Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Appendectomy, Piece of Cake

Please see my previous 2 posts for the beginning of this story.

I woke up with oxygen in my nose and I was shivering.  Shivering uncontrollably!  The nurse tells me to concentrate on breathing the oxygen.  It's just a side effect of the anesthesia wearing off.

In through my nose, out through my mouth, repeat... Still shaking!

She reassures me it will go away soon and that I shouldn't panic.

As the shivering subsides, I realized that I felt like I really did have an accident down south.  I ask the nurse to check so they roll me over and it's dry.  Faked out again!

At this point it's after 5 AM.  I start worrying about my mom being alone and worried for so long.  I concentrated on my breathing and listened to the nurses talk about their kids in college and how one of them was playing football at Villanova.  They said before the surgery that I wouldn't remember anything that happens for a while after the surgery, so I was concentrating really hard to prove them wrong.

They finally were ready to wheel me over to the recovery ward.  I asked the nurse what position her son plays in football.  She was enthusiastic to share.  They wheeled me into my new room and introduced me to the RN. She took a couple vitals, blood pressure, temperature, etc.

I ask to see my mom and she let me know that someone had already gone to fetch her.  My poor sleepy mom walked in a few minutes later.  I tried to look awake and happy and alive as much as possible with a big smile, "HI MOM!"

Behind my mom, my younger sister appeared.  Hello to you too!  I was happy to see that my sister had come to the hospital to keep my mom company in the surgery waiting room.  They hung out for 15 minutes, until my mom finally felt comfortable that I would survive, and left to go home.  My sister hung out a little longer and I told her about my Dr. House experiences with the CT scan and all that.  As we were talking my adrenaline from the excitement of waking up from surgery and seeing my family began to wear off and I felt a little sleepy.   My sister headed home and I sipped on some ice water contemplating if I would actually be able to fall asleep.

My nurse had given me a cup of ice and a cup of ice water.  Going into surgery I had been starving, but right now all I wanted was the cool liquid to numb my throat from the pain of having a breath tube in during surgery. I kept adjusting the ice pack they gave me for my stomach and was ecstatic that I wasn't in pain.

Before I tried to fall asleep I needed to use the bathroom.  I looked up at my IV hooked up to my arm and frowned at how much work this was going to be.  I pushed the nurse button and asked to go to the bathroom.  She asked if I wanted to use the commode.  I was like, the what?  And she pointed to the chair with a piss pot in the seat.  NO THANK YOU!  She helped me slowly stand up and followed me to the bathroom with the rolling IV bag.

I went into the bathroom with my IV and said I didn't need any help.  I rolled over to the mirror and tried to look at my incisions.  At first I didn't see them.  Where did they go?!  But I found them and they were small red lines covered in clear glue.  I used the bathroom with relief and rolled myself back to bed.

Since I had arrived in the Recovery Ward my nurse had been offering pain pills if I needed them and had been commenting on how quick I was recovering.  Until this point I didn't want them and didn't need them.  But I did want to get some sleep and the other people in the Recovery Ward were beginning to wake up and make noise.  I asked for one pill and the nurse helped me order some breakfast from room service.  She said if I was able to eat and hold down breakfast and lunch my doctor would release me.  Challenge ON!

I ate all my oatmeal and saved my yogurt for later.  The pain pill kicked in and I passed out.  3 hours later I started to wake up.  It was almost noon.  My sleep had been restful.  I had constantly been interrupted by someone taking blood, or someone giving me a breathing exercise, or taking my temperature.  But with the pain pill, it was all a dream, so I felt rested.  Time for lunch!

I ordered lunch from room service, the options were horrible for a vegetarian.  I ate my yogurt from breakfast and took a stab at the squishy mac n cheese with broccoli on the side.  Over cooked, ugh!

Appendix Diagram on my pillow
At this point I started getting antsy, I rolled out of bed and started pacing up and down the Recovery Ward with my IV bag in tow.  I went back to my little room and rearranged the furniture so I could sit on my visitor chair with my feet propped up on the bed.  My nurse realized that I was ready to go!

She called my doctor and started putting together my release papers.  At this point my dad finally showed up to visit, after going to the wrong hospital...  I made my dad sit on the hospital bed and told him all about my journey.  I showed him my pillow that the surgeon had tried to draw a diagram of where my appendix was and we laughed and hung out until it was time to go.

Finally, the nurse gave me a huge packet of post-op instructions and walked us to the front door of the hospital.  In 16 hours I had walked in with a bad appendix and walked out with the problem solved.

Piece of Cake!

3 comments:

  1. Hey Megan, as a nursing student it's great to read about the patient's point of view:) Great stuff

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  2. Thanks! Glad to give perspective. :o)

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  3. that surgeon needs to keep his day job and stop trying to be an artist. ;) glad you're all good megs :)

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