of Neurology since I had last seen him and to be sure to congratulate him.  I knew I had the best, but being told so pushed any nervousness on the far side of my brain.

My nurse bundled me in heated blankets and once I was ready she got my brother to come wait with me prior to surgery.  He filled my ears with chatter as we waited to meet the anesthesiologist and the surgeon.

The anesthesiology team came over one, two, three ~ four at least while we waited for my doctor to arrive.  Everything happened rather quickly after that.  They gave me a paper hat to put my hair under so it would be out of the way for surgery.  I congratulated my doctor and introduced him to my brother.  My nurse got my brother's cell phone number so the surgeon could phone him after surgery and update him.

I was wheeled into the operating room taking in the unfamiliar sights and sounds.  An oxygen mask was placed over my face and I was told to breath deeply.  I found myself surrounded by five people, one with the mask, two holding my hands, with one woman gently stroking my hand as I breathed in the sweet tasting oxygen, another at my feet and one behind me adding something to my I.V.

Gentle voices spoke to me as a nurse stroked my hand.  When I woke up it was in the recovery room.It took four hours for me to come to from the anesthesia.  It was difficult to keep my eyes open.  I did not fight the sleep which overcame me.

When I woke one time my Surgeon was there and talking to my nurse.  He changed my bandages since my incision was oozing a bit more than they expected.  I remember him saying "Your brother works at Mass Mutual."  I remember nodding, unable to speak or think to ask him if everything went okay.

I woke up enough to ask for water or ice chips in between.  I must have been awake enough for them to move me at around 4:00.  I was being wheeled through the hospital to the elevator and placed in a bed near the door on the fifth floor.

No sooner had I been transferred into my bed that nausea overtook me.  Barely able to speak I motioned my nurse to grab me a bucket or something while images of me hurling on the floor flashed through my head.  He produced a tub pretty quickly once he realized what my problem was ~ thank god!

Someone asked me about my belongings and someone else gave me anti nausea medication and I was soon back to sleep.  I remember very little other than sleep.  My dinner tray was brought in and I did my best to eat but that was not happening, so I kept my fruit cup and my cranberry juice for later.

When my brother and nephew came to visit it was difficult to stay awake.  It has been so long since I had seen my nephew, who laughed when I tried to put on my bathrobe over the I.V. They brought me flowers and three balloons ~ one from each of them.

I was still sleepy and very drugged.  They were not kidding about the pain.  I was thankful to have the medicine come very regularly.  Having neck muscles cut makes it difficult to have the strength to hold up ones head easily and mine felt like it weighed about 500 lbs.

When they left I had a vague recollection of calling my boys and talking to them to let them know I was okay.  I think I called my counselor instead of my boyfriend at some ungodly hour of the evening, as they have the same name.

I remember them wheeling in another patient for the other bed.  We seemed to be on the same med and bathroom schedule since every time I pushed the call button she did as well.  It wasn't until the next day that Cathy and I officially met.  She had back surgery and we had the same surgeon.  I guess I held her surgery up for a couple of hours.

After sleeping all day and most of the afternoon in the recovery room I was pretty much wide awake just after midnight.  I remember checking my stats on my writing, reading many pages of my book and dozing here and there.

When I got up to use the bathroom around 3:30 a.m. I found my gown and bed soaked from my wound so the nurse changed my bed and got me a dry gown and some more meds and changed my dressing again.  I finally could not keep my eyes opened any longer around 5:00 am. and the patter of rain on the window across the room sent me into a deep sleep.

My brother and his wife had to be in Boston for a second opinion on her medical condition so I phoned my brother who gave me the number of one of his friends who would pick me up at the hospital and bring me back to his house until they returned from Boston.

After I got off the phone with my brother I phoned my boyfriend who had already made arrangements to borrow his daughter's car the night before just in case and after my Surgeon's Physician Assistant came in and looked at my still seeping wound, (they were concerned and almost kept me for another night)  Once I got the all clear I phoned for a ride home.

At that point it was 10:30 a.m. and I was allowed to dress and encouraged to walk around.  I introduced myself to my roommate and we chatted in her area until I was too tired to stand anymore. That is when I discovered the soft collar and what a lifesaver it is.

Since my ride was farther away I told my nurse to do discharge on Cathy first since her husband was there and mine would take at least an hour plus to arrive.  She was very nice and so was her husband.  I utilized my time as best I could without the Internet since I forgot the battery charger for the Nook and it died.   So much for perfect planning!

Lunch came and I tried to eat but it was very weird ~ cold salmon on cold lettuce with three pieces of cold broccoli and some yogurt sauce with dill to go on it.  I ate my banana and enjoyed my tea and the salmon as I waited for my ride to arrive, still waiting for my discharge and my ride.

The P.A. came in again and checked my wound which was now not seeping.  Good thing too ~ I don't know if I would have been a good patient after being told I could go home.  My boyfriend showed up and we both waited for my discharge nurse to do his thing.

Finally we were on our way out the door and into fresh air and sunshine.  I had a smoke as we waited for the car to be brought to the entrance and we headed back to the Berkshires via Northampton to the cafe we had tea at the week before and found the little bookstore open as well.

I picked up a copy of one of my missing Anne Rice books for my shelf for much cheaper than a brand new one would cost and lucked out at it's condition.  Needless to say I will be back looking for other books which have been removed or never in my collection to begin with.

First stop was the Pharmacy before going home.  Most of it is a blur, one thing is clear however, and that is how much nicer and easier life is when someone is taking care of you after a surgery.  It was a new experience for me to be sure and my caregiver is the best.

"Thank you" does not even begin to cover how grateful, supportive and necessary his part was and is over the course of the week that I have been recovering.  Knowing myself, I would be 100 times worse by now if he hadn't been there for me throughout this week devoting his time and attention to me and my recovery.

I want also to thank all of my friends all over the world for your prayers and support during this time. I feel truly blessed and loved which is indeed aiding my recovery.  One thing I can now attest to is the healing power of LOVE!

1 comment:

  1. So happy that everything went well. The wound doesn't look to bad, and it sounds like you have been getting good care. Said a prayer for you and your doctor every night. Thanking God for your successful outcome. Do so love your blogs.