My Surgical Summary
I'm laying on the table in a very chilly operating room. The anesthesiologist is poking around for a vein and the nurse is doing a sonogram on the mother of all my veins. Other than the pure exhaustion, I'm in good spirits hoping that this day will be life-changing. I even crack a joke that gets them both laughing (even though I have no memory of what it was).
After the anesthesiologist finally succeeds in getting the IV in, he stands up and looks at the back of my leg splayed out for all (well the two who were in the room anyway) to see. "Is that where it hurts? Where it's bulging out back there?" he asks.
Um, ya think?! That was how I wanted to reply but even at 5:30 AM, my thoughts went back to natural child birth number one when my mother sweetly leaned over and said to me, as Mackenzie was crowing, "Now I didn't teach you to talk that way. Why don't you pray through your next contraction?" To which my initial response was to punch her (you know I love ya mom) but as the obedient daughter she taught me to be, I instead shouted, "JEsus, JESus, JESUS!" through the next one and quite frankly, it sounded nothing like a prayer in that moment. Anyway, I responded to my poor naive anesthesiologist, "Yes, but it goes on from there."
The sweet young nurse paused at this comment. "Where does it go?" Of course, I wanted to ask her why she didn't know the answer to this question since she's been through all kinds of schooling to figure this out on her own. However, I kindly replied by telling her where it went being as, ahem, gentile as I could. My response gave her pause and then she asked me to roll over to my back so she could take another look.
She was apologetic as to where she had to put that ultrasound wand to take me for my word. "Hey listen," I assured her, "I've had four kids. I'm not bothered by this at all as long as you can fix this thing." She appreciated my candor but it didn't give her any more confidence. I know this because as the anesthesiologist (seriously, this is such a long title to type over and over) asked if I was going to be on my back or stomach for the surgery she said, "I'm not really sure. I'm going to wait for the doctor."
Suddenly my hopeful confidence began to seep out from my gaping hospital gown onto the cold table. I did not get any warm fuzzies when the doctor came in and questioned why I was on my back. The nurse explained the positioning of the vein and there was some discussion as to where it was the worst and how he couldn't get at it from here or there. And again I'm thinking about how much this surgery costs and why I'm paying so much for this life-changing opportunity and why nobody in the room seems to be teaming with confidence...at all.
There was a conversation with me as to when it hurt the most and where. And suddenly the anesthesiologist was asking me if I had any questions before they get started. "I really, really just want to have this thing fixed and feel better." I noted that there was no exuberant response to that comment while I also noted that I still felt very awake as I stared up into his face and then the lights and then the next thing I knew someone was saying, "Okay Amy, we're finished. Let's get you up and to your room." The whole going under thing befuddles me. One minute you're totally there and the next you're not and the next you're back. Weird.
I got back to where Nelson was waiting for me and noticed as I looked down at the leg that it was not wrapped in a compression bandage like the last two times. A kind lady explained I had a stitch and he didn't wrap the leg when it was in that position. She also gave me some other information that was very important that I have absolutely no recollection of whatsoever. I'm a good listener, really I am...except....apparently, when I've been under for awhile.
I tried my best to focus but nothing stayed with me and then she was gone. I tried to get dressed and nearly fell over when Nelson caught me and helped me out. I think I told him I felt a little bit more woozy than the last time and he said I was under for quite a bit longer this go around. I don't remember much else until we got to the car.
After the last two surgeries, I got into the car and slept through the 30 minute ride home. I wanted to do that again but I couldn't because of how woozy I felt. Nelson asked if I wanted to stop for some breakfast but that didn't appeal to me at all. He pulled into a Sonic and off we went back home. However, I couldn't sleep and the more I tried, the worse I felt. Finally I told him, "I think you need to stop because I'm going to be sick."
Somehow he found a way to pull off the highway. I opened the door and lost it. Let me just say now that if you ever doubt the instruction that tells you not to eat after midnight the day of your surgery, it is good info...very good. I know this because when I finished and apologized to Nelson, his response was, "It didn't sound too bad. You only threw up once." To which I wanted to also punch him (Is it just me or do I have a weird response to punch people when I'm sick or in pain? I'm just saying, watch out.), but I think I said something about having nothing on my stomach and that I felt much better thank you.
I got home and somehow pulled on my pj's and fell into bed. Thank the good Lord that I have a mom who loves me and lives nearby and does things like wake up at 5 AM to come to my house to be with my kids. It also helps that she's a nurse who wakes me up around 12:30 to tell me I need to walk around according to my vein doctor's orders.
My leg was bandaged, oozing, bruised and sore but mostly I just felt kind of out of it the rest of the day. I expected to get back to normal like I did after the last ones but I just couldn't pull it together. I did walk around and play a game of Yahtzee with the kids so my mom could go home, but after that my high aspirations quickly disappeared as I hit the couch again.
When I got the guts to look at the damage, I was surprised (even though this was not new information) that my leg was not wrapped but rather bandaged and badly bruised. What's more was that the back of my leg, where the nurse did the first markings, hadn't been touched. And in my semi-medicated state, my hopefulness turned to doubt and questioning. My mom, always my champion, told me, "Well, you'll be back to see him on Friday and you can get it all straightened out then."
I have a tendency to trust my doctors (I have good ones, really I do) and assume they have all the answers. Tuesday I was reminded that these medically educated beings are mere mortals that don't actually know everything after all. My hope is that this particular one will know how to fix these old legs of mine for good.
In reality it's a pretty easy surgery as far as surgeries go. To walk off the operating table is pretty amazing. The whole befuddled look of the staff and throwing up on the side of the highway, not so amazing, but hey, that's only once out three times. Here's hoping Friday goes better!