Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lessons from the Operating Room


Having surgery for the first time this past Friday taught me a few things.

Some were good and some were bad, but all were memorable.

Here’s my top 10:

  1. Ask more questions before hand. When I had my initial consultation, I was told that the surgery would take about 90 minutes. So, I thought that meant my surgery would begin promptly at 12:15pm and I’d be home by 3 or so. In reality, I wasn’t pushed back into the OR until 1:45 and wasn’t discharged until 7pm. It never occurred to me that I’d need recovery time…or that my doctor would start nearly 2 hours late.
  2. If the surgery isn’t dire, wait until your husband has enough leave to stay home with you while you recover. I had the surgery Friday and Tony was able to take off Monday and work from home so it’s fine and I’m coping with it, but certain things are definitely difficult…like lugging around an 18 pound baby all day. And picking up the toys said baby throws onto the floor 85 times a day. And standing up. And sitting down.
  3. I learned just how supportive my husband is. I mean, I know he can take care of stuff while I’m down because there have been a few times in the not so distant past that he’s had to (when I had Harper and then got mastitis) but this surgery has just reminded me again how great he is. He made me soup and brought it to me in bed, did some laundry, and made sure I had enough water and ginger ale to take my pills with. He also brought Harper up to our room so that I could talk and play with him. My husband is all that.
  4. I learned how compassionate my kids can be. It’s nice to know that when I’m hurting, they will come and sit with me and keep me company…even if I keep drifting in and out of sleep. Landon brought up 6 movies that he knew I liked and let me choose which one I wanted to watch…and then Zoe crawled in bed and watched Hairspray with me. Later that night she and I watched Shutter Island. Landon refilled my water glass and both kids asked me several times if there was anything I needed. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
  5. I learned what it’s like to not have saliva. I seriously didn’t have any saliva until Sunday. My mom said it has something to do with the anesthesia, or something to do with when they intubate you…so you don’t have to swallow as often or something…I can’t remember now. I must have just had a dose of the Percocet when she told me. Heehee! Brushing your teeth without saliva is gross by the way. I won’t go into detail, just trust me. Eating crackers in order to take Percocet isn’t easy to do when your mouth is as dry as the Sahara either. I had to chew, drink and then swallow. Every single bite. It took nearly 5 hours to eat 2 crackers that way.
  6. Your “core” muscles are extremely important. You use them for everything and you just don’t realize it. Laughing, standing, sitting, bending over, reaching, turning, lying down…you name it, you use those muscles. Having 4 “small” incisions in your abdomen will make you very aware of your core, and the muscles working within.
  7. I am not so good at lying in bed. I was bored the minute I woke up Saturday morning. I did my best, but I was ready to do ANYTHING if it meant I could get up. That would include clean the bathroom, pick up dog poop in the yard or make lasagna. (Don’t worry, I didn’t do any of the above.) I couldn’t stand the thought of things not being done the way I would do them or even worse, things not being done at all. It was a nightmare.
  8. Percocet do little for pain. I think they might have helped a little, but I’m not sure. I think the percocet may have been best at putting me to sleep…maybe that’s how they help?
  9. The bandages they cover your incisions with are far more painful to remove than any other kind of bandage out there. It took me about an hour to get all four off, and I had to use Vaseline to ease them off…it felt like I was pulling out my stitches one by one. And the mess the bandages leave afterwards are almost worse! I still have adhesive all over the place!
  10. Lastly, I learned that even when I’m down, the world keeps on going. I never thought that the world revolved around me or anything, I just didn’t expect things to happen so normally without me in it. Zoe still got picked up from drivers ed on time, Landon made it to his basketball game, Harper still wouldn’t take a nap, the dog still begged for food at every opportunity…you know, all those things that make my day typical still happened while I was in a drug induced sleep…and everything turned out just fine.


Tony said...

I learned from the best wife ever, by taking note of everything you did for me after my surgery. It was much appreiciated then. I am glad it is over and glad to see you are on the way to full recovery.
Love Ya

Carmen O. said...

Wow I can't believe you are doing all that! I know my last stomach surgery (hernia) I thought I was going to die, there was no way I could pick up myself much less anything else! You're right about your core muscles too, because I couldn't get out of bed without being in intense pain so I slept on the reclining sofa.

So glad to read you have a wonderful hubby and kids that truly makes a world of difference!

wishing you a speedy recovery.

Water Balloons

When my kids told me they didn't know what to do with themselves yesterday I suggested they go outside and play with the water balloons....