Sunday, May 27, 2012

Timeline of Events

At 9 pm on Thursday Devin's parents had arrived, hugged the girls, and helped us put them to bed.  Then we all sat at the kitchen table, and I looked over my selection of fingernail polishes.

I let Devin's mom choose the color: plush plum it was called, or something sassy like that.  I typically reserve the bold colors for my toenails, and paint my fingernails only light pink or clear.  But I was having surgery in the morning and if the people working on me knew nothing about me, well by golly, they were at least going to know that I have nice fingernails.

At 11 pm on Thursday I took my last drink of water that I was allowed to have, and went to bed.  That night I had nightmares about the i.v. and the surgeon not listening to me when I tried to tell him that it hurt so badly because my arm was falling off.

Heather woke up three times that night, an unusually high number, possibly because she was starving.

I woke up at 6:30 on Friday morning, took a quick shower, braided my hair, and put on my comfiest, loosest clothes - my purple Purdue pants and the lion shirt from the Exotic Feline Rescue Center.

At 6:55 am on Friday I fed Heather one last time, and then pumped out any remaining milk - I wanted her to have as much as possible and I wanted to be as dry as possible, it occurred to me that my milk might come in during surgery and I had a feeling that no matter how bright my fingernails were, it might not be enough to keep them from noticing something like that.  Thankfully, I'll never know if it did.

At 7:02 Devin and I pulled out of the garage.  I was driving because I greatly needed to feel like I was in control of something that morning.  The tank was on empty so we stopped to get gas.  I tried not to worry about being late.

At 7:31 we walked into the waiting room, already full of people waiting for friends and loved ones to come out of their own surgeries.  I began reading an article about Johnny Depp making some Undead movie with Tim Burton.

At 8:00 they called me in to the back, telling me Devin could join me in a minute.  They had me change into the gown, and put my clothes in a locker.  They took me to a small room and had me lie down on a skinny little bed.  Despite my best efforts silent tears began sliding down my cheeks, and I asked if they could get Devin before they put in the i.v.

At 8:15 I lay in bed waiting for them to get Devin, knowing somewhere nearby there was a needle with my name on it, and behind that needle there were an assortment of other sharp metal instruments primed and ready to cut into my skin.  I couldn't help but think how terrified I would have been if I didn't believe in angels.  I am so glad I believe in angels.

At 8:35 Devin was by my side, the i.v. was successfully inserted, and a fuzzy looking man (I had taken off my glasses by this point) was explaining to me that I was going to need to drink a lot of juice in the coming days.  He gave me a sedative, and that's the last thing I remember - the burning pain at the sight of the i.v. as it went into my system.*

At 10:20 I woke up, desperately needing to pee, my head thrashing side to side.  I couldn't stop shaking.  "It's over now" the nurse said, somewhere over my shoulder.  "What's your pain level?"  My head wouldn't stop - left, right, left, right - I was making myself dizzy.  "A seven." I told her, shocked at how much I hurt.  Suddenly I was in control of my neck again and my head stopped moving.  "Did I just tell you my pain was a 7?" I asked the nurse.  "I think I was just shocked.  It's really more like a 5 I think."  I corrected myself.  I heard the nurse laugh.  "You're funny," she told me.  She gave me some morphine.  I began to shake again.  My head started its personal disco dance again.  I cried over and over that I wanted Devin.  I had no control over the pitiful crying either - it hurt too much to actually cry, but I couldn't stop myself.  I wanted Devin and Heather and I didn't understand where they were.  The last thing I could remember they were right next to me, and I wasn't in any pain.  Suddenly my whole world was pain, and my head wouldn't stop moving, and where was my husband and my baby?  She gave me some more morphine.  Devin had had to go home, but my friend Sandy came in and sat with me.  I don't know what we talked about, or how I behaved myself, I think I did cry some more that I wanted Devin.  The nurse gave me more morphine.

Over the next few hours I drank two cans of coke because I was so out of it I was afraid I would stop breathing (thanks for the tip, Mom).  I slept, and I tried to pee three times, never finding success.  After my girls were born I always had trouble going to the bathroom too, and they always threatened me with a catheter.  Those times I managed to go just before they actually had to follow through.  But my body was so disconnected to everything around it that I think it literally forgot how to pee.  And really, the catheter? Not so bad.

At 3:00 on Friday afternoon I got to come home.  Since then I've done nothing but lay on the couch, with the exception of trips to the bathroom (where my body still doesn't really seem to know what it is doing).

In the past 27 hours I have eaten: one milkshake, one slice of pizza, a handful of potato chips and one bowl of cereal.  I have drunk about 200 ounces of water and 100 ounces of lemonade.  As long as I don't move, and I take my foggy-brain candy every three hours the pain is tolerable.

I'm really looking forward to: feeding Heather myself, having a brain free of fog, peeing like a normal person, sleeping in my bed, letting Hallie and Hanna sit next to me without flinching away from their excitable limbs, eating an actual meal, and in general doing things for myself and my girls and my husband again.

*Devin and the nurses tell me that I began to behave quite drunk.  Apparently I said something like, "If this is what being drunk feels like I will never get drunk." And the anesthesiologist said, "Well, then I won't tell you if that is what it feels like" - which I think is a strange answer.  It doesn't much matter though, we all know I will never get drunk.  (Willingly, right mom? You never know what is in those fruity looking drinks they serve at little girls' birthday parties in foreign countries...)
According to Devin, after that a nurse came in and gave me an antibiotic and then I fell asleep from the sedative, and they wheeled me away.


  1. They gave me a catheter after Emily was born, and I barely registered that it was in. And barely noticed when they pulled it out. Mostly I was shocked at the size of it. That's about all that I can remember about it (I was also hopped up on morphine), except that it seemed terribly convenient. I hope you feel better soon! It probably doesn't seem like it, but the more you move, the faster you get to a point where you can move. But don't do more than the doctors told you to. Just get better!

  2. I have a hernia to be repaired with mesh as well so I've been anxious to hear how it went. I'm sorry you're hurting and hope for your sake (and to make me less anxious about mine!!) you're feeling better quickly!

  3. I got a catheter with Jill. I loved having it in; it was so convenient! I remember before they put it in (I didn't have any pain medication yet), they said, "It will feel kind of like a bee sting." Ha. Since I'm terrified of bees that didn't really make me feel reassured.

    Thanks for the post. I have been thinking of you. I'm glad you have the Roses there to take care of you.

    I can't believe you are going to go on vacation so soon after your surgery. I'm glad I'll get to see you again though.

    Love being sent your way!

  4. Ames, you're the most endearing girl I know. I feel sad that I wasn't ever there for you when you called! I hope we can still be friends. Sooner or later you will feel an odd sense of pride that you did it and lived.