Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More surgery details

Oh yes, I am still feeling quite uncomfortable, particularly on the left side. It really, really, really hurts if I try to stretch or flex the muscles there. This makes lying down very difficult.

It was kind of a surgery adventure today. I'd been pretty impressed with the nurses and other staff there before, but this time was different.

First, the person who had done my initial intake seemed to be a bit upset when I told her that I couldn't have the type of tape she was holding up. I felt like I had inconvenienced her by my request for a different tape because I have problems with adhesives. Next, we waited in the waiting room for an hour, to 20 minutes past my new surgery time. When they came to get me, it was only to take me to xray, not to surgery. I guess that the pre-op admission clinic would normally have arranged for the xray because I have asthma.

When we got to the xray department, we were left sitting in the hall for 45 minutes. Ian went to ask them what was going on, and it turned out that the technicians didn't know that I was there. Sigh. The volunteer who delivered me there had gone to take the requisition somewhere, and another nurse from day surgery (not xray) took it away. So I suspect that this was the source of the confusion. Ummm, I had a bit of a meltdown during this time because I was so frustrated not knowing anything and because I was so scared. No one really told me what was going on, and I was worried that I wasn't going to able to have surgery today because I wasn't at surgical daycare. It seemed like there wasn't great communication between the nurses.

Once we finished all of that and did the things on the last-minute checklist, I was taken to the operating room. Luckily they had changed the surgery order because I didn't come back until 1:30pm (an hour and a half after my new surgery time), and I was able to have my surgery today. Because I have lymphedema, I'm not supposed to have either an IV or a blood pressure cuff on that arm. The anesthetist said that he didn't see why they couldn't put an IV in the lymphedema arm, so I had to explain the reasons to him. The first reason behind this is that needle pokes can get infected, leading to more lymphedema. The second reason is that if they're injecting something into my arm and for some reason it goes outside my veins, then there would be a buildup of lymph fluid to clean the area, also leading to more lymphedema. In an emergency I can have blood withdrawn from that arm, but it's better if it's left alone.

I woke up in the recovery room in a lot of pain and freezy cold. I actually became one of those people that was screaming and crying due to the pain and the cold. They gave me morphine and told me to lengthen my breathing. That's hard to do in the face of the kind of pain I had, but I was able to do that.

I slept for what seems like a long time after that. A requirement before they release you is that you have to walk to the bathroom and you have to keep down food. I was able to do both. However, the nurse wanted me lying back on the bed. She said that I should get on via a "log roll" technique, where you rest your butt on the bed and roll your shoulder onto its side, after which you bring your legs up. This technique works a LOT better if your feet can touch the ground and your butt can sit on the bed at the same time. I couldn't do that - some of you may have noticed that I am of underaverage height. So once again I became one of those people that cry, whine, and complain, this time because of the pain. It hurt a lot to try to do that manoever on that bed. The nurse just said that I shouldn't be so tense, that I should just do what she was showing me. Sigh. I told her that I couldn't do what she told me to do because the bed was too tall. She didn't bring me a stool to step on, either, which would have helped immensely.

Aside from all of the confusion, things went pretty smoothly. I am in quite a bit of pain that I hope will go away today. Or at least that will respond to painkillers :) I don't feel any different yet, either - I was worried that I would wake up feeling very different. I'm still the same old cranky me :)


Anonymous said...

It must have been a very trying day :(

But you're through it now and can just focus on healing (and pain management :)

Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

I was worried and am glad to read you are mostly okay. Sounds like the hospital departments are pretty disjointed and not very advanced in the patient support arena. Very frustrating! Thanks for posting an update.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's great you took the time to post when you have lots else to occupy your mind.

I can't believe you had to lecture the anesthesiologist! They get paid so much because they're supposed to know _everything_. That one should go back to school.

Get lots of rest.


Anonymous said...

Oh Chantelle that entire day sounds awful. I can't believe about the anaesthetist. What a jerk. And the nurse without the step stool and the miscommunication at xray and people telling you to breathe. Argh! I'm so frustrated for you right now. But it's good that you're home and able to knit.


Anonymous said...

The whole experience sounded awful for you :( I hope the recovery is better for you.

Love you