Going Under

I’m at home and recovering nicely. I’m a little sore, tired, very dizzy and VERY itchy from my meds. I’ve heard that morphine can sometimes make people itchy but I’ve never had that reaction. I’m not on morphine but on another pain med that is also derived from opium and it is making my entire body SO ITCHY. I’m trying to ignore it but it is very difficult! Plus, my shoulder just aches! I’ve heard that the gases used for the laprascopic surgery can settle in your right shoulder and really hurt. I think it was bothering me more than my stomach actually was!

My surgery went off with out a hitch and I am now gallbladder-less. I didn’t realize I was as nervous about the surgery as I was. It occurred to me that the only time I’d been put under since I was a kid was when I had a cyst burst and hemorrhage in to my abdomen. I was in so much pain and so drugged up that I didn’t even notice getting put out. The idea of consciously letting myself be put under, giving the doctor complete control over my life essentially, and not being available to Livi if she needed me scared me. Then, of course, I started remembering all the stories I’ve heard of things going wrong and people dying because of the anesthetic. I’m not a wimp, but I think since becoming a mom I have opened myself up to being a lot more vulnerable. My emotions are much closer to the surface. I think I did okay keeping my anxiety in check, although it took a lot of positive self-talk at times.

My pre-op nurse was great! I was very impressed with her ability to put in my IV. I have never had anyone able to put an IV in to me with only one try, but she did! And, no bruise! Generally, my veins don’t come up high enough or they roll. Basically, it is just a big painful nightmare for me. Needless to say, I was very happy with her ability. My surgery was an hour and a half later than I had been told, but Jon and the old guy sitting next to me kept me entertained and my mind off the anxiety.

I think the worst part of it all was consciously going in to the operating room. I had to say goodbye to Jon in the waiting room and walk down a long hall, only to be met by a freezing cold operating room. My surgical nurse did a great job at trying to keep me calm, although he had to leave me once he had me settled and at this point I was starting to freak out a bit. No one was looking at me. No one was acknowledging that I was even there. They just went about their business, getting the room ready, while I lay there, with my arms stretched out, staring up at the ceiling and big bowls that would be lights, trying to stop crying, wanting to scream at the nurses to talk to me or get up and run home to my baby! I was very thankful for my doctor at that moment though. I don’t think he has much bedside manner. He is a specialist after all. But, he came over to me, smiled and kept eye contact, put his hand on my arm and helped the anesthesiologist with my oxygen. I was very thankful. He kept eye contact with me until I fell asleep, even after the nurse came and took over for him.

The next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery. My throat hurt, but they wouldn’t let me have water. I wanted to see Jon. Of course they wouldn’t let me yet. I again started crying. The post-op nurse was not nearly as nice as the pre-op one. She didn’t come over to comfort me. She just told me I’d see my husband in an hour or so. When you are crying, feeling like you’ve just been hit by a bus, and waking up from anesthetic, you don’t want to have to hear you have to wait an entire hour! I didn’t hit it off great with my next nurse either. This time I think it was partly my fault though. Jon wasn’t in the next recovery room I was moved to either and no one had called him yet. I got a little demanding. She insisted on checking me in before she called him and I didn’t like that much. To make matters worse Jon didn’t answer his phone when she finally did pick up the phone! I got a little upset 😦 He showed up pretty quickly but not until after I made the nurse try two other numbers.

I recovered quite quickly. The nurses were actually quite surprised. Since we had taken two separate cars in the morning, because Jon had to wait for my mom to get there to watch Livi, Jon took one of the cars back home and was going to come back with my mom and Livi. I was alone for about half an hour and decided I had to use the bathroom. Since the nurse, that may or may not have been annoyed with me at the time, had not left me with a beeper to page the nurses for help, I did it myself. I reached down and got my pants on, crawled off the edge of the bed because I didn’t know how to get the rails down and started walking to the bathroom. All the nurses in close vicinity were looking at me and asking if I was okay, watching me closely. They checked on me twice while I was in the washroom and I wasn’t in there for very long. Then they walked back to my bed with me. I kind of laughed and said “What? Are people not usually up this early?” She shook her head, wide eyed and said “No, this is rather early.” She then made sure I had the buzzer close at hand.

I feel sorry for the workers and family members who are going to have to put up with me when I get old. I am more like my Grandfather than I realized. It didn’t really even cross my mind to call for help from a nurse to go to the washroom. When I was getting checked out, I tried insisting that I was fine to go to the movie store with Jon. I only backed down when I realized how much I was frustrating him. I wasn’t trying to be difficult. I just didn’t know what the big deal was. I felt “fine.” Darn my Mennonite genes!

Livi came to visit with my mom to help get me home. She just stared and stared at me, seemingly on the verge of crying. I had oxygen on me because my levels were a little low. I think that scared her a little bit. I took it off right away and acted really excited for her to see all the “neat” things attached to me. Like my IV and “owie” on my belly button. When she saw my belly button she relaxed and started playing. She really liked getting rides on the wheelchair 🙂

Since being home I’ve been sleeping a lot. I underestimated how tired I’d be. My pain level is being kept very low but I have no energy. I’m quite dizzy and dopey too. I’ve had a lot of help since I’ve been home though. My sister came over to help with Livi all day yesterday and my friend brought her son over to play with Livi this morning and my mom came back this afternoon to take over. They have been invaluable to me. I’m not allowed to pick up Livi for a while yet and definitely do not have the energy to chase after her. It is hard not being able to pick her up but I think we are coping okay. I can hold her on my left side, so I’ve been giving her her bottles when I’m awake and my helpers have been good at keeping her distracted from me.

Thanks so much for everyone prayers for a safe surgery and an extra special thanks to those of you who have come over, or will be coming over, in this first week to help out with Livi. With Jon’s new job he couldn’t really take time off work to stay home with me. I don’t know what I would have done with out you guys!

One thought on “Going Under

  1. LeAnna (and David) says:

    I'm glad you're recovering well.

    Anesthetic terrifies me–I was only out for about half an hour this summer when I had it, but it is such a bizarre and horrible thing to do. Like willingly submitting to death, or at least a coma. I am glad anesthesiologists are a nice bunch of people good at putting one at ease.


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