I sure am glad to be home! I think I feel pretty good, as long as I'm not moving! I spend most of my time, lounging in my recliner in a Percocet haze. I'm encouraged knowing that each day the pain will decrease and my mobility will increase. As I sit here and contemplate what has happened over the last 4 or 5 days, I've made some observations that I thought I would share with you....
Observation #1...When the physician who is going to do your surgery prescribes an anti-anxiety pill for the night before surgery so you can relax and sleep instead of going over and over in your brain every.single.scenerio.that.could.go.wrong..... take it!! DO NOT hesitate...just take it!!
Observation #2...When the anesthesiologist offers to put "a little something" in your IV right before they wheel you into the OR....say, YES PLEASE! This will mean that you won't remember them wheeling you in, you won't remember moving to the table, you won't remember the oxygen mask going over your face....nothing! This was awesome!
Observation #3...When you wake up from surgery and you are in the most excruciating pain you have ever felt and you keep pressing the PCA (patient controlled analgesic) pump and NOTHING HAPPENS (NO PAIN RELIEF)...something could be wrong.
Observation #4...When you continue to have no real pain relief and no one really knows why...but imply that you could just be a "pain wimp"....something could actually be wrong (see observation #3).
Observation #5...When the arm that your IV is in becomes swollen (read that..."double" in size), very red and inflamed....it could mean that the IV has infiltrated and that actually all of the fluid and PAIN medication that you've been given for almost 24 hours....wasn't actually getting into your veins...only into your arm (see observations #3 and #4) No pain wimp here!
Observation #6...When they remove said infiltrated IV and you beg for pain medicine..they will give morphine in the old buttocks, and when you feel relief for the very first time...you will feel like a totally new person and ask the nurse if she wants to dance!
Observation #7...Since they removed the IV, you won't technically be receiving any of the fluids that your body really needs....so they will try to start another IV in the same arm (cause they can't use my left arm because of the mastectomy) however, the arm is still really swollen and painful and they will try 12 (T-W-E-L-V-E)times to get the needle in! It won't work...so they will just give up and call an ICU nurse to try. She won't be able to do it either so they end up calling my oncologist to "ask permission" to use my portacath that was used for chemo! Now....why didn't somebody think of this 17 sticks ago!!!!!
Observation #8...When they finally move you to your room after two days in the "post op" area because they didn't have a bed for you.....you will rejoice and start singing Handel's "Alleluia". You will have your own tv...your own bathroom and your own nurse!!
Observation #9...Be ready with a pillow on your abdomen for the first time you cough! Trust me on this one.
Observation #10...Everyone will be very interested in your bowel habits after you've had surgery! Strangers will come to you and ask you if you've "passed gas yet" or if you've "had a BM yet". Don't let this shock you and be very careful how you answer as your hospital diet depends on it! My advice...lie if you have to, otherwise apple juice and jello is about all you're going to get!
Observation #11...When you're lying in your bed, with a nurse all to yourself, when they bring you your pain medication without asking, when they fill your pitcher with ice water and adjust your pillows, when you have free Dish Network and watch all these great shows you never get to watch at home, when you hear the quiet and realize this could be heaven....you will then sneeze....instantly reminding you why you are there in the first place and you will be so grateful to God for your life, your family......and morhpine.